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By: The Elephant Sanctuary

April 26, 2010

All of the girls like to cool off on a hot afternoon. Each one tends to have a particular preference on how to go about this, depending on where in the habitat they are and who may be standing nearby to intercept their hose!
When Liz, Billie and Frieda used to be in the Night Yard/Pond Yard, they would come to the back of the barn for a drink from the hose. After drinking, Frieda preferred just to move off into the shade of Jenny’s Wash, but Liz always enjoyed standing there and letting a caregiver shower her from the hose, trunk to tail. Her eyes would close almost all the way, giving her an adorable and contented look. Billie would often use the water in the trough to shower herself, but sometimes seemed to revel in the attention when she felt like allowing a caregiver to shower her. She would even stand in the pond, sometimes catching the stream of water in her trunk, and letting the cool water fall on her like a rain shower.
Minnie and Lottie enjoy their afternoon drinks as well, Lottie more so than Min. Lottie is not big on hose showers unless the weather is *really* hot, but Minnie appears to enjoy one occasionally, especially if Debbie is on the other side of the fence to give her something to look at! Many people enjoy the sight of Minnie and Lottie rolling around in the Upper Pond, which seems to be the cooling-down method of choice for both.
When Deb and Ronnie are up at the South Pond, they both drink from the hose each day. That is also where they become orange and pink elephants after playing in the pond up there, since it is in all of the lovely red-clay dirt. On particularly hot days, Ronnie has been known to lower herself to the ground and roll in the red dirt while a caregiver sprays her all over with the hose. She always seems to want a shower, but Debbie has always been one to move away after drinking, not really wanting a spray bath.

Lately, however, much to the delight of a caregiver, Debbie not only enjoyed, but seemed to ask for a shower at the back of the barn. After their usual afternoon drink, Ronnie moved into the shade to scratch and rub after she doused herself with a few trunkfuls of water while the hose was still in her mouth. Debbie drank her fill, then just stood there looking at the caregiver instead of walking away to follow Ronnie. The caregiver gave her a gentle spritz to see if she was receptive, and she appeared to love it. So... shower on her feet, legs, belly, head and behind her ears (a favorite), where she tucks her trunk behind an ear, catches the water and sprays it over her back. After she was wet all on one side, she looked as though she was leaving, but turned and stopped, looking over her shoulder as if to say, “ha-hum, I have another side to do.” After both sides had been taken care of (at 11,000+ lbs., it takes a while), she too went to scratch and rub before joining Ronnie heading back out to the pasture.

Debbie and Ronnie heading back out to the pasture after their baths.

After a couple weeks of pushing and shoving, Tange and Flora have been good this week, settling down and enjoying the great spring weather. The've been very calm and content to roam around Africa knocking down trees everywhere.
This week, Sissy has been going nowhere fast. With all of the fields full of lush grass and small yellow and purple flowers popping up everywhere, Sissy has decided there is no reason to wander that far. It has been chilly at night the last couple of days, so Sissy and Winkie have been coming back to the barn in the evenings. In the morning, they walk out and Sissy stops at the first field—and so begins the grazing. She and Winkie stay for a while, with Winkie seeming to urge her to move on, and then it’s down the road, only to stop at the next meadow. This is how their trek for the day continues. It is very slow going, and by 5 pm feed, they are just around Dr. Scott’s property, but Sissy seems to be quite content with just that.
Lately, Shirley has been getting grapes every day. When the caregiver walks up to her in the morning, Shirley opens wide, waiting for them to be put directly in her mouth. She’s getting them not only because she likes grapes, but also to aid in her heart health, since it’s not like we are going to give her a glass of wine! Shirley does so much walking, and with her age, we just want to be sure we help her in any way we can. Her other favorite treat of late is watermelon. When it gets hot out, it seems to be a nice refreshing food (just like at our own picnics), and the sugar cane we recently got from the International Market seems to satiate Shirley's sweet tooth. Shirley was just very smiley and playful this afternoon when the caregiver went out, offering all four feet at different times for affection, and then proceeded to pat the caregiver down until she found the peanut butter crackers the caregiver had forgotten were in her pocket. Shirley is just so soft lately—it’s wonderful. Somewhat of a surprise… she seems to be fully embracing being a pampered grandma.
Fourteen years ago on April 25, Barbara arrived at Sanctuary from Tampa, FL. April 26 was Tina's birthday, born at the Portland, Oregon Zoo in 1970.

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