May 9, 2013

Dulary
Dulary

At Asia Barn…
Dulary turns 50 this year, and when she began having problems late last year we suspected the cause might be in her reproductive tract. As people age, their health often changes, and as women get older they are often prone to problems of the reproductive system. The same is true for older elephants, especially those that have never calved. In March, a team from the University of Tennessee Veterinary College came to The Elephant Sanctuary and performed an ultrasound exam. The exam confirmed that Dulary had tumors in her uterus. These tumors (called leiomyomas) are typically benign and don’t usually spread to other organs. However, they can become quite large and cause other problems. In Dulary’s case they have caused edema (swelling) beneath her abdomen and in her hind legs and tail. Dulary is receiving medications to prevent infection, reduce the swelling, stimulate her appetite, and make her more comfortable. She is also wearing a specially made “corset” to help reduce the edema under her abdomen. Luckily the weather is warm now and we are encouraging her to go swimming in her pond which should raise her spirits, as well as help with the swelling in her back legs. The “corset” will be removed on days when the weather is conducive to swimming and then replaced at night.  Dulary has an affinity for fresh cut grass, and her Caregivers are making sure that she is getting as much of it as she wants. 
 
Last Wednesday marked the 6th anniversary of Dulary’s arrival to The Elephant Sanctuary, and we will be celebrating her 50th birthday at our Welcome Center in downtown Hohenwald on Saturday, May 18.  You can see more info about Dulary’s birthday plans by visiting our Welcome Center page.
 
Over at At Q Barn...
Past Ele-Notes have made mention of some of the habitat extension and renovation projects taking place around the Q-Barn. The Q Girls received quite a surprise this week when they had their first chance to set foot in some new areas. 

Billie in her new habitat
Billie in the new habitat

Caregiver Melanie tells the story:
 
“This week has been full of new things for the Q girls. We’ve opened up a new part of the habitat, with lots of help from the maintenance staff. One by one, Frieda, Billie and Lizzie have made their way over to Lizzie Run, the Winter Wood, Frieda’s Field and Daniel’s Pond. Frieda was the first to be super adventurous and blazed a trail over to the field that was named after her. She spent hours there just grazing, staying out over night, and not returning to the barn until the following day. Billie made her way up to Lizzie Run and the Winter Wood, but was not bold enough initially to journey down to Frieda’s Field, most likely because Minnie can be an imposing presence.

Eventually, Billie made her way down and was reunited with Frieda. Lizzie was the last to go, but she certainly appeared to enjoy the meadow once she made it over. For the first time in a long while, Q barn caregivers were able to see all six of our girls in one panoramic view. It’s a sight that we will always remember.”
 

And in Africa…
 
Caregiver Jessica offers this update:

“Flora and Tange have been enjoying the outdoors. They are making their way through more trees, leaving a rugged landscape behind. These girls are always keeping us guessing. Flora, especially, is often hard to find. Tange is usually eager to meet caregivers for her meals. We love giving out surprise watermelon treats. Tange zones out and apparently savors every drop of juice, fluttering her long eyelashes. I’m still fascinated by watching an elephant crush a watermelon, or coconut or other ridiculously large or otherwise seemingly invincible food item or object.  It’s amazing how 9,000 pounds of elephant can still be so gentle and effortless.”