July 4, 2011

The Asian barn is still nurturing 3 sick elephants—Misty, Dulary and Sissy. Diets are changed not only daily, but sometimes with each feeding, depending on how the Girls are responding to what they are offered earlier.

Sissy is still being picky, usually taking about an hour to eat her diet. She has nibbled on a couple of flakes of Bermuda hay, but for the most part is still not interested in hay. She is receiving probiotics, but no further medication. The oddest part of Sissy not feeling well is her attachment to the camera tower at Marcella’s. She can be found standing within a 20-foot radius of the tower throughout the day. Sometimes she will follow away from the tower, but most of the time she just stands with her back legs crossed, making sure it is clear to us that she isn’t going anywhere. The other night, she followed away further into Marcella’s and didn’t wander back until early the next afternoon. That was the most time she has spent away from that location. She usually returns within the hour.

Misty is coming along, but not yet herself. She is eating her diet, but again, slowly. She will touch each individual piece of produce, going through the variety, before she proceeds with eating. Her saving grace is that she is eating hay pretty well. Her dung boluses are still small in size, but have increased in number.

Dulary took a huge step backwards last Tuesday when she stopped eating again. In the morning she was leaning up against a fence, looking despondent. She did not follow to her food, and when Misty approached, Dulary did not engage her in any way. After everyone else was fed that morning and Dulary was by the fence, an attempt was made to hand feed her, but she was not at all interested. After the rain that morning, she got a little chilled and began to shake a touch, so she and Misty were given access to two stalls in the barn and they came right in.

Dr. Scott came by in the afternoon to take a look at Dulary and prescribed a treatment similar to the one she was on last December, which we were able to do in PC with her position along the bars in the barn and fence line. Dulary, unlike Misty, finds the barn to be a source of comfort when she is sick, making treatment easier to administer.

Later that evening, Dulary was lying down in Delhi’s yard when the four-wheeler approached for 10 pm feed, and for the first time since she’s been here, Dulary did not get up. She also did not get up when Misty approached, which caused some concern, but her eyes were calm and her breathing was steady. After a few minutes of Misty touching all over her, Dulary decided to slowly rise, bringing some relief to her Caregiver.

The next morning, she was willing to sample a few pieces of fruit, and a few more pieces later that afternoon. She doesn’t look as uncomfortable as she did initially—there’s no posturing—but she presents as being slightly uncomfortable. She is still being very selective about eating, but can be seen grazing on occasion and is still very vocal and interactive. Generally, she will also drink from the hose when offered.

While all of this has been going on, both Shirley and Tarra returned to the barn; Tarra spent the morning with Dulary and Misty, while Shirley just briefly passed through, then spent the next day in the area next to Sissy and Winkie. Shirley and Tarra both seem quite fine—their appetites are very good, and Caregivers monitor them at every feeding to make sure not only are they eating, but that nothing about that process has changed.

Winkie is being a wonderful, patient, and supportive sister to Sissy. At times she seems a little less than thrilled that she is still in the same spot that doesn’t offer much shade or variety in grazing, but the signs are subtle. Winkie is still very vocal and is allowing Sissy to get her one-on-one feeding time with Caregivers, staying away, while eating her own diet and finishing her hay before she returns to Sissy.

 

A very happy anniversary this week to our “grandma” Shirley, who arrived 12 years ago on July 6, 1999.

In Africa, Summer is shaping up nicely, and the Ladies are enjoying moving from one area to the next, taking advantage of different edibles in each location. They have been favoring the shady areas of the Pipeline lately, but have also been spending some time around the barn. They will probably spend more time on the Plateau as we move more into the summer season.

Tange and Flora are doing well with their PC training sessions. Flora is very good and precise with pretty much all of her behaviors so far, so we are working toward that second person being able to work with her ear for routine blood draws. Right now we’re fine-tuning consistent, full presentation of her ear in the correct forward position in the ear holes, then we will work on duration in holding steady for longer periods of time. Flora tends to like backing into the ear hole to move her ear forward against the post instead of holding it forward against the front side, as is common with the African Ladies.

Tange wants very much to do what we ask, and is moving along nicely on a couple of points: but she is still a bit insecure with leaning all the way against the training wall. She has made notable progress in the last few sessions in getting closer, even if only by inches. As long as we’re moving forward, the distance isn’t as important right now. Doing it on her own time table keeps her comfort level where she feels good about what she’s accomplishing, and we let her know loud and clear each time she moves a bit closer—she gets lots of happy praise and yummy treats. Her favorites right now seem to be coconut covered and strawberry marshmallows!