The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Asian Ele-Diary 2002-2003

December 15, 2003

Shirley plays with her toy tire
Shirley wedged her toy tire between two pipe. A safe place, out of reach of the other elephants.


December 14, 2003

Bunny, Tarra, Jenny and Shirley

Exploring the mountain Close friends

Bunny, Tarra, Jenny and Shirley enjoyed a leisurely climb up the mountain together.
Up close

Note from an avid Ele-Cam fan…

What a day at the Sanctuary! I can only imagine what the energy is like around these girls...must be pure bliss!
Yay, for Tina..A banner day for her!
As for Winkie, what a personality she has. She had my partner & I cheering her on! She is quite the wild child.
The magic of the girls is incredible. Tarra has a new fan, my partner actually gave up his football game to watch her [on the Ele-Cam]. He went on & on about how cute & great she was. I think he is actually a little jealous of Scott!
Well, if I have to share his love with another female, Tarra is just fine with me!
It’s been the best Sunday in our home for awhile...
Thank the girls for both of us,


December 3, 2003

Elephants become energized in cool weather. It makes sense, when the temperature drops an elephant’s body can stop working overtime to release built up body heat. Today a rain storm moved through and the girls enjoyed nature’s gift immensely. Sissy and Winkie headed straight for the upper pond. Winkie ran into the pond and immediately submerged her entire body, head first. For nearly twenty minutes she played, and played and played. She found it very entertaining to slam her head underwater, like a submerging submarine, in fast-forward, using her head and trunk to plow the mud up from the pond floor. Much like an earth mover she moved hundreds of pounds of mud, just for the fun of it. She had a blast. When she finally tired of her play, her face and trunk were covered with mud. Sissy stood along side the pond and marveled at her friend's inexhaustible energy level.

Winkie and Sissy at upper pond Sissy

Simultaneously, Delhi was twirling around, kicking her empty water tub, tossing tree branches and clumps of dirt as she trumpeted boisterously. What a wonderful trumpet she has; long and wild with a signature tone variation at the end. She actually ran down the hill spinning and dancing, trumpeting gleefully. Much fun had by all!


December 2, 2003

Bella has taken quite a liking to Tarra. This is a dream come true for Tarra who has spent her entire captive life pursuing the friendship of every canine she has ever met. Tarra simply loves dogs. The other day we spied Tarra napping, with Bella close by, obviously watching over her.  It has now become a common sight to see Tarra out in the pasture or woods with Bella close by.

Bella and Tarra
Bella and Tarra

November 30, 2003

Each day a load of fresh bamboo is cut and delivered to the elephant barn. This day Delhi was sleeping. In an effort not to disturb her with a noisy 4-wheeler, the bamboo was transported by hand—or should we say "by back"!



November 26, 2003

Sissy usually comes inside at dusk and spends the entire night inside. Tonight was different. She stayed out after everyone else had already come in. She spent time playing with the hanging barrel and explored for the last of the wild persimmons that had fallen from a nearby tree. After a little more than an hour she joined her family inside the barn.

By the persimmon tree Sissy playing at night
Sissy playing at night Having a barrel of fun!


November 24, 2003

Bunny came into the barn tonight for the first time since early March. All of the elephants were very excited to see her. There was a noisy celebration with everyone trumpeting, bellowing, chirping and caressing each other. Bunny especially likes the drama, especially when it is directed at her.

Bunny comes home
Bunny, Shirley & Tarra spend a warm night together


November 14, 2003

Winkie was grazing while she waited for Sissy to finish her afternoon nap. She found a plank of wood which had fallen off of the feed wagon the day before. Winkie proceeded to entertain herself for quite some time.


November 3, 2003

Sissy has shown quite a bit of interest in other animals at the Sanctuary. She stands real still when dogs or cats wander through her stall and never tried to scare them off. When Scott was holding a stray dog that had come to the Sanctuary the day before, Sissy came over and gently reached up to smell her.

