July 11, 2011
At Q-Barn, Debbie and Ronnie seem to be spending less of their daytime in the South Habitat, coming down much earlier than normal to wait at the back of the barn for a chance to spend time with Minnie. Once the door is opened, they're gone in mere minutes. It's wonderful to see their interactions with Minnie going so well. They are eager to join her, and also eager for new pastures to graze, of course! We've finally been able to turn Deb and Ron's tendency to wait at the back of the barn during the summer months into something positive. In the past, if they were led away with hay, they would simply come back in 15 to 20 minutes. Letting them in with Minnie has changed all that. Now, they don't return until later in the afternoon, which leaves us the perfect amount of time to get some PC training in.
The girls at the new Asian barn have been holding their own this week. Misty's appetite has almost returned to normal, so she's working on putting back on any weight she may have lost while being sick. Dulary is still picky, not eating with the enthusiasm she used to, but her appetite has been stable. She prefers 10 pm feed, when the flies are gone and the temperatures are much kinder. When we see her return to eating her grain (or Misty's), versus throwing it on herself, things will be back to normal.
Sissy is still the one who struggles here and there. She enjoys the addition of calf manna to her diet (starting with smaller amounts so as to not upset her stomach and make her feel worse again) and she has been following the four wheeler for meals—albeit slowly at times—but her appetite is far from normal. We still do not see Sissy eating hay, but she is happy with her grain, and selective with her produce. Sissy continues to hydrate well, and is venturing further down the north road towards the pipeline with Winkie – which is a good sign.
With many thanks, Shirley, Tarra and Winkie still appear perfectly fine. Winkie's weight gain is evidence of her healthy appetite (she is helping herself to the food that Sissy is leaving behind), and the other morning, Tarra was hungry enough to cross through the dividing tree line and up an embankment to try and steal some of Shirley's breakfast. Sometimes Shirley obliges, but this morning she was having none of it, so Tarra settled for grabbing a flake or two of hay.
In Africa, Tange and Flora continue to do well in their PC training sessions. Flora is much more comfortable and relaxed during training, whereas Tange still tends to be a bit cautious in her movements. She is making great strides lately, however, and we are very happy with the direction we're going. Step by step, little by little, the light bulbs seem to go off and the Girls "get it" much more quickly than they did back in the beginning.
We used the Plateau training wall for the first time the other day. Some adjustments had to be made to allow for Miss Flora's height, and improvements were made to make the footing comfortable and even for both the elephants and the Caregivers on the other side. Even Tange, who is often distracted by watching for Flora's whereabouts, was comfortable enough to do several behaviors and relax while presenting her ear through the ear hole. Still not all the way, but we're getting there! It has been positive for everyone thus far, and we look forward to the progress we'll make in the coming months.