September 5, 2011

As we watch the days of another hot Tennessee summer start to wind down and wait with anticipation for cooler temperatures and the change of season, it’s time to reflect on the changes occurring here at the Sanctuary. Those seemingly least affected by all transitions, both in nature and of human making, are amazingly, the elephants. With everything going on around us, it brings a sense of assurance to see the Girls going about their daily lives as usual, grazing and wandering with quiet contentment.

Flora continues to do well; consistently calm and engaging with both Tange and her Caregivers. Knowing the difficulty she had in transitioning to Sanctuary life early on lends even more credit to her ability to accept changes with such fluidity. According to her Caregiver Angela, “She is a tremendous teacher and I am fortunate to be able to share her life.” Tange, too, has gotten past most of her insecurities with Protected Contact training, and tends to fall right into the sessions with no hesitation at all.

Both Tange and Flora can be playful, especially Tange, who prompts Flora into play and lightens ours days by sharing her exuberant personality.

They both seem to have adjusted well in having new people come into their lives as Caregivers, greeting Angela and Maddie with happy noises when they approach with their meals, especially with breakfast first thing in the morning. They all work well together, and their Caregivers are gearing up for the work load of the cooler days ahead in Fall and Winter. Maddie has not yet experienced collecting browse for the Africans during this time of year—she is in for quite a treat!


Tange and Flora


One thing we get many questions/comments on is the new camera system. As many of you know, we now have three different feeds so that our website visitors can view not only the Q-Barn habitat, but Africa and Asia as well. So, if we have 13 cameras, why do we only show three on the website?

Primarily, this is due to limited "bandwidth" and the additional cost of streaming live video/data via our internet service provider. Before the Elecam upgrade was completed earlier this year, we only had one streaming feed. We have now expanded it to three, but any more would be too draining on our system and too costly to expand upon. The 13 cameras we have now enable caregivers and staff to monitor the elephants round the clock, while also allowing us to change the images that stream to the Elecam for you, our viewers, to enjoy.

Even with access to 13 cameras on property, the simple fact is that much of the time the Girls are tucked away in forested or out-of-range areas that are not within the camera's view. We wish all of the Girls had more "face time," but as we allow them to move about the habitats freely, we just aren't able to guarantee there will be elephants on the live cameras. It would be nearly impossible to install enough cameras to reach every corner of the property. The terrain alone makes this unrealistic. The cameras we do have are courtesy of a dedicated grant from an extremely generous supporter, and they are appreciated more than we can possibly express.

Occasionally, we have also received comments about the same image showing on two different habitat cameras. This is due to operator error and accidentally clicking the same feed for two different habitats. We apologize for when this happens. Caregivers have a lot to do taking care of the Girls and are not able to spend much time in front of the computer monitoring the web cameras, but we do update as often as we can.

We are very happy the cameras allow us to share more of the Girls' daily lives with everyone, and we thank our viewers for their continued patience and support of the Sanctuary staff and the elephants (dogs, birds, and cats) we care for every day.