Holiday Enrichment

The season of holiday enrichment is upon us—and as always, The Sanctuary’s dedicated Caregivers got creative to make the elephants’ habitats festive and fun.


African elephants Tange, Flora, and Sukari received holiday “stockings”—mazuri bags stuffed with hay and produce.  Caregivers enjoyed watching them rip each stocking apart to discover surprises within. Although the holiday weekend was a rainy one, the Africans seemed not to notice, and were off exploring their muddy habitat. When not moving from place to place, all three were spotted napping together.


Nosey’s Caregivers set up a Holiday tree decorated with edible ornaments. They also made two medium sized reindeer from logs, tree branches and pine cones. Nosey walked up to the tree, ate a few dried orange slices, then thoroughly smelled one of the reindeer, wrapping her trunk around its head. She then pushed the tree over to finish the goodies, crushing one of the reindeer in the process. When she noticed the second reindeer, she knocked the head off with her trunk and then continued eating.


Tarra also received a holiday tree that staff decorated with edible decorations and paper snowflakes. Underneath was a reindeer made of logs, which the Caregivers named “Rudolph". Tarra ate the decorations off the tree then knocked it down and pushed it into the pond. She knocked “Rudolph" over and took one of the twig legs. Tarra spent the next hour walking around with the twig, digging and scraping at the dirt with it—and Caregivers found the reindeer twig in the barn the next morning.

Along with her special holiday log reindeer, Shirley received a bright and colorful Santa. The Santa body was a red hay ball stuffed with hay and other goodies and the head was a pumpkin. When Shirley came out of the barn to find her holiday surprise enrichment, she reached up and knocked the pumpkin head off with her trunk and then pulled the red hay ball off the tire it was sitting on. Caregivers watched as Shirley proceeded to eat everything, completely ignoring the reindeer until the very end when she pushed it over and ate the twig antlers.

Sissy, Billie, Ronnie, Minnie, and Debbie discovered surprises throughout the holiday weekend. Caregivers made sure there was hay and select produce strewn in all their favorite places. Sissy was seen busily munching contentedly near the barn while Minnie, Debbie and Ronnie traveled in the far 60 and Billie covered the wooded hillside. Returning to the barns all the elephants found fresh cut browse and bamboo filling the stalls.

Minnie and Ronnie

CrowdRise Holiday Charity Challenge

Between now and January 2, we will be working hard to reach our goal of $500,000 through Crowdrise’s Holiday Charity Challenge.

With your support, we have a chance to win a Grand Prize of $100,000 (1st Place) to help provide Home, Herd, and Individualized Care to aging captive elephants. 

We're currently in 2nd place—Your support will help keep us at the top of the leaderboard!

Make a year-end, tax-deductible gift by midnight, December 31. Give Now!

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