Joanna Burke

Update for Winkie and Scott

How Winkie is Doing

July 31, 2006 — Immediately following the incident that claimed Joanna's life, Winkie sunk into a deep depression. Her posture; slumped shoulders and downcast head and eyes were more than her caregivers could bear to witness. Gone was her enthusiastic vocalizations and jovial manner, she had no greetings for her family, elephant or human. She was closed off emotionally, removed and sad. BUT, she was not aggressive in any way.
The look on her face was unmistakable–Winkie was in mourning. Being cognizant that Winkie needed time to return to her right mind, her primary caregivers gave her space while continuing to reassure her verbally. As the days passed, Winkie began to recover from the shock of her actions and slowly, painfully, return to her former, docile, affectionate, loving self. With encouragement from Scott and Carol, Winkie started to show signs of wanting to reconnect with us. She solicited affection and participated in conversation. It took nearly one week for Winkie to recover from this stage of her mourning process. Although there is no question about what Winkie did, there are many questions as to why.
All the information we can gather points to past trauma so intense, so debilitating, that Winkie has and very likely never will recover from it. Such trauma can invoke irreversible damage to the brain, causing Winkie to act out in ways beyond her control. We are currently researching as much information as we can to better understand Winkie's behavior, both for her welfare and the welfare of all who care for her.  Throughout this entire ordeal, Sissy has been at Winkie's side supporting her as a dear friend does.

How Scott is Doing

July 31, 2006 — Sanctuary co-founder Scott Blais was also injured by Winkie in the accident.  He sustained some cuts and bruises and a broken fibula, but was released from the hospital a few hours later with a soft cast.

A follow-up exam with the doctor a few days ago revealed his foot was healing nicely and that further surgery would not be necessary.  While his cast and crutches may slow him down a bit over the next 4-6 weeks, Scott is already back to work and actively involved in supervising the day-to-day Sanctuary operations,  including closely monitoring Winkie to make sure she is healing, too.