July 30, 2015

Beating the Heat

It’s been a very hot July here at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, so the resident elephants have been adapting their behavior to better suit their individual comfort levels in the heat. Their 2700-acre natural habitat offers plenty of ways to stay cool.

In Asia Habitat’s Left and Right Field, three new mud wallows have appeared. As Tarra and Shirley are the most frequent visitors to this area, Caregivers assumed they were responsible for digging the wallows, although no one had spotted them in the mud (in-person, or on EleCams). One evening while delivering hay and produce, though, Caregiver Nicole gives an eyewitness account: “Shirley had both front feet in the wallow, and was splashing around with her trunk. She stared at us for a little bit, then backed out of the wallow and dusted herself for a few minutes. We finally were able to grab a photo while she had both feet in.” 

This month, Shirley celebrated both her 67th birthday and the 16th anniversary of her arrival in Tennessee. On July 18th, The Sanctuary’s Welcome Center in downtown Hohenwald hosted a well-attended program to honor these milestones for “Shirley Girl.”


Sissy and Winkie are spending much of their daytime hours occupying the tree-lined areas of Asia Habitat’s “Second Pipeline.” As they keep cool, EleCam viewers can often spy just a foot or a trunk protruding from the shade.

Sissy and Winkie
Sissy and Winkie did return to the barn for a foot-care session one afternoon,
providing Caregivers
with this photo opp.

Meanwhile over at Africa, Tange hasn’t slowed down on her use of the Habitat’s new mud-wallow. Even when Flora ventured deeper into the Africa habitat, Tange stayed by the mud, reuniting with her companion only when Flora would return to the barn area. The excavated dirt from creating the new mud-wallow remains in a nearby pile, providing Tange with an additional opportunity for enrichment:

Finally, over at Q Habitat, Debbie and Ronnie have also been discovering a new mud-wallow this week…courtesy of The Sanctuary’s Facilities crew and equipment purchased through generous donations made to our Big Machines for Big Girls campaign for The Big Payback 2015. A recent rain-shower provided just enough water to entice the Girls into the mud.

Ronnie (L) and Debbie
Ronnie (L) and Debbie

Debbie and Ronnie have also been spotted up in the hills of areas Care staff have dubbed “Castle Gate” and “South Gate,” which are heavily wooded and –important for the Girls’ comfort this time of year– very well shaded.

Ronnie in the foreground; Debbie at rear.
Ronnie in the foreground, Debbie at rear.


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