November 7, 2011
In Asia, Tarra has spent most of the past two days socializing with her sister elephants, which brings smiles to the faces of her Caregivers. Tarra left the area of Bella's grave sometime Saturday evening, according to Caregiver Suz, and spent a good portion of the night with Shirley. Tarra continued to keep company with the grand matriarch as they grazed together for several hours on Sunday. When Shirley lay down to nap in the sunshine that afternoon, Tarra set off to explore her surroundings in typical Tarra fashion. That evening, Tarra socialized near the barn with Sis and Winks, and then ate dinner close to them, finishing their leftover hay.
Over in Africa, Flora and Tange have been moving around a lot and visiting places they haven't ventured to in quite a while. They have spent time up at the Pipeline over the past few days when it was sunny and warmer, and have also been browsing down in the North Woods Valley. Tange's excitement at her 10pm feeding never fails to make her Caregivers laugh, no matter how tired they may be. Flora watches from her stalls nearby, but chooses to remain poised despite Tange's playful night time antics. Tange's large eyes become even bigger as she spins around her stalls, flinging dust and sometimes chasing a pigeon that has landed too close for her liking. Last week, Caregivers Laurie and Angela watched as Tange started her favorite evening routine of rejoicing. She puts her face down on the floor, bracing her tusks as she buckles her front legs and goes down to her knees. Then it seems Tange tries to get even lower with her front end, and her rump goes up high in the air. One back foot raises high as well, while her tail flags out behind her. Her late-night celebrations have become a welcome comic relief for the Caregivers after the tragedy of losing Bella.
Observes Caregiver Angela from Africa, "Days go by, and we are all still unexpectedly reminded of the passing of Bella at random moments. As has happened in the past when we lose an elephant, everyone is affected by the loss. You don't have to be a…Caregiver for an animal here to feel the empty spot left behind, even by a little white dog. Whether 10,000 lbs. or 40 lbs, the void is there. The heart can ache as much for the little lives as the large ones, and I have put up a little picture of Bella, sitting in the sunshine, in the Africa barn office. Although right now the smile it brings is accompanied by a bit of sadness, over time there will just be a smile, and thankfulness for such an amazing little soul to have stopped by here on her journey."