More New Introductions
The past several weeks have seen many milestones in the socialization of the African herd. It was only a few weeks ago that long-term resident Tange, and the Habitat’s newest resident, Sukari, shared the same space for the first time. The two elephants spent several hours in close proximity while quietly observing one another in the Habitat’s 12-acre South Yard. The somewhat uneventful introduction was exactly what Staff hoped for—and showed Caregivers that an introduction between Tange and Rosie—who was retired from the Nashville Zoo with Sukari in November 2015—may be in order.
Though the two have shared a fence line, they have never shared the same habitat area—a new development that could mean the formation of social bonds between the elephants as well as expanded access to more habitat areas as shared space.
To prepare for this introduction, Staff first allowed Rosie to become familiar with the South Yard habitat. Because of Rosie’s documented mobility issues stemming from not having full use of her right leg, Caregivers wanted to be sure she could navigate the South Yard’s more strenuous environment, which includes hills and valleys. Rosie’s visits to South Yard were spread out over several days so Staff could monitor the development of any soreness or stiffness. Caregivers observed Rosie climbing hills, walking down in a small valley, and stepping over numerous trees in her path. Rosie showed no signs that the extra exercise caused her any issues, and so plans moved forward with the introductions.
When the time came for introductions, Tange was given the opportunity to enter the South Yard first, and then Rosie followed. Tange walked over to Rosie and the two shared space by the water trough and began mudding together. After 30 minutes, Rosie and Tange went separate ways in the shared space, at which point Sukari was granted access to the South Yard to join them. After a little while, all three elephants were observed foraging together, and Rosie and Sukari touched trunks. “It was an awesome moment to watch, and very satisfying to Africa Staff,” said Lead Caregiver Kristy.
Staff look forward to sharing more updates in future EleNotes.
Watch Rosie, Tange, and Sukari together in Africa’s South Habitat: