August 8, 2011

Flora and Tange have been enjoying the plentiful mud that came along with some much-needed rain this past week. Whereas Caregivers accumulate huge clumps of the heavy, red-clay mud on their shoes while they clean yards, the Girls just use it to coat themselves, much to the dismay of the huge horse flies that try to bite them.

Once again we get elephants of many colors: the heavy rain makes them a nice, dark gray. Then the dusting with sand makes interesting, light colored patterns over their dark, wet skin. Then the very red mud covers all of the ele-parts that they can reach, which dries into a lighter, pinkish-red as the sun comes out again.

We also have a fun new "sprinkler" at the African barn. Caregivers have rigged up a fire hose attached to a hose booster pump. Adjusting the force of the fire hose can be comical, but once they get it just right, it's time for fun! Flora seems to enjoy it more than Tange, who sometimes waits a distance away to be showered with a regular hose instead.


Top: Flora and Tange's artistic skin patterns
Below: Flora loves her fire hose showers!

Flora comes to the fence, opens her mouth and waits for the heavy spray of water that comes from the fire hose. She will turn all around to make sure she gets both sides, front and back of both ears, her back end, and finally, her belly. Flora seems to LOVE the water play, and will stand there for as long as someone is willing to hold the hose to spray her. She then goes to find a nice dusting spot, which creates those interesting stripes and patterns of light sand against her dark, wet skin.

Tange seems satisfied with a regular hose, drinking as Caregivers aim it into her mouth. Then she holds out each ear to be sprayed as she fans them back and forth. When she has had enough, she simply moves slowly away. It's nearly as much fun for caregivers as it is for elephants!

At Q-Barn, separating Debbie and Ronnie from Minnie in the afternoons can be a challenge. All three really seem to be enjoying their time together and are reluctant to separate. We just don't feel confident yet in Minnie's demeanor to leave her alone with Debbie and Ronnie overnight, so to be on the safe side, they must be encouraged back into their respective yards.

Sometimes this leads to creative games of "musical elephants." Occasionally, if Minnie can be brought forward into the 40-acre habitat, we can give Deb and Ron access to the 60-acre habitat overnight, a place that is usually exclusively Minnie's nighttime playground.

The other morning, Deb and Ron's Caregiver went looking for them in this 60-acre habitat to deliver their breakfast. Deb and Ron were finally found all the way back in Field 7, where our beloved Lottie is buried. It was such a treat to see them so far away from the barn and enjoying the morning sunshine near Lottie's resting place. Minnie was eager to join them, and as soon as she finished her breakfast, the gate was opened and she was off to play with her friends again.