Sissy says Hi to new dog
Scott, Maggie & Sissy

The girls received presents (boomer balls) from many of our EleFriends today. They definitely enjoyed them.

Tarra checked to be sure the ball was not and did not contain food. Jenny wanted to see how far it would roll...right out of the barn. Shirley wanted to be sure the ball was a safe toy for her baby Jenny to play with.  Tina was satisfied to hold one in her trunk until she was distracted by her suspended barrel. Sissy recognized it and immediately tested it for squishiness. Winkie's reaction was pure Winks. She spent nearly two hours stepping on it, trying to bite it, squishing and slamming it to the ground. She placed it at forehead level and tried to squish it between her head and the wall. Then she proceeded to pick it up and slam it to the ground as hard as she could, nearly 50 times. Winkie is nothing if she is not persistent and competitive. The boomer ball won out. In the morning the ball has suffered a few dents but remained inflated and ready for another round with Winkie.

Tina has it!
Tina has it
Winkie has it
Now Winkie has it (Sissy watches)
Tarra, Jenny, Shirley
Everyone wants the red boomer ball ~ Tarra, Jen & Shirley


November 2, 2003

We received our first eleTOYS. Sissy was the official tester...she had much fun! See photos below!

The boomer balls arrive
The Girls will have so much fun with these!
Leight weight
Light weight
Easy to carry
Easy to carry
Ever so tasty
Fun to squish
Fun to squish
Almost ele-proof
Almost ele-proof

October 27, 2003

As the temperatures cool down, most of the girls spend afternoons close to the barn.

Fall is in the air and the girls are spending late afternoons close to the barn. As the sun begins to set there is a chill in the air. It looks like the girls will spend the night in the barn...all but Bunny.

October 23, 2003

Another beautiful Fall day. The temperature was in the high 70s and all of the girls enjoyed the sun and pastures. For several hours Jenny, Shirley, Winkie and Sissy grazed side by side. It is wonderful to see how well Winkie has adjusted. She sure has over come a mountain of fears. It took her quite awhile to trust everyone and now they are one big happy family.

Jenny, Shirley, Winkie and Sissy
Jenny, Shirley, Winkie & Sissy

Spirits healed ~ life renewed

October 16, 2003

With the change of seasons the behavior and migratory patterns of our elephants changes as well. As the weather cools the elephants tend to stay closer to the barn. Although we would prefer that they never have a desire to come to the barn we recognize that there are some benefits. This morning Sissy, Winkie, Jenny and Shirley spent the morning soaking up the sun and sharing each other's company. This was the first time we observed both Jenny and Sissy napping while the four were so close together. They are now functioning as a healthy, cohesive family unit. Later in the day Tarra joined them. Bunny continues her patterns of foraging in the woods during the day and joining the other elephants in the pasture at night. Her joyful trumpets can be heard for miles when she joins her family each night around 10pm.


September 21, 2003

The weather was cooler than it had been for the past several weeks and finally there was rain in the air. Water falling from the sky is all it takes to entertain Tarra and stimulate her playful nature. At first she was determined to get Tina to join her but eventually she abandoned her antics to recruit a playmate. Instead, she spent nearly an hour entertaining herself while showing Tina just how much fun those plastic barrels really are!

Ele-cam stills document this playful activity.


September 17, 2003
This afternoon as Bunny grazed across the pasture she found Jenny napping in the pasture. As you can see from the screen captures taken from the EleCam they are quite affectionate with each other. After Bunny left Jenny laid down and went back to sleep.


