May 29, 2015
Room to Roam
Now that all of the Asia Girls have ventured out to the far expanses of the habitat, Caregivers have noticed familiar travel patterns emerging. Sissy and Winkie are bouncing around the areas known as “Dr. Scott’s,” “Marcella’s” (named after a longtime volunteer and Sanctuary friend), and the “Second Pipeline.”
While Asian (and African) elephants generally enjoy time in and around water, Sissy has been somewhat of an exception. After she survived the massive flooding of her zoo home in 1981, her keepers noticed that she seemed uneasy when it rained, and when around water in general. While this behavior trend continued after she arrived at Sanctuary in 2000, with some encouragement from her new “herd,” Sissy began crossing the streams of Asia Habitat. Eventually, she began to splash herself and would even take dips in the Habitat’s ponds.
However, she still seemed wary when it came to getting washed with a hose by Caregivers. The other elephants will display excitement when offered a spray-down with the hose –turning in circles, opening their mouths to take a drink, catching water with their trunk and spraying it on themselves– but usually not Sissy.
In The Sanctuary’s Protected Contact (PC, or positive reinforcement) management system, elephants are encouraged to approach PC corrals located throughout their habitat, where Care and Vet staff provide routine veterinary and preventative care. During these training exercises, elephants are free to disengage if they like—and for Sissy, she’s usually chosen to walk away whenever a hose bath was offered her. But this past Sunday, she stuck around! She showed no signs of apprehension or uneasiness during her spray-down…another breakthrough for Sissy.
Also at Asia Habitat, elephants Tarra and Shirley have been covering a lot of ground – “business as usual” for these two during the warmer months of the year.
Shirley and Tarra have been traveling back and forth between “North Trough” and areas adjacent to the Asia Habitat’s 25-acre lake. Although their walking “schedule” often takes them to different parts of the habitat at different times, EleCams help us (and our supporters!) keep track of them: We’ve noticed they’re often meeting up with one another to socialize out at “Left Field.
In recent weeks, Misty has mostly chosen to remain close to the Asia Barn…but if last year was any indication, she could head out to the lake any day now. Stay tuned to the EleCams to keep up with all of the Girls’ movements!
Over at Q, Minnie’s been seeking out the shade of the habitat’s wooded areas, while Billie’s been spotted in and around Q’s pond. Debbie and Ronnie have been leaving the barn at night to explore and forage, but along with Liz, Ronnie is currently experiencing seasonal allergies (related to spring grasses), so she’s mostly staying by the barn. Debbie, ever loyal to Ronnie, hasn’t yet wandered very far in order to be nearer her closest companion.
And at Africa Barn & Habitat, elephants Flora and Tange got to discover a new enrichment device this week: donated tires and firehose, cobbled together to make a hay-feeder.
Tange and Flora’s inspection of the device began soon after installation.
“Flora was quite spirited in her attempts to tusk and dislodge the tires from the fence,” said Caregiver Greg. “Now every time she walks by it, she gives it a swift tusking for good measure.”