The Sanctuary’s Africa Habitat recently added a new piece of enrichment equipment— an interactive pulley system designed by The Sanctuary’s dedicated Facilities Team in collaboration with African elephant Caregivers and The Sanctuary’s Husbandry Management Team.
This pulley system is intended to encourage the elephants to engage in natural behaviors. Pulley systems offer a safe way to suspend enrichment items and require elephants to raise their trunk to interact with the enrichment, as they would when foraging in the wild.
The system employs a weighted cable with a hook, and a small motor that is powered by a solar panel. All of the components are hidden inside a metal box that was fabricated with a lock to be easily accessible by staff but safe for the elephants. Staff simply open the box, lower the cable with the motor and change out enrichment items, including hay treat balls, barrels, foraging braids, browse, Christmas trees, and tires.
Sukari has shown the most interest in this new interactive system—although Flora has also been seen utilizing it when fire hose toys and browse is attached to the pulley. Tange has yet to show much interest, but Care Staff believe that as she continues observes her habitat-mates, she’ll begin to engage with the pulley herself.