September 11, 2003

Another full moon. Sis and Winks continue to enjoy their time outside at night. At 1AM , staff heard Winkie chattering up a storm, happy chatter, a sign that she was involved in something enjoyable. The moon was so bright that when the EleCam was directed toward a play area behind the barn you could actually see Sissy and Winkie playing under a huge oak tree. So surreal, two massive creatures, seemingly slow and methodical, spinning, kicking and grabbing at a plastic barrel suspended from the tree. This barrel was hung from the tree as a toy, one the elephants use regularly. Winkie spent a good 20 minutes engaged in aerobic exercise, playing so hard that when she finally stopped she was out of breath. As she chattered away, her vocalizations echoed across the valley, bounced off the adjacent hillside, returning in what sounded like a herd of elephants at play. Sissy entertained herself by digging and spinning in the sand pile, trumpeting in powerful burst of high pitched sounds. Long into the night their joyful sounds pierced the night air.

August 11, 2003

Tina arrived today. Sis and Winks both came in to say hello and then they did something uncharacteristic...they spent the entire night outside. We have been hoping that Sis and Winks would grow comfortable enough with the wilderness nights to sleep out under the stars like their sisters, Jenny, Tarra, Bunny and Shirley. Finally that night has come. When staff came into the barn for the 10PM feeding there was concern and guarded enthusiasm because Sissy and Winkie were not inside the barn ready with a vocal greeting. To our surprise they were not inside the barn, they were not directly outside the barn and they were not 1/2 mile back in the habitat with Jenny, Shirley, Bunny and Tarra. Upon further exploration they were found in the back pasture, nearly a mile from the barn, grazing to their hearts content. It was nearly a full moon, the sky was bright and the elephants were quite easy to find. They both looked up when the four wheeler, full of groceries, approached. It was obvious that they were quite calm. After their normal friendly welcome they continued grazing. The next morning we found that both Sis and Winks had not returned to the barn all night. Everyone was filled with excitement and joy for their new found freedom. The addition of each new elephant creates an opportunity for change for all the elephants. The first time Jenny and Shirley spent the night outside is when Bunny arrived, Bunny stayed outside with them. Tina's arrival gave Sis and Winks the courage to venture out and experience something that has changed their night time routine and given them an even greater sense of connectedness to their home.

Sunday August 3, 2003

The elephants have been camera magnets the past few days. EleCam has captured many endearing interactions and sacred moments shared by the herd. Our avid EleCam watchers have written with questions, comments and in appreciation for what they have seen. Today at 1PM Jenny, Shirley and Sissy gathered around the pond as Winkie went in for a soak. I say soak because she was purposefully very still instead of animated and splashing around. Shirley and Sissy remained on the pond's edge while Jenny entered the water. This was a first, although Jenny did not completely submerge herself in the pond, the fact that she actually went in the water while Winkie was already in the pond was a show of trust. Winkie remained calm.

After a few minutes Jenny left the pond and approached Sissy who anxiously awaited a chance to interact. The two shared trunk to trunk touches, caresses and playful rubbing. Shirley joined the love feast, all trunks and touches. Finally Shirley squirmed her way in between Jenny and Sissy who picked up one of her many toy tires and headed for the pond. Sissy's giant inner tube does not float; instead it sinks—which is what Sissy likes. Once in the pond, next to Winkie, Sissy proceeded to kick and drag the tire around underwater. She had a blast. The two began to play, at which time Jenny and Shirley walked down into the pasture.

A short time later all four were grazing side by side in the pasture. Sissy and Winkie eventually wandered in the direction of the woods and Jeny and Shirley headed up to pond for a swim. Jenny and Shirley spent nearly an hour soaking and playing. Jenny is the one who likes to stick the bottoms of her feet straight up in the air. It is a sight to see.

Only in a true natural habitat setting, both facility and philosophy, will you be privy to such healthy herd interactions. Everyone who catches a glimpse of the girls on the EleCam has a window into the world of healthy elephant behavior.

Tuesday, July 29, 6:00 p.m.CST

This evening while no one (sanctuary staff) was watching, Shirley, Bunny and Tarra made a big fuss over Jenny while a white tail deer grazed close by.

It may seem weird that the staff, who could have easily viewed the tender social display from the barn door missed everything. They were hard at work finishing up the chores of the day and missed everything. Usually Carol is operating the cameras and could have informed the staff, as she often does, but as luck would have it, this evening Carol was away from her desk.

