May 30, 2011

Tange and Flora are doing great. They just move through their days quietly—aside from the occasional trumpets and rumbles when big red dump trucks visit their barn. On these occasions, ears and tails go out and both girls spin and shake their heads, sometimes running along the fence as the big trucks make tons of noise dumping the gravel onto the ground. 


Flora and Tange

 
This week the gravel was for better footing next to one of our new "training walls." We now have one on each end of the barn, with a couple more planned: one at the Plateau and one at the Pipeline. The girls spend so much time in these areas, it will eliminate the need to have them near the barn for their protected contact training sessions.
 
They both seem to enjoy their sessions, and are delighted at all of the surprise treats that come along with it. Flora is most fond of the alfalfa cubes at the moment, and will bypass apples and oranges for those. We'll see what she thinks once other yummy bits are added for variety.
 
We have been amused by Tange's "sleepy elephant" routine that happens pretty much every time we go through the training exercises. She starts off slow, then seems to get into the groove a short time later. Both Ladies are doing well so far.
 
In the Asia habitat, comprised of 2200 acres of meadows, forests and long winding valleys, there are a few very small secluded and hidden ponds. Man-made by previous owners of the Lake Land property and tucked away in the edge of the mature deciduous forest, these little ponds are periodically visited by the elephants—primarily Tarra, who by now is well known for her vast explorations.

But earlier this week, while feeding Tarra her morning diet deep in Cedar Valley, we caught a glimpse through the underbrush of water being sprayed up into the air. This could only have been caused by Shirley. Apparently through the darkness of night, Tarra led Shirley to one of her favorite summertime grazing grounds. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time Shirley has explored this hideaway since the passing of Bunny in the spring of 2009. After a night of wandering and grazing, Shirley obviously decided to take an early morning dip in this pond, which is about twice the size of a large backyard swimming pool, and Shirley apparently thought it was just about perfect.
 
An interesting side note: Shirley will not swim in the large 25-acre lake. She'll go up to the edge, standing just ankle deep, splashing and spraying the water all over her body to cool off, yet in the small ponds, she will not hesitate to lie down, roll around and completely submerge her head. We're not sure why…if the sheer size of the lake is intimidating, or if at some point she entered the lake from one of the soggy marsh areas, causing her to become frightened of the suction-like effects of the thick mud. We may never know for sure, but we hope that Shirley will someday follow Tarra into the cool spring waters of the lake as the summer temperatures arrive.