December 13, 2011
From Caregiver Angela:
This past week has brought some very wintery weather to middle Tennessee, so much so that it feels as if your nose may freeze off while driving around on the 4 wheeler! Intermittent days of sunshine have helped, and the Girls always take full advantage. After they eat breakfast in the warm barn, they head outside pretty early to find their morning hay left in the habitat by Caregivers.
Last time around, the weekly discussion centered around miss Flora, as the documentary had just been shown on the OWN network. This week, I'd like to highlight her roommate, Tange. Although she doesn't have a film based on her life, Tange is every bit as noteworthy as her sister. Tange and Zula, as most know, were brought over from Africa when they were babies, and luckily had each other growing up for company and security. Tange is a good friend to any sister in her herd, and Flora is learning, as years go by, to appreciate the companionship of her own kind in Tange.
Even with Flora's tendency to dominate those around her, Tange (as in her relationship with Zula) finds her groove as the subordinate, but keeps her personality fully intact. Her wonderful qualities come out daily, and Maddie and I love seeing her playful side most of all. Whether it's inside the barn or out in the yard, Tange can put you in stitches with her antics. We have mentioned her night feed playfulness before, and it never gets old…No matter what time the clock says, Tange's clock is always set on "fun", and that's what we go with. She is a master mud wallow digger, and she is amazing in her flexibility every time she gets serious about the mud-play. She bends and twists her body and trunk in ways you wouldn't think possible, but she has made it an art form.
During training sessions, we are sometimes interrupted when one of our barn cats decides to come and visit. Pretty much any time this happens, the kitty is too close for Tange's liking. She will be calm and attentive one minute, and the next she moves away from the training wall as her eyes get huge and she wheels around in the direction of the feline intruder. She usually moves quickly up to the fence nearest the cat and runs her trunk out as she bends way down in front, as if to say, "Shooo!" It always works, and Smidgel high-tails it into the pine woods nearby. We all know the kitty is harmless, but Tange wants to make sure the CAT knows where not to be…and that is in her space. As soon as she has taken care of business, she returns to the training session in an, "Okay, where were we?" manner.
Tange seems to move through life as a happy girl, always glad to see Caregivers approach, and we are almost always greeted with her "clicky percolator" noises. Her trumpets are most often the ones that pierce the night air when 10pm feed is done in warmer weather and we have to go searching for them on 4 wheelers (on the access road along the exterior perimeter of the habitat). I love those times, and once in a while there is a special, quiet moment with Tange before Flora catches up, appearing from out of the black of night behind her, and then the twirling and trumpeting is on.
It's for certain, no matter how cold the days and nights may get around here, Tange can warm you up from the inside out, just by looking at you with her big maple-syrup brown eyes.