We are very aware that there is a world of EleCam junkies out there. Tonight they who got the thrill of their life. One avid EleCam watcher, Jac Hone, in England, captured the phenomenal scene in a series of snapshots...isn't our new technology the best?

When Trish e-mailed the snapshots to Carol, she and the staff were flabbergasted that they had missed this amazing scene. This was just another example of how invaluable the EleCAm is and how being on grounds to see the elephants live and up close is not necessarily the best way to view them.

Enjoy the photos by Jac Hone...

July 24, 2003 — 3pm

Sissy and Winkie usually have the upper pond all to themselves in the afternoons but today was different. Sissy and Winkie had just gotten out of the pond after a 20 minute playtime. Winkie remained at the edge of the pond while Sissy walked a few feet away laid down for a nap. While she was asleep Shirley and Jenny approached. Winkie remained at the pond's edge dabbling in the water and Sissy slowly got up. Jenny continued walking around the pond but Shirley remained with Sissy. She and Sissy engaged in an elephant greeting full of trunk caresses. Then Sissy decided she wanted to finish her nap and, with Shirley standing over her, she slowly laid down again. Shirley remained standing over her and Winkie showed no concern as she continued to play in the water. After several minute Shirley wandered off in Jenny's direction.


May 10, 2003

I guess Sissy does not need us any more.That may sound sad but actually it is wonderful. Since her arrival, Sissy has been dependant on her caretakers to provide a water hose for drinking. Her partially paralyzed trunk has prevented her from effectively maneuvering a trunkful of water into her mouth. When she does try to drink with her trunk, most of the water just splashes out before she can get her trunk into her mouth.

Upon her arrival, Sissy quickly learned that her caregivers were hypersensitive her water needs, even going so far as to install water hoses at the three well in the habitat. This was done so that Sissy could have a drink of water anytime, anywhere. She quickly learned that all she had to do was approach one of the EleWells and within minutes a caretaker would appear, from out of nowhere, to turn the water hose on for her. Yes, she has us trained very well and we are proud of her for it.

BUT today as the staff watched through the field camera, we were excited for Sissy — she does not need us anymore. Instead of walking over to her favorite EleWell to get a drink from the hose, Sissy opted to drink like an elephant, straight from the spring fed stream swollen by the recent rains. We watched in awe, like proud parents, as Sissy made a gallant effort to drink from the stream just like the other elephants. Well not just like, she lost nearly half a trunkful of water on the way from stream level to her mouth. But the pride of accomplishment that she felt touched us though the field camera, straight to our hearts.


May 5, 2003

Severe storms tore through Tennessee. Damage was wide spread. Although the Sanctuary saw high winds, rain, and for a short time quarter size hail, there was no damage. 

Several supporters e-mailed with concern at seeing the elephants on the EleCam, outside during the storms. One thing that we have learned from the Girls is not to underestimate their intelligence and ability to make sound judgments relating to their health and well being. We have been told that elephants possess an internal barometer which acts as a natural early warning system for approaching storms and changing weather patterns. Over the years we have come to rely on the elephants to alert us to a drop in temperature or onset of a storm. Today they reminded us once again that they do not need us, they do just fine on their own. 

The sun was shining and a slight breeze was blowing down the valley. Shirley and Jenny huddled close together under a huge oak tree. This caught our attention as we had not seem them act exactly this way before. Ten minutes passed, the sky quickly grew dark, the wind began to gust and then we heard it...hail. The hail came down hard for five minutes covering everything with a layer of ice that seemed out of place on a 80' day. As quickly as the storm rolled into our valley it was gone. Jenny and Shirley nonchalantly strolled out from under the tree and returned to grazing as if nothing had happened. This is the magic, in their world nothing unusual had happened. The storms come and they go, sometimes there is rain, wind, the creeks rise and the mud get thick and sometimes, like today, it hails. All of this is viewed as normal in their world. They do not fight nature they immerse themselves in it and become one with it.

