May 23, 2011

Where are they? In most captive elephant facilities, not knowing where your elephants are is generally a bad thing. But here at the Sanctuary…we love it!! Indeed it means that we will be spending many more hours on an ATV searching, following footprints, looking for signs of freshly picked grass—many times back-tracking over and over again, and loving every minute of it.

The first time Scott light-heartedly reported to a colleague that he could not find Sissy and Winkie, there was a brief look of anxiety on their face, then a smile appeared followed by the observation, "What other facility could say this and be happy about it?" Rest assured, we always know the general vicinity of the Girls, and in some cases we don’t have to look very long to see what has drawn them off the beaten path, deeper into the woods or into a hidden valley.

Each year we see the elephants in Asia traveling further and exploring untouched parcels of their infinitely diverse 2,200 acres. With substantial spring rains, right now all of the Asian barn elephants are foraging more than ever. Dulary and Misty are venturing further from the barn, Shirley is migrating more, Tarra is still the greatest of the wandering beauties, and Sissy and Winkie can be seen grazing with bright eyes, echoing soft coos and trunk pops across the hilltops…where else could such a vision take place?

 Shirley, Tarra, & Bella
Shirley, Tarra, & Bella

Tange and Flora have returned from the Plateau, where they were for about a week with the warmer temperatures. Days turned chilly and nights turned chillier, so the Ladies have had access to the barn overnight. Both always seem happy to come back to the "house" and check things over once in a while. The barn doors are left open, so both spend quite a bit of time outside during the night, as evidenced by lack of manure in the stalls.
 
Maintenance has finished one of our Protected Contact "training walls" outside, and are nearly finished with the second on the other end of the African barn. There is just a bit of grinding and smoothing of the rough edges, and it will be good to go.
 
Having not been on the western side of the habitat for a while, Tange and Flora had plenty of grass and browse to keep them satisfied while the guys worked on the other side of the gates.