July 20, 2009

Debbie and Ronnie are still enjoying the area beyond the South Gate. Some mornings they aren’t even waiting for a drink; they’re still way at the back of Bunny’s Trail. If that’s the case, a caregiver can be certain that in just a couple hours, the girls will be thirsty and waiting patiently at the South Pond for their turn with the hose. Debbie often greets caregivers as they arrive with squeaks and pops of her trunk.

The Threesome are venturing farther and farther from the barn. Today, Liz went all the way out into the extension! Billie remained up in the trees inspecting the recent weed-eating that had been done, and Frieda relaxed in the Night Yard, surrounded by all the grass she could want. Later on, Billie took a dip in the pond.  She swung her trunk in circles and kicked her back leg, causing quick a commotion. Then, she sat down in the water and repeatedly lifted her trunk to spray water down her back.

Minnie and Lottie spend so much time at the upper pond, it seems they forget about Fields 4, 5, 6, and 7.  Once they glance to the west and remember, however, you won’t see them for the rest of the day.  It’s only about a day, usually, before they’re back at the Upper Pond, though.  They make full use of the pond and their automatic waterer.

Billie-Sue Update from July 14
Today started out as most days do for caregivers and elephants, but something happened in the afternoon that lit up our day brighter than the summer sun…….

Around 2:30 pm, a caregiver commented that Billie was in the Night Yard, looking as if she might be thinking about going out into the Night Yard Extension, a place she had not yet explored, even though she had watched Liz and Frieda go out there a few times. A short 15 minutes later, another caregiver looked on the camera, only to discover Billie had slipped into the extension pasture while no one was looking! This was exciting enough, but the added fact that she was all by herself (Liz and Fried were up near the barn) made it much more so.

What a milestone for Billie Sue, being brave enough to not only explore a new area, but feeling okay without her sisters being right next to her! News was shared with everyone at the barn, and of course we all had to take a moment to watch the ele-cam, huge smiles on everyone’s face.

What a special event this was. Some would say, “It’s just an elephant. It’s just eating grass in the pasture." Many of us know, however, that this is a huge understatement. This was BILLIE-SUE! She was by herself, in a new place, her sisters a full pasture away! To top it off, she and Lizzie (who had joined her a little while later) ate their 5pm meal out there as well.  After dinner, they eventually made their way back toward the barn like they do most evenings. So nice to end a work day with such a huge smile across your face.

This week in Africa was trunk wash week and the first time that we did Flora’s trunk wash outside. She was prefect! The caregiver squirted the water into Flora’s trunk, signaled to Flora to lift her trunk, which she did willingly. Then the custom-made collection device was held in front of Flora and she blew the water back out into the plastic bag—perfect. Now Tange was very different…the caregiver again squirted the water in her trunk. Tange lifted her trunk up and kept it on her head while the caregiver stood nearby ready for Tange to put her trunk into the bag and blow out the water. Tange’s trunk remained on her head. When she did put her trunk into the bag the caregiver followed the trunk around, but Tange placed her trunk back on her head or just out of the caregivers reach. Tange had so much fun with this game.

Misty and Dulary are exploring a little further each day.  They have not only walked down Lake Road at feeds, but have also been found out there grazing late at night. Misty’s endearing curiosity about every little trail and valley, each little new tree and flower she passes, is not only wonderful to watch but seems contagious, and has Dulary following into new areas close behind her.  Shirley returned to Marcella’s Road for the first time since leaving after Bunny’s passing.  She was found to be a bit quiet and reserved one morning, but was smiling and soft for the rest of the time she spent there.  It was nice to see that she could be in that space again and that it did not have a negative effect on her.  She left the area earlier this morning and is heading in the direction of the trails that lead down to the lake….which is where Miss Tarra is.