April 10, 2013

An Enriching Spring

Elephants are intelligent and curious animals, and of course the Girls at The Sanctuary are no exception. Sanctuary staff enjoy the curious nature of the elephants they care for on a daily basis and are constantly thinking of new ways to entice the Girls’ sense of excitement and natural curiosity. They look for opportunities that fit each elephant that provides enrichment and exploration of habitat, introductions to new foods and/or building new relationships. Shirley, for example, needs no encouragement to explore as much of the Sanctuary as she can…this is how she stimulates her mind.  Misty and Dulary, however, don’t have quite the wanderlust. They benefit from different types of challenges.
That being said, the Caregivers at Q-Barn decided to offer some holiday themed enrichment treats for the girls recently. Caregivers Justina and Diana have more information about how the Girls reacted:

"On St. Patrick’s day, the girls received green treats all day long, including lettuce, collard greens, asparagus, broccoli, and celery. The front of each bag of goodies was even decorated in a make-shift 4 leaf clover made of collard greens! Each girl enjoyed her treats in her own unique way. Frieda’s method of eating her goodies was very precise.

She carefully dissected the goods, scattered them about, and ate each morsel of food individually, piece by piece. 

Billie, however, handled her goodies in a different way: she picked up all of her treats at once and shoved them all in her mouth in order to ensure she experienced all of the flavors at once. Typical Billie."

     Liz and Minnie
Liz and Minnie

"Lizzie investigated presents and quickly tossed all of the asparagus to the side as to prevent it from contaminating the rest of her treats!

Lucky, the resident leprechaun here at TES, will remember that Lizzie does not enjoy asparagus when doling out goodies next year ;). Minnie was in the St. Patty’s Day spirit and brought over a green treat of her own (fresh hay!) to mix with and match with the other green treats."

Debbie and Ronnie
Debbie and Ronnie

"Debbie followed suit and even ensured proper hay/green goody proportions by first putting hay in her mouth, then placing in her pile of snacks, and finally chasing the whole thing with more hay.

Ronnie gratefully accepted her goodies, but only after disposing of the broccoli.

Lucky will keep the Q girl’s pickiness in mind next year when constructing goody bags ;)!"


Frieda, Billie, and Liz

The Girls seemed to enjoy the “green” treats, so the Caregivers decided to really get creative for some Easter enrichment treats. They gave out lots of fruits and veggies in personalized paper "baskets", including some honeydew melons decorated in Easter egg fashion! It was a rainy day, but the girls enjoyed the gift from their caregiver Easter Bunnies despite the weather.

In addition to all of this excitement, Frieda, Billie, and Liz received a large delivery of sand last Wednesday! It will hopefully help the girls to be able to lie down easily if they choose, as well as facilitate dusting behavior. It was placed right next to their pond. Caregivers were sure that the sand would be super exciting once they got outside, but the girls were actually more excited by the noisy delivery truck. However, they did notice some foot prints in the pile later in the day, and a large pile of sand on top of Billie's back. They also received a revamp on one of their toys.

Volunteers from Northwestern University spending their Spring Break helping out at The Elephant Sanctuary cut out some feeder holes in one of their red block toys and caregivers filled it up with some hay and veggies and it was like it was brand new again!

Billie enjoys the red block toy filled with hay and veggies.