October 12, 2010
Just as the Ladies in all the other habitats were enjoying the onset of fall temperatures at the Sanctuary this past week, Lottie and Minnie chose to spend a lot of time back in fields 6 and 7 grazing. Unbeknownst to us, the change of seasons here would soon be felt in other ways—as this was the area where we found our dear Lottie after she passed away very suddenly Sunday morning. She was discovered under a familiar Cedar tree that was also once a favorite of Delhi's for long naps. To read more, please visit Lottie's web page.
Namaste, sweet girl.
As Fall approaches, weather changes are giving us hints toward wearing heavy sweatshirts and winter jackets, at least at day's beginnings. By lunch time, the temperature has usually reached 70+ degrees and the caregivers at Q-Barn start shedding layers from the morning feed. It has been great working weather, and the elephants seem to enjoy it as much as we do.
Debbie and Ronnie choose to head up the hill past the South Gate on days with this type of weather pattern, because it is warmer on the hill than in the Night Yard extension below. So, caregivers usually deliver breakfast to them at the far end of Bunny's Trail, or right along Barbie's Lane just inside the tree line.
Shirley and Tarra decided it was not necessary to return to the barn for warmth, they just found warmer areas in the habitat where they spent their evenings. Pine groves retain the heat of the day, and depending upon the height of the trees, some areas that contain mostly pines can be up to ten degrees warmer than the areas surrounding them. So when there are temporary drops in temperatures, some of the girls stay in those little pockets of warmth. With the temperatures back in the 80s for the past few afternoons, the girls have all wandered away from the barn to enjoy whatever remains of our beautiful autumn.
Lately, there has been a lot of action at the African Barn. The Elecam installation crew has been coming in frequently to go up on the barn roof to activate and test the camera, while the maintenance crew has been clearing pines to access a signal. The girls have been eating lots of pine tree browse that the caregivers are bringing into the habitat from these cleared areas. They really enjoy stripping the bark off the short sections of tree trunk and will usually pin the tree up against the fence for better leverage.
Tange and Flora have been keeping a close eye on the crews. Anytime we have visitors in Africa, you can count on the girls returning from wherever they have been, anxious to see who's here and what is happening.
Flora's caregivers often give her meals in her bucket rather than putting the contents on the ground, because she is usually very good about leaving the bucket there when she's done. One day this week, her bucket disappeared after breakfast and it was nowhere to be found. But a couple days later, her bucket miraculously reappeared back in the very spot from which Flora took it. Thank you, Flora.