Elephant Rush!

Posted at 9:36 am July 2, 2010 by Rick Schwartz

Moya and her son, with Kami (left) and Litsemba

Most of the time when we think of the word “rush,” we don’t think of fun; instead, the word brings to mind being in a hurry (or in a panic!). “Elephant Rush” at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park is quite different, yet there is one similarity. The big difference is how much fun you will have: you can’t help but smile. The similarity? The elephants are indeed in a hurry!

As you know, our keepers offer fun and interesting enrichment for the elephants every day. However, what you may not know is that now, every day right before 11 in the morning, the keepers finish placing all of the enrichment out into the elephant yard. Then at 11 a.m., the elephants hastily make their way out to play with and explore all of that great enrichment. This has become known as Elephant Rush, and, let me tell you: it is a sight to behold and one you MUST see!

Although we don’t get to enjoy playing like the elephants do, we can get a great view from multiple spots around the Wild Animal Park. As most of you know, the Park’s Elephant Overlook has a great vantage point, but did you know you can see the majority of the yard from the Elephant Viewing Patio just east of Tembo Stadium? There is even some remote viewing as you walk to Kilima Point.

Who has more fun with this daily activity? Well, as much as all of the humans seem to love watching this event, I can honestly say I think the elephants have the most fun. However, I am not sure if the adult elephants or the youngsters are enjoying it most: you’ll have to go see them and try to figure that one out on your own. Between the rolling, playing, exploring, and even swimming, it kind of makes me wish I was an elephant, too!

Rick Schwartz is the San Diego Zoo’s ambassador. Read his previous post, Polar Bear Plunge: Re-Opened!

Watch the Wild Animal Park’s elephants daily on Elephant Cam.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Comments are currently closed. Pinging is not allowed.

31 Responses to “Elephant Rush!”

  1. Connie Jenkins says:

    Keep up the posting on the elephants! They are truly a joy to watch, be it on the Cam or in person.

  2. Roxanne says:

    Can’t wait to see the “Elephant Rush”!!! Is is me or has the Elephant Cam shrunk?????????

    Moderator’s note: It’s the same size, but the page layout is different.

  3. Karen of Chandler says:

    I missed the Elephant Rush today as I was out. I will be sure to watch it tomorrow. I am sure it was fun for the elephants.

  4. Don Stillwell says:

    Camera’s still moving. Are you going to leave it aimed at the pool area so it can be seen at daylight?

  5. Don Stillwell says:

    You say there is no camera operator in the evening. Well, tonight there was an operator and the camera was NOT left aimed to show the pool area where early morning viewers can observe and enjoy the elephants in the morning. Is there a human being, like the one who left the camera where it is, that can get the camera adjusted to