September 11, 2015
Happy Anniversary Winkie!
Saturday, Sept 12th, is the 15-year anniversary of Winkie's arrival at The Elephant Sanctuary. Winkie was born in Burma (now Myanmar) in 1966 and taken from the wild at one year of age. She spent the next 34 years on exhibit at at a zoo in Madison, Wisconsin.
When Winkie arrived at The Sanctuary, she quickly bonded with Sissy whose own arrival preceded Winkie's by nine months. The two "new" elephants quickly established a strong social bond, and they have remained one another's closest companion ever since. They spend most of their time along the "2nd Pipeline" and "Dr. Scott's Pond" areas of the habitat where they are regular fixtures on the EleCam. One day last week, Caregiver Kaitlin was working inside the Asia Barn, and could see Winkie in the adjoining area of the habitat. She noticed that Winkie was dusting herself more vigorously that usual. Caregiver Kaitlin explains:
I walked over closer to the fence nearer to where Winkie was dusting away. It appeared that Winkie was trying to "shoo" a very persistent fly that kept landing on her head. Not satisfied with the results of the dirt throwing, Winking picked up a small rock and lobbed it at her own head in the vicinity of the fly. She repeated this several times. The rock eventually landed perfectly on top of her head and stayed there. Winkie threw a couple more trunk-fulls of dirt on her head and back, then she shook all the dirt off. The rock fell from her head also. Winkie then picked up the rock and gently handed it to me through the fence. It was a nice little gift.
Elsewhere in the Asia Habitat: Tarra, Misty, and Shirley have all been frequently spotted at the Asia Habitat's 25-acre lake over the course of the past few weeks, and the nearby Elecam has been able to record many of these visits to share with the public. Watch the video below:
At the Africa Habitat, it has been business as usual for Tange and Flora. They are constantly on the move from one end of the habitat to the other, moving from the areas nearer the barn down into the valleys and up to the pipeline area and then back again. Caregiver Greg noticed that Flora had been focusing a lot of attention on one particular tree over the course of the past month, "Flora would push against this tree every time she walked past. She couldn't walk by it without giving it a good shove.
Well, time finally caught up to the tree…it went down, and Flora came out victorious.
While Sanctuary staff and supporters are still mourning the loss of Liz, it is encouraging to see that Billie has been traveling farther out into the Q Habitat. Care staff have observed Billie and Minnie in close proximity to one another on several occasions and are hopeful that a new social relationship will develop between the two. One recent afternoon, Caregiver Brianna was alerted by the sound of splashing and walked over to the fence to get a view of the pond tucked away in a shaded corner of the Q habitat. "Billie seemed unconcerned with my presence. She was just splashing around in the pond enjoying herself."
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