April 20, 2012
Caregiver Brianna writes: "After a long winter of feeding the Girls in the barn, I had the opportunity to travel out and feed in the habitat. Lead Caregiver Laurie brought me all the way out to the lake to train me to feed Shirley and Tarra out in the wilderness. We arrived in Right Field, and got a breathtaking view of Tarra and Shirley standing amidst the forest, surrounded by trees and grass, next to the beautiful lake, a mother and her newly-hatched ducklings were paddling by as we pulled up! Tarra seemed to be approaching quickly." Laurie laughed, "I said to Brianna, she doesn't usually move that fast!"
Brianna continued, "To our surprise, she came running towards us, flapping her ears and making her characteristic "er-er-er" noise. We pulled into a Caregiver corral to feed them, and Shirley and Tarra came rushing over, trumpeting and roaring. For over 30 minutes, they were roaring, trumpeting, rumbling, flapping their ears and just generally being very animated and playful. Shirley was even trumpeting straight into Tarra's mouth! We also noticed that Shirley had learned to mimic one of Tarra's happy noises! Laurie and I laughed until we cried, and thoroughly enjoyed our unique morning with the Girls. I don't think I'll ever forget seeing them that happy. I'm glad my first experience feeding out in the habitat was such a special one!"
For Easter, Caregivers Maddie and Brianna, with help from Katie and Clint, had a good time creating a beautiful basket of produce for the Girls. Celebrating holidays with the Girls as they would back home is always fun for the Caregivers, many of whom live some distance away from their families. Pears took the shape of rabbits with some artful decorating and sugar snap peas for ears. Even sweet potatoes were transformed to look like decorative eggs. A harmless paper bag served as a basket, and they filled it with hay, mini-wheats, bananas, and oranges. The finishing touch was a sprinkling of granola for good measure, and some of the goodies spilled tantalizingly over the top as they awaited discovery. Dulary approached one basket first, then Misty followed. Instead of each elephant claiming their own basket, which Caregivers had spread out in the habitat, our Girls preferred to munch on them together. Misty and Dulary showed us the most wonderful surprises are best when they are shared with friends!
Over at Q:
Caregivers Kelly, Lindsay, Justina, and Ashleigh also had a lot of fun with creating Easter baskets for each of the Q Girls. Each basket started out with a paper liner, and was carefully crafted and then filled with the typical Easter basket fare—"grass" (hay), a "chocolate bunny" (bunny made from sweet potato with carrot ears and a little broccoli tail), and well as some other tasty treats like granola, oats, and peppermint treats and shredded carrot pieces for garnish!
According to Caregivers, unlike some of their other larger treats, the baskets didn't just go into the Girls' mouths in one big bite. Most of the girls checked out the baskets with their trunks, perhaps even giving the strange object a poke or two to make sure it was all right. The baskets were then grasped and flung around, dropping the contents onto the ground for easier snacking. Not in the least bit apprehensive, Lizzie ran right up to hers. Although, Debbie took an original approach. She neared the basket, suddenly spun around, and gave her basket a good stomping with her back feet before turning back around and enjoying the treats scattered on the ground.
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Since Caregiver-Education Carol D. is getting ready for the Girl Talk Presentation at the Welcome Center this Saturday, Caregiver Angela has been thinking about the African Girls and their bonding and vocalizations. She says, "Tange and Flora use full-on trumpets on a regular basis when greeting one another, reacting to large/noisy vehicles, the odd placed turkey, etc. When they are excited, they can pierce your ear drums with the pitch of their noises.
If Tange and Flora have been apart for a little while, or a long while, their greeting is pretty loud. Flora approaches at a brisk pace, whereas Tange is slower and usually takes a submissive posture by turning her rear toward Flora and turning her head to the side to watch her approach. Sometimes Tange straightens out her front legs and sticks her rump into the air a bit, bending down in the front, while curling her trunk around, holding her ears out, and greeting Flora with really loud rumbles and a trumpet or two. Flora just tends to enter the scene knowing she's the boss, and tends to hold her head up, ears out, sometimes tail out a bit, and mostly just some rumbling. She does, however, trumpet LOUDLY when she's very excited!"
Be sure to check Welcome Center page for the monthly presentation schedule, and mark your calendar for June 2 for a very special one featuring the relationship of Tarra and Bella.