March 21, 2011
One morning, caregivers came in to find both Debbie and Minnie sleeping in the barn. Ronnie, on the other hand, was wide-awake—practically standing on top of Debbie. Caregivers went about their duties quietly, wanting to give the ladies a few more minutes to rest before breakfast. However, this plan of allowing her friends to sleep didn't agree with Miss Ronnie at all. Within a few minutes, Ronnie walked over to one of the safety boundary chains, grabbed some of the slack and started banging it loudly against the bars, turning herself into a giant alarm clock. Minnie and Debbie woke up in a hurry and breakfast was served. So much for sleeping in!
In Africa, Tange and Flora have spent the last week up on the Pipeline amongst the thinning grove of pine trees. For some reason, they both really seem to like it up there. Perhaps because it is quiet and the warmth of the pine forest is much cozier on chilly nights. Or maybe it's because they like to be near the valley and its abundance of browse. As humans, we can only speculate why the elephants make these choices. Our satisfaction is in knowing they have all these options available to them and the freedom to make these decisions on their own.
Even when they stay in one area for days on end, Tange and Flora are still on the move, constantly exploring and searching for vegetation. From the back of the barn, caregivers can often see them (or just hear them) pushing down trees and browsing in the valley. Tange will sometimes spend up to 30 minutes dismembering one tree that she has pushed down, while Flora likes to split her time between many trees, getting a little taste of each.