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November 17, 2007


The day before Jaime and Angie, Maggie's keepers, departed, we decided to take Maggie up to the rugged habitat above the barn and introductory area. Our goal was to evaluate her ability to navigate the steeper areas and to provide her with some muscle building exercise.

Ed & I led 71, Mara, Lulu and Ruby up one side of the fence line, and Jaime and Angie led Maggie up the other side. Maggie stayed close to the other elephants as she made her way up the hill, and they followed in single file on the other side. Maggie was quite agile on the very steep terrain, stopping to dust and graze along the way.

When we reached the top, 71's group stayed by the fence next to Maggie, rumbling, dusting, grazing and throwing sticks at the audacious blackbirds who follow the trail of elephant poop, a delicacy for blackbird palates. Maggie stayed very close to them and was reluctant to leave when Jaime and Angie called her away to explore the large habitat, inaccessible to the others until they are properly socialized with her.

After much coaxing, Maggie left the fence and ventured farther into the brushy area following her keepers in her first walk on the wild side. They covered the entire area and Maggie climbed up and down hills, attacked her first big tree and rolled in the lush dirt under the oaks, tusking the ground and throwing her trunk in the air.

On the way back, Maggie began searching for the other elephants who had moved far out into the adjacent habitat. Maggie rumbled as she moved swiftly back to the gate and the others responded noisily. The greetings, roars and deep rumbles and trumpets, resounded across the mountain when Maggie reached the fence line and her new buddies.

That evening, we opened the gate to the hallway, and Maggie slept next to Mara all night. She is undoubtedly ready to join the others, but elephant greetings and reunions are quite physical with a lot of pushing and shoving, especially when they are out in a large space. If  Ruby or Mara pushed Maggie down a hill, she might not be strong enough to rally quickly.

We filmed Maggie's adventure since the web cam doesn't reach the upper area. The video and stills are up on our web page. DVD's of Maggie and the group may be available soon, check our web page for more information.



Click Here to View Maggie's Walk on the Wild Side Video!



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Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

(209) 745-2606 office/shelter
(209) 745-1809 fax

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