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MAGGIE IS LEARNING TO BE A CALIFORNIA GIRL
November 10, 2007
After a week of meeting new friends and exploring new areas, Maggie is settling into her California routine. All of the elephants seem to like her, although Mara is definitely the most curious about her when they are outside. Inside the barn, Lulu spends most of her time at the end of the hall nearest to Maggie, and Lulu was the first to touch trunks with her inside the barn.
We have received many questions which we will try to answer as quickly as possible. It is difficult for those of us who spend our days with the elephants to find time to sort through email and reply. Our office staff does not spend time with the elephants, so their responses lack the detail which has been requested and, occasionally, demanded.
Maggie’s introduction to the others is proceeding at a normal pace. Socialization of unrelated elephants is a complicated and dangerous process which varies with individual elephants. In Ruby’s case, she was physically capable of dealing with normal pushing and shoving so she moved out very quickly; Lulu was psychologically inhibited and took a long time to overcome her fear of the other elephants. Each elephant is different; some prefer staying with one or two companions while others enjoy group activity.
Maggie needs a few more weeks of climbing hills to develop some muscle tone before she is exposed to the very rowdy and physical process of integrating into the group. Meanwhile, they are developing their relationships by touching and vocalizing, moving away and returning, while inhabiting the same area.
Maggie’s personality is a nice complement to the group. Because she has spent most of her time with people, she has developed a strong, almost demanding attitude which works well with 71, Mara and Ruby who might try to push her around. Her vocalizations are quite expressive, especially at night when they all move into the barn. The noise is often deafening.
We are certain that she will integrate into the group at the proper time, and sorry that our web cam does not access some of the areas above the barn, especially the big mud hole and some of the brushy areas which are a favored spot. Maggie is more comfortable, moving all over her area and grazing quite a bit, so viewing may become sporadic at those times. The trip and changes in her diet have not affected her adversely which is a great relief to all of us.
71, Mara, Ruby and Lulu have accepted Maggie already, so the transition to having her out with them without barriers should not be difficult, but caution is always prudent. Maggie has waited many years for new companions and warm sunshine; we want her to enjoy her new home without the pressure of a timetable.
ASIAN ELEPHANT UPDATE
Winky, Wanda, Minnie, Rebecca and Annie are no longer visible on the web cam since it is always focused on the Africans and their new friend. Minnie and Rebecca have moved their napping area over closer to the Africans so they can watch the activity, and Annie occasionally stands gazing in Maggie’s direction; Winky and Wanda remain impervious to the new neighbor.
Winky & Wanda have visitors from Detroit this week, so all the Asian girls are sharing in the special attention and treats that always come when their former keepers arrive. Angel and Patty could not have arrived at a better time; we were all worried that Winky would feel neglected with everyone spending so much time with the Africans!
Ed and I were relief keepers for Nicholas and Gypsy this week in Galt, and we had our first good rainfall. The two elephants slipped and slid down the hill, rolling in the delicious red clay mud, throwing sticks and trumpeting. Those two really know how to have fun!
(209) 745-2606 office/shelter
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