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By: The Elephant Sanctuary

Spring Swims and Anniversaries


Happy Anniversary Hadari!
March 24, 2016 was the six-month anniversary of African elephant Hadari's retirement to The Elephant Sanctuary from the Nashville Zoo where she spent 20 years on exhibit. Hadari's zoo-mates from Nashville, Sukari and Rosie, joined her at The Sanctuary in November. They have access to separate areas of the habitat while learning how to socialize as a herd. They are able to see, smell, and touch each other at the fence-line if they so choose.

Hadari continues to amaze The Sanctuary staff with how quickly she is adapting to retirement. Stephanie DeYoung, Director of Elephant Husbandry at The Sanctuary, says that "watching Hadari transform into a sanctuary elephant has been an incredible experience. When she first arrived, she did not seem to understand that she could make her own choices.  She very quickly figured out she could go wherever she chose. In no time, she discovered the habitat's mud wallows and jumped right in. She was even lying down to sleep in the barn much more quickly than anyone anticipated." Supporters often report watching the Africa EleCam to see Hadari walking down into the wooded South Valley and along the perimeter of her habitat, much farther away from the barn than she ventured last fall. Everything indicates The Sanctuary suits Hadari just fine.

On a sunny day earlier this month, Hadari was given access to the Africa North Habitat (over 40 acres) for the day while Tange and Flora moved to the South Habitat. As the Africa Habitat's fencing renovation progresses, more areas of the habitat will be accessible for all of the elephants.

Shirley's First Spring Swim

Shirley and Tarra
Shirley (L) and Tarra

Last week, the temperature at The Sanctuary crept into the 70s. The EleCam was recording as 67 year-old Shirley eyed the pond near the Asia Barn. Slowly, she made her way to the water's edge and then waded in. She stood knee deep in the water for a few minutes before walking in far enough to nearly submerge herself. It was a short swim, Shirley was only in the water for a few minutes…but it was long enough to dunk her head and shower herself. You can clearly see Shirley lifting her trunk out of the water to breath and to spray herself. Asian elephants are known to spend a lot of their time in the water, the "swims" help remove dry skin and the added buoyancy allows the elephants to move in ways impossible on land due to their size and weight.

Keep watching the EleCams to see who will be the next to go for a swim!

In Memory of Delhi and Frieda
A recent EleNote  told the story of how eleven elephants retired to The Sanctuary between 2003-2006 from the Hawthorn Corporation, an organization that trained and leased elephants to circuses. Last month, we celebrated ten years in The Sanctuary for Debbie, Ronnie, Billie, and Minnie. We would also like to pause to remember two elephants who have passed on.

DelhiDelhi, 1946-2008

Born in India, Delhi was captured at the age of one. She spent the next 56 years in the performing industry. In 2003, she was confiscated from her owners by the USDA due to immediate concerns for her health. The Elephant Sanctuary welcomed Delhi that November. After spending the required amount of time in quarantine, Delhi got to know her new herd. She moved with them to the new Asia habitat in 2006 to make way for more new arrivals from the Hawthorn Corporation. Delhi was very close with Misty, and the two bonded with Dulary upon her arrival in 2007. After five years at The Sanctuary, Delhi passed away at age 62 on March 11th,  2008. You can read tributes to her here.

Frieda, 1966 - 2015

Frieda was captured in Asia at a young age. Decades of performing in circuses followed. She was sold to the Hawthorn Corporation in 1996. Labeled a dangerous elephant, she was kept in isolation from the others in the Hawthorn barn in Illinois. On February 9, 2006, Frieda became the 22nd resident of The Elephant Sanctuary. She soon formed close bonds with Billie and Liz. Frieda became known as the "pathfinder" of the three. She would often lead the way to explore new areas of the habitat and beckon the others to follow with unique roars and "whale" vocalizations. Frieda passed away on March 9th, 2015. You can read the public's tributes here.

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