May 11, 2009

Our thoughts and prayers are with Bunny and her elephant and caregiver family. Celebrate Bunny at this link and leave a message.

Water, water everywhere! The creek in the Diva’s habitat was rushing with rapids from last Friday night’s big storm. Trees became their own little islands as the water carved new boundaries for itself. The Divas don’t mind a bit, though. Liz was seen by a caregiver standing in a new tributary of the creek, swinging her trunk around and smashing the water left and right.

The water has also pushed many trees over that had branches too high for the Girls to reach, bringing tender new leaves right where the Ladies want them.

By the following Monday, the phenomenal rain had not only entirely filled the pond in Ned’s yard, but also produced a waterfall with the overflow, as well as two white-water streams that went right through the middle of his yard. Ned spent quite a bit of time in the afternoon checking it all out, but then we saw something we’ve never seen him do since his arrival. Ned actually extended his trunk up a tree to pull a branch down that had fresh new leaves on it. This natural behavior that can be commonplace for elephants seemed to be totally new for Ned. He enjoyed browse on his own – another breakthrough for a very deserving soul!

The Africa Girls have been gone for most of the week, coming back for about an hour to have a mud bath; then they leave. When they do stay around for awhile, Flora goes off to a quiet corner to nap, while Tange browses everywhere and plays with their tire. They come to check on the caregivers painting in the barn, then wander off again.

Cynthia Moss writes about the passing of Echo, probably the best known wild elephant in the world. Cynthia writes:

"Echo was the leader of her family for at least 36 years. When we first recorded her in 1973 her family numbered seven. At her death it numbered forty. For all of them, except for her sister Ella, Echo was the only leader they have ever known. The loss will be very disturbing and disrupting for them. For us on the Amboseli Elephant Research Project she has been an invaluable research subject providing us with insights into elephant behavior, leadership, communication, social relations and intelligence. But she was more than that. She was a daily presence, almost a companion to all of us. She gave us joy and filled us with wonder."  Read more