March 14, 2015

Signs of Hope; Signs of Spring…

Staff are mourning the loss of Frieda, while Caregivers at Q are watching Liz and Billie closely, giving them some special attention during this difficult time.

Now that one special part of their “threesome” is gone, Care staff are watching to see how Billie and Liz’s social dynamic will evolve. But some hopeful behavioral signs did emerge this week: “On a handful of occasions, Liz has ‘touched’ Billie—a gesture we’ve not seen before, as it’s normally just Billie that will touch Liz,” said Caregiver Diana. “As Billie has a history of displaying dominance toward Liz, this could be a milestone in their relationship.”

Frieda, Billie, and Liz at Q Barn & Habitat
Frieda, Billie, and Liz at Q Barn & Habitat

All the Q Girls are getting used to a new routine –one that sadly won’t include Frieda– and so will need time to heal. After losing her dear friend, Liz has been choosing to take some space, spending time on her own. “She’s been spotted standing very still and doing her ‘call’ rumble when out in the habitat,” said Q’s Lead Caregiver, Justina. “She’ll then turn 90 degrees and rumble once more. Care staff would usually hear this vocalization whenever Liz was calling for Frieda; upon hearing this call, Frieda, Liz, and Billie would then have one of their ‘grand reunions.’”

While the two elephants have also been seen venturing out into the habitat together, grazing in close proximity to one another, Billie’s also been generous in allowing Liz to have some space—often choosing to hang back in closer proximity to the barn while Liz is out in the habitat.

Liz
Liz

Over at Asia Habitat, with recent warmer temperatures and sunshine, the Girls have been napping in the habitat-yards adjacent to their barn. You may have spotted Shirley, Sissy, and Misty enjoying naptime in the daylight hours via our EleCam system (now live-streaming in High Definition!)…while Tarra and Winkie have mostly preferred to go exploring further away from the barn.

Tarra sunbathing on a snowy day.
Tarra sunbathing on a snowy day.

Finally, this week’s signs of spring had Flora and Tange inspired to spend their days (and a few nights, even!) out in the Habitat, returning only for their “dinner”—a nice change from the colder, snowy conditions Tennessee’s experienced recently.

Tange Soaks up some sun rays
Tange soaks up some sun rays on a snow-covered plateau at Africa Habitat.

The warmer weather also came with some heavy rains, which meant a lot of mud for elephants to dig into! Lately, the African Girls have been wandering into the valleys of the Africa Habitat, as something [Caregivers aren’t quite sure what!] seems to be piquing their interest down there…

Flora
Flora has been exploring the valleys of Sanctuary's Africa Habitat.