April 4, 2011

Lizzie continues to do okay with her TB treatments. It's a good sign that she has been choosing to go out to stretch her legs, take walks all around the yard, and venture up the hill. The other day, after feeding Liz, Frieda, and Billie in the barn, their caregiver spread out a bale of hay along the front of their stalls so they would all have plenty to eat later. Liz proceeded to collect all the hay in her stall into a pile in the middle of the barn. (She didn't eat it, just collected it.) Then she went over to Billie's stall, picked up her hay, too and brought it back and added it to her pile. Again, not to eat it—she just seemed to want to have it!

Apparently the rain this past week wasn't making things soggy enough for Minnie. One morning she left the barn, stood in the drizzle for a little while, then proceeded to make her way boisterously to the pond. A fit of rumbles, splashes, and leg kicks started the fun, followed by face plants deep into the water. This always leaves her back legs kicking in the air as she wiggles her face around on the pond's bottom. Next, Minnie flopped over from side to side. Her trunk stuck up out of the pond like a snorkel, blowing a fountain of water. Eventually Minnie downshifted to calm, sitting quietly in the pond, occasionally blowing water into her ears as if she were cleaning them.

This week brought another spring cold snap. Along with the chilly temperatures, there was also some rain, so four of our Ladies in Asia stayed relatively close to the barn while Shirley and Tarra decided they would rather graze further out. The last time they did this and the temperatures dropped, they both returned to the barn. But this time, Shirley was determined to stay put. Although the forecast was not dangerously cold for overnight lows, as doting caregivers, we still would have preferred to see her come back to the warm barn, but Shirley had made her decision. Tarra stayed with Shirley the first night, but on the second consecutive cold night, she returned to the barn. Tarra and Bella spent a few hours warming up, but judging from the lack of dung in Tarra's stall the next morning, they must have left again sometime after 10 pm feed.

First thing the next morning when caregivers drove out to check on Shirley, they found Tarra, too… standing side by side with Shirley, hips and shoulders touching—both as content as could be. It seems that along with her company, Tarra also brought her body heat to Shirley, too. It's very endearing to watch Tarra increasingly take on a more nurturing role when it comes to her elephant companions.

 
Flora

Tange and Flora were out in their habitat during the night of the "Super Moon," so their caregiver loaded up their diets and hay on the 4-wheeler and set off with headlights and flashlights for their night feeding. After heading down the lane towards the Pipeline, enjoying the night breeze, their caregiver realized lights weren't even necessary...the moon was glowing so bright it was illuminating the path in a blue hue.
 
Driving up to the Pipeline corridor where Tange and Flora are usually found, their caregiver was greeted with low, loud rumbles from Tange, accompanied by the cracking and crashing of trees as Flora picked her way from deeper in the woods. When Flora finally emerged, they both elicited loud rumbles, ears out, and then Tange boasted a huge TRUMPET. Very soon, both girls settled down so their caregiver could deliver their food along the fence line.
 
On this rare, moonlit night—it was the perfect opportunity for a caregiver to shut off all the lights and the 4-wheeler motor and just listen… to the sounds of the elephants munching hay and grain with their produce, the peepers singing loud and proud, and the peaceful wind blowing through the trees.




The Elephant Sanctuary would like to express its heartfelt condolences to PAWS on the sad news of Ruby's passing. We know she will be greatly missed.