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Nicholas and Gypsy Make Their Final Move to Ark 2000

Watch Nicholas and Gypsy's move to ARK 2000:

Nicholas and Gypsy's move to their new home was originally planned for Saturday, November 22. Bob Barker flew in on Friday to observe the move with his friend and ours, Nancy Burnet, an elegant lady who has lobbied tirelessly over the years for elephants and many other animals.

Bob Barker's financial commitment, and his support, funded a major portion of the costs incurred in construction of the bull barn. Habitat construction will continue until the large area allocated for the young bull and his companion, Gypsy, is complete.

At 4:00 a.m. on the day of the move, the overnight elephant keeper reported that Lulu, our 42-year-old African elephant, had slipped and fallen in her stall and seemed unable to stand. Within minutes, senior elephant keeper, Tom Alteri, PAWS' veterinarian Dr. Mel Richardson, and Pat Derby arrived at the African elephant barn to discover Lulu in a compromised position on the floor. After several attempts to assist her failed, a huge crane was summoned and the entire elephant crew — including Jeff Kinzley and two keepers from Oakland Zoo, who came to help move Nicholas & Gypsy — were harnessing Lulu with straps so the crane could lift her. Lulu remained relatively calm during the whole procedure, eating hay off the bales that were used to stabilize her position.

By 9:00 a.m. Lulu was on her feet charging the lifesaving crane and displaying no ill effects. She ran out into the habitat with the other elephants complaining noisily about her ordeal as they bunched around her, rumbling and trumpeting their indignation.

Everyone involved in the move decided that dealing with Lulu had provided more than enough excitement for the day, and the move was postponed to Sunday, November 23. Bob Barker and Nancy Burnet spent the day with the elephants and their keepers watching Maggie charm Mara and Ruby into sharing their portion of the special treats that were served to them in celebration of their benefactor's visit, while Lulu munched on hay, standing close to her friends, probably fearing a return of the crane.

Early the next day, just after all the elephants had moved out to the habitats, Gail, Margaret and Brian, our top elephant transporters, called Pat to tell her that Gypsy was in the truck and on her way to ARK 2000. The crew had decided to move the two elephants separately for the short distance and Gypsy was the first to arrive. She backed out of the truck and spent the day exploring her new home, standing on the rocks and pulling branches off the trees as Bob Barker and a small group of friends watched her delightful antics. Pat Derby spent the day feeding Gypsy her favorite treats as they waited for Nicholas.

Nicholas arrived at 4:00 p.m. after an uneventful ride. As soon as the truck pulled in, Gypsy began rumbling with delight knowing Nicholas was there. When the gates were opened and the two elephants were reunited after their very brief separation, there were many teary eyes watching their joy at being together again, and the noise from Nic and Gypsy was deafening. Nicholas moved about rumbling deeply as Gypsy followed, trumpeting every few minutes. Happily, our closest neighbor was there to greet them, or she might have been alarmed at the noise emanating from the reunion.

The noise ensued through most of the night until the two finally laid down to sleep early in the morning. Bob Barker came over to say a final goodbye before departing for Los Angeles, and Gypsy bellowed a few trumpets in farewell.

With the barn and small yard complete, and Nicholas and Gypsy settled into their new home. Construction of the bull elephant fence around the huge habitat will begin this week, and the annex to the bull barn has been ordered. It will accommodate Ned and other bulls who need a home.

To learn more about Ned and other bull elephants, or to donate to PAWS' “Save The Bulls” campaign, please click here.

Pat Derby talks about the latest captive wildlife news at PAWS.

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