First, let me say Happy New Year to everyone! Since Jewel’s dental procedure (see post An Elephant Goes to the Dentist…), we have had a lot going on around the Conrad Prebys Elephant Care Center at the San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey. Jewel and her best buddy, Tina, spend most of their days out in Yard 2 (not visible to the public) or Yard 3 (near the Elephant Care Center). Tina, always the bold explorer, easily moves around the new areas investigating everything, while Jewel is more cautious and takes her time. By the third day, they both moved around Yard 3 with comfort. On January 6, they got to spend their first day exploring Yard 1 (the largest area with the pool). Having acclimated to other yards, they both seemed comfortable fairly quickly. Tina even stepped into the pool and splashed around a bit.
Besides exploring their Elephant Odyssey home, they continue to spend fence time with all the other elephants. Everyone seems to have taken a real liking to Jewel, always approaching her slowly and gently. Since Tina is a bit more spirited, she has the occasional pushing competitions with the other elephants; but in general, everyone gets along great!
Here’s a funny moment that happened recently….Tina and Jewel were in Yard 2 and Ranchipur, our bull elephant, was in Yard 3. Ranchipur made his way to the fence line between the two yards. From my angle, I couldn’t see exactly what happened next, but it has to be one of two things: either Ranchi realized he didn’t know Tina and Jewel, or Tina reached through the cables and touched him. Either way, Ranchi turned and ran like a scared rabbit. So much for the big, tough male image! I have to say that I have never seen him move that fast. This is all part of elephant introductions, and hopefully he will realize Tina and Jewel are pretty and fun to be around.
Please stop by, say hello, and see the girls out in the yards!
Victoria Zahn is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo.