August 29, 2015
A New Day for Billie
Care staff have been closely monitoring the Quarantine Herd (Billie, Debbie, Ronnie, and Minnie) following Liz's passing last week. They report Billie's day travel habits and behavior have changed. "Billie use to have a handful of favorite spots where she would spend most of her time," explains Caregiver Justina, "all of which allowed Billie direct lines of sight to Liz. Now Billie is exploring all over!" Her day's route may begin at the "Pond Yard," then up the hill to the woods, then down to the creek, then back to the pond. Billie's travels have brought her into much closer proximity to her former Hawthorn Corporation barn-mates, Minnie and Ronnie. Staff observed Minnie interacting with Billie at the fence line, and has seen Billie allowing Ronnie to "graze" on hay resting on Billie's back. These are all first time behaviors for Billie.
Caregivers noted that Ronnie was the first to reach out to Billie following Liz's passing, sliding her trunk along Billie's head, neck, and back. This is a social behavior that is seen with the other elephants, like Misty and Tarra but is also new for Billie. She has always behaved in a manner suggesting that she was fearful and apprehensive of new developments in her life. To help her overcome fear of new activities, Billie's bravery is rewarded with special treats and enrichment devices (boomer balls filled with hay and tires outfitted with bamboo) placed around the habitat awaiting her discovery. Given Billie's willingness to venture out to areas of the habitat nearer the other elephants and the interest shown in her by her herd-mates, Sanctuary staff is hopeful that this is the beginning of closer relationships between these four individuals.
Debbie and Ronnie have been frequent visitors to the South Pond and the surrounding area of their habitat. The EleCams have been able to record a few of their swim sessions.
The Asia Habitat herd has been very social this week, perhaps encouraged by a streak of cooler weather. Misty and Tarra have been spotted together around the lake; Misty has been taking frequent dips in the water. Tarra again met up with Sissy and Winkie near the barn for a couple of days of visiting. Misty also made a brief appearance back at the barn where she, too, was spotted socializing with Sissy and Winkie. Speaking of, Sissy and Winkie have been on the move as well. While they choose to spend most of their time around the "2nd Pipeline" area, they made the 1.5 mile round trip to the "Dr. Scott's Pond" area mid-week.
All of The Sanctuary elephants seem to be making the most of summer's end. You can keep up with their travels live via our EleCams.