Rescuing JennyLate this evening, during the 10PM feeding Jenny and Shirley did something else that shows just how intelligent, considerate and comfortable with their environment they have become. Jenny had climbed up the face of a step hill with Shirley in tow. When they heard the 4-wheeler with the PM groceries approaching they turned to come back down the hill. Shirley descended first and then turned to see Jenny climbing down another part of the sloop approaching a step drop off. With instinctual precision Shirley moved into place perpendicular to the embankment which was nearly shoulder high. Calmly she leaned in creating a solid barrier for Jenny to lean into as she gracefully slid over the edge of the embankment and down onto the ground where Shirley was standing.

It was truly unbelievable to see the two work in silent unison. Shirley has learned that she cannot prevent Jenny from doing what might appear to be dangerous, like climbing down the side of a steep embankment. Instead she has learned how to assist Jenny so she does not hurt herself. The two are so connected they move in unison effortlessly.

They are our greatest teachers.

Cartoon by an "Elefriend" who read the story and created this graphic!

©B. Narelle 2003

April 1, 2003

For the past three weeks the girls have taken advantage of the glorious weather staying out all night. Their days are spent leisurely grazing the young pasture grasses and basking in the warmth of the spring sun. Today we watched as Jenny got up from a morning nap, sleeping side by side with Shirley. Without a hesitation she headed across the pasture toward Sissy. Sissy flapped her ears in excitement as Jenny approached. They spent the next twenty minutes touching and interacting with each other. Winkie was close by, grazing to her heart's content.


February 2, 2003 @ 2pm CT

The temperature reached 71 degrees today. The girls enjoyed the mild weather in a variety of ways; Bunny perhaps was the most intriguing. First she found one of Sissy discarded tractor tires. It rained recently so the inside of the tire was full of water. Bunny gently slid her trunk across the surface of he tire and then investigated the inside . Effortlessly she lifted the tire and balanced it on end.

At first she thought it would balance up right without support but it did not. As soon as she released her hold the tire fell. Again she lifted the tire and placed it upright on the treads. This time she used the base of her trunk to keep the tire up right as she reached inside the tire and snorkeled water into her trunk. This was the cute part — Bunny slowly and carefully lifted her trunk up to her mouth while continuing to balance the tire with the base of her trunk. She could reach her mouth and still balance the tire, but when she tried to lift her head to squirt the water to the back of her mouth she felt the tire starting to fall. She froze and spent several seconds considering her dilemma . Finally she decided to use her leg to brace the tire which freed her trunk allowing her to drink.

Once all of the water was gone she switched her attention to a new project. Using a long branch, she scratched the underside of her stomach, ears and sides of her face. Several EleCam viewers e-mailed to say they had seen Bunny's tool use and found it most intriguing.

Yes, these creatures are tool users and extremely creative, but of course you already knew that.


January 22, 2003

Tennessee is preparing for some cold weather which means the elephant will most likely decide to spend more time inside the barn over the next few days. Our keepers do their best to devise interesting distraction to keep the elephants for getting bored while inside. Today Sissy was the official toy tester. The newest toy was a flexible plastic tubing with several holes along the sides, capped at both ends and filled with grains and raisins. As she moved the tubing around the grain fell out onto the ground. The toy kept Sissy occupied for several minutes. It appears that the toy past the boredom fighter test, Sissy loved it! >

"How a pine tree started out as browse material and ended up as a fashion statement."

This evening Bunny was observed wearing an unusual decoration on her back...for hours. It began when Scott brought a small pine tree inside the barn for the elephants. Bunny claimed it and proceeded to devour the needles. Once stripped she began to consume the small branches. Then when it appeared that the mangled tree could serve no further purpose Bunny casually flung it up onto her back. There it balanced for hours as Bunny gingerly glided around the barn. Was this Bunny's version of a fashion show, we will never know?


