Valentine's Day at The Sanctuary
All 14 elephants living at The Sanctuary received personalized "Valentines" from Caregivers. The different enrichment packages (feed bags decorated with non-toxic fingerpaint) included not only messages from the Caregivers (as you can see), but also edible treats such as white chocolate chips, strawberries, hay, and nutritional supplements. Some of the elephants seemed more interested in their Valentines than others. Shirley, Misty, and Tarra quickly ripped apart the "hearts" and helped themselves to the tasty contents.
In addition to the hearts, Sissy and Winkie discovered a large elephant "Cupid" hanging from a tree in their habitat. While Sissy was preoccupied with her heart, Winkie went straight for Cupid. Winkie seems to really enjoy paper treats, so after a couple of sniffs and trunk touches, Cupid was ripped apart and devoured. Using the "Sissy Smash" method (stomping on the paper vessel and then banging it against the ground with her trunk), Sissy was quickly able to separate the heart from its contents and helped herself to her treats.
March 3rd is the arrival anniversary for two of The Sanctuary's elephants. Tarra, the founding elephant and inspiration for The Sanctuary, arrived on March 3rd, 1995. Flora, the third African elephant to retire to The Sanctuary, arrived on March 3rd, 2004. They have a lot in common! Both elephants were born in the wild and imported into the United States at young ages. Both were featured in various circuses, films, commercials, print media, etc. Both were owned by individuals who came to realize that the performing life was not the best life for the elephants. Both now spend their retirement in natural habitat, choosing how to spend their time and socializing with their respective herds. Tarra now shares the 2,200-acre Asia Habitat with four other Asian elephants: Shirley, Misty, Sissy, and Winkie. Tarra is often observed socializing with all four, to the point that Caregivers refer to her as The Sanctuary's "social butterfly." Flora shares the 300-acre Africa Habitat with Tange, Sukari, Rosie, and Hadari. Tange arrived ad The Sanctuary just weeks before Flora, so they have been companions for twelve years now. Viewers of the Africa EleCam can often see Flora pushing the pine trees, sometimes even felling them and then eating the bark.