May 18, 2009

Shirley and Tarra have spent their time down on Marcella’s Road. One of the nights just before Bunny had passed, Tarra was standing over Shirley’s back end while she was sleeping—something that wouldn’t have happened in the past, and Tarra  seemed to understand the privilege. Shirley has been somewhat quiet, soft rumbles, putting her head down, but there is a feeling of loneliness when you come to her. Tarra has stayed close, but unlike Bunny, does not remain always at Shirley’s side. 

Both girls had some time with Bunny after she passed, touching and smelling, both very quiet and peaceful about it—the harder moments always seeming to be tough on our usually stoic Shirley. Tarra has now walked all the way down and visited where Bunny passed and where she is buried, inspecting the areas thoroughly.

She was laid to rest in an area down Marcella’s Road where she had spent the previous weeks. That area had been clear cut except for one beautiful lone pine tree. Here Bunny would stand, butt against the tree, leaning back and enjoying its shade. They left that spot about a week before she lay down and Bunny seemed to want to stay, but the other ladies were ready to move on. So she ended up back at her tree that overlooks the hills and valleys beyond, close to the stars, in an area that is frequented by the girls every year.

Before being buried, caregivers covered Bunny head to toe in yellow flowers, a scarf—for the girl who was always very proud to dress herself in anything she found in the habitat—and a pine tree on top of her—just like you would have seen her on a daily basis. Her squeaky, silly head, trunk holding, trumpeting in Shirley’s ear will be dearly missed by elephant and human alike. She was a sweet happy lady who not only brought a heartwarming smile to Shirley’s face, but also to her caregivers.

On a recent rainy Saturday, Flora and Tange hung around the barn all morning and later  disappeared into the Valley. Late that night they appeared on the Plateau, stayed there ‘til noon, and the next day came back to the barn. They threw around the tire, kicked the ball a little then left again for the Plateau. It’s been big fun driving around looking for them, wondering where they will pop up next.

When Flora is finished eating out of her bucket, she either leaves it on the ground or she hands it to the caregiver. Tange wants to play a game. Last week after dinner, Tange had finished eating out of her bucket, so the caregiver went over and wanted to pick it up. Before she could pick it up, Tange grabbed it and placed it on top of her head. Far far out of reach of the caregiver. Then she lowered her head to the point that the caregiver could almost reach it and when the caregiver almost had the bucket, she lifted up her head again. With a big rumble of joy and her unique “clicking”, she shook her head and the bucket fall to the ground.

Nothing's better than a good nap in the sunshine. Until just recently, though, sunshine has been in short supply. It finally managed to break through the clouds a bit this past week, letting the Divas dry themselves out a little. Areas of mud are great places for the ladies to leave their marks: giant footprints with an outline of mud almost an inch high in some places!  Lizzie used to be the napping champion, but Frieda has surpassed her, spending lots of time dozing in the ever-lengthening grass with Billie standing guard close by.

Please check the Asian Ele-Diary for updates on Ned and Bunny’s passing.

We remember wise and wonderful Barbara who left us on May 18, 2001.