January 17, 2003

What they were all waiting for, winters first snow. Since it seldom snows in these parts the Girls seem to enjoy the unusual. All but Sissy came out to play.


January 12, 2003

The Girls came in the barn around 4pm today. The sky was clear and the sun warm but as it started to set the air began to get cool. Jenny was full of herself, playing the entire way from the pasture to the barn. Once she entered the barn she continued to dash in and out, crashing through the rubber flaps and making all kinds of noise. Shirley joined her and began her normal vocalizations as Jenny continued to be incredible animated and goofy.

Then something happened that we had not heard before. Shirley was not only speaking in her own language, "Shirley talk", a vocalization unique to herself but to our amazement she started talking "Tarra talk". Different vocalizations or languages are believed to be unique to elephant families. Although our Girls vocalize with each other they do not share any of the same language...until now. Shirley uttered several "Tarra talk" syllables and what seemed to be in response to the positive reinforcement from her keepers she continued to speak in the language that was clearly Tarra's. Interestingly, Tarra was not in the barn but entered just minutes later and the two exchanged ele-chatter, face to face. It appears that Shirley has learned Tarra's language. Astonishing!


Jan. 10, 2003
The comfort level Winkie experiences while in the company of the group of elephants has risen rapidly. She can now be observed approaching a group pf elephants with or without Sissy by her side. Today, as Sissy slept, Winkie grazed over to Jenny, Shirley and Bunny. She remained in their company for several minutes before returning to Sissy who slept the entire time. At sun set when all of the elephant returned to the barn, Winkie moved through the sea of elephant in the barn, calm and confident. This is a major break through for all of the elephants. Winkie is demonstrating that she is no longer fearful of the other elephants. Likewise, Jenny, Benny and Shirley understand and trust Winkie. It is a joy to see these relationships continue to develop and Winkie become a viable member of the herd.


Dec 23, 2002
The weather has been incredibly mild all month, making it possible for the Girls to spend the majority of their time outdoors. Believe it or not, the pastures are still growing so grazing remains one of the main activities occupying their days. Afternoon naps are also a common sight as the Girls intuitively know to soak up the radiant effect of sun which they store in their core to use during the chilly winter evenings. Their ability to control their own body temperature, with the assistance of the stored heat, makes it possible for the elephants to remain outside for more hours of the day into the evening, even when the temperature drops. Usually by 8pm, this time of year, everyone has come inside the barn for the evening. They remain inside until the next morning. As soon as the sun crests the hill they are out the barn door and one their way to another full day of being an elephant.


Dec 22, 2002 @ 1:30pm
Winkie surprised everyone today by taking a dip in the small pond. The weather was in the high 50's, with a slight breeze, not necessarily what we would consider bathing weather but Winkie enjoyed herself immensely. She splashed around and submerged her entire body spending about 30 minutes in the water. When she finally emerged, she headed right for the woods for a complete covering of fine dirt and leaves—which apparently works quite well as insulation. She did not return to the barn as we suspected she would; instead, she headed out to back pasture where she and Sissy spend several hours grazing. As the sun set they both returned to the barn for the evening.


Dec 21, 2002
Late tonight Sissy shed a portion of one of her molars. Such an event is always cause for celebration with the keepers at the Sanctuary. Elephants grow six sets of molars over their 70-year lifetime. If their molars do not wear and shed properly, painful complications can develop. The worst thing to observe is an elephant experiencing a tooth ache. A twenty pound, impacted molar can cause a great deal of pain. As result of the pain caused by a problematic tooth, an elephant can go off her food, experience pain while drinking and/or develop a difficult disposition. We are all very pleased to see that Sissy sloughed the remaining portion of one of her lower molars. The tooth looked healthy and sloughed in a normal way...a cause for celebration. Sissy feels good about it also!


