March 15, 2010

Debbie and Ronnie were nowhere to be seen on Thursday morning. The caregiver squinted into the trees of their habitat (as Deb and Ron definitely like to go “hiking”). When the two couldn’t be found in any of the usual places, it was time to broaden the search area. What a pleasant surprise it was to find them near the entrance to the South Gate habitat. The gate couldn’t be opened for them at this time, with all the fence construction going on, but they were content to stay on one side. The caregiver brought them hay throughout the day as they were napping among the fallen leaves. After recent loud thunderstorms, perhaps they just wanted a little peace and quiet.

Ronnie and Debbie

To break up the silent tranquility of Africa at the Sanctuary, a little landscaping was in order on this particular day. In Africa, elephants are known as the "Savannah Makers." Flora, in keeping with her heritage, decided she would remove some cypress bushes, pine trees and tidy up the wood pile. The wood pile was easy enough, kick the logs into place. However, the trees were not cooperating at all. Flora readied herself, ears out with trunk down and got a running start charging the small cypress bush from the left, then the right, plowing at it with her head, swinging at it with her tail, even giving it a couple of mighty kicks with her back leg. The bush kept bouncing back up. Flora kept this up until she conquered the lil' cypress. Then she focused on the small pine tree. Again, with ears out she got a running start to knock it over with one hit. But this pine was not giving in that easily, it bounced right back into position. After a few hits, kicks, very loud trumpets and even a soft trunk inspection, Flora must have decided that it was indeed, the perfect spot for that particular tree. Check the African Diary later this week for a video of "Flora's Bouncing Trees."

Mid-week, the New Asian Barn received loads of gravel for our main vehicular road. That may not seem like "elephant news", but our ladies love large vehicles. The first set of trucks came while the girls were being fed in the barn first thing in the morning. Even at quite a distance and out of the girls access area, the truck engines lent a gentle vibration to the floor of the barn. This was met with many different vocalizations and every elephant running to her sister to share in the excitement. Tarra left her food and ran over to Shirley, tail out, barking the whole way. Both Sissy and Winkie left their food to meet up with each other, exchanging touches, smells, and happy noises. Dulary and Misty were already right next to each other as usual, but had to do a little spinning and ear flapping of their own. This excitement in the barn lasted for about 5 minutes until the trucks drove slowly away and then everyone returned to their diets. About an hour later, Misty and Dulary felt the rumble of trucks again. The ladies were in the south yard when the trucks returned to commence with laying gravel on an area of the road even further away. Initially Misty and Dulary were on their way to Delhi’s yard, but they stopped and bolted half way down the hill, with Misty spinning, tail out when they got there. They both stood watching the trucks at a distance, while rumbling, sticking their trunks out, and smelling in that direction. The ladies seemed to have mellowed as the trucks drove away. However, when the large forms disappeared over the second hill, the girls went running into Delhi’s yard trumpeting and barking, seemingly to make sure that their caregiver also saw the shiny, noisy, rumbling vehicles which had just left.

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