December 6, 2002 @ 1:45pm CT
Some of you were witness to an endearing scene today on the EleCam. Jenny, Shirley and Bunny were basking in the sun. Early afternoons seem to be their favorite nap time. Sissy and Winkie grazed their way close to the sleeping trio. At one point Bunny raised her bulk onto one elbow, spied the two new arrivals and then gently settled back down into the soft grass, undisturbed. Sissy silently glided right into the middle of the threesome and lay down. The four slept as Winkie kept vigil, grazing contently. Such a peaceful scene.

November 24, 2002 @ 1:15pm CT
I received my fifth e-mail of the hour from a concerned member and avid EleCam viewer, "There are three elephants lying down in the pasture. They have been there a long time. Can someone go check on them? Are they ok? I didn't think elephants could lie down for an extended period of time."  

How wonderful that so many people are keeping an eye on our girls. What our viewers are seeing is Bunny, Jenny and Shirley taking advantage of the afternoon sun and enjoying a nap. Elephants usually sleep four hours in a twenty-four hour period. They don't sleep the four hours straight through; instead, they sleep for 45 minutes or so then get up, stretch their legs, graze a little and then lie down again on the opposite side. Our girls prefer to sleep during the day which is consistent with wild elephant behavior. Many people comment that they do not see zoo and circus elephants sleeping during the day. Perhaps elephant on exhibit do not feel secure enough to lie down in front of strangers and prefer to wait until the crowds are gone before sleeping. So when you check in on our girls and see them lounging in the pastures, don't worry, they are just getting their beauty sleep!


November 14, 2002 @ 3:15pm CT
Jenny and Shirley were in the right of the front forty acres of the habitat when Sissy and Winkie approached from the back sixty. Winkie hung back a bit as Sissy directly approached Jenny and Shirley, all three sharing caresses. Everyone began grazing, including Winkie. After a few minutes Jenny lay down for a nap. Shirley moved into her normal position, standing over Jenny. Sissy did something we have never observed before. She moved forward toward the sleeping Jenny, placing her body as close as possible without displacing Shirley. All three remained in intimate proximity to each other for a lengthy time. Finally Winkie slowly approached. Sissy stepped away from Jenny a few feet to greet Winkie. Then several minutes later Jenny got up from her nap and they all continued to graze together. Bunny and Tarra were over the hill to the south, wandering around in a wooded area that we call Barbie-land, one of Barbara's favorite areas at the Sanctuary.

Another peaceful day in paradise.

November 10, 2002 @ 7:30 pm

A severe storm ripped through Tennessee tonight. We experienced strong winds and rain but no damage to our area. This was one of the few nights that Sissy and Winkie stayed out after dusk. In fact, they stayed outside during the entire storm which surprised their keepers. They did not return to the barn until midnight. Apparently the elephants experience a different emotion than people when a severe storm strikes.


November 7, 2002 @ 1am
you night owls might have seen a curious scene on the EleCam at 1 am. The barn camera was on and Jenny had decided that the new rubber door flaps were installed for her entertainment. For nearly 30 minutes she demonstrated how playful even grown elephants are. She tugged on the flaps and wrapped them around her legs, grabbed them in her mouth and bashed them with her trunk. The entire time Shirley stood very close, completely still, observing. Jenny had a blast!


Nov 3, 2002 @ 5:50pm
The elephants have a new addition to their barn, a rubber flap door. The rubber flap door is made of overlapped layers of 12' strips of rubber conveyor belt material, designed to allow elephants in and out of the barn while keeping the heat inside. This door allows keepers to leave the barn doors open for longer hours on cold nights. All of the elephants push through the rubber door without a problem but the dogs are cautious. Today Cloe the dog was observed attempting to enter the barn as she usually does but was leery of the flaps. Tarra was standing just on the other side of the flaps. Cloe poked her face through the flaps, saw Tarra and backed out. Immediately Tarra grabbed the flaps with her trunk and pulled them to the side and stuck her head out. Tarra continued to hold the flaps open while Cloe dashed through into the barn. Tarra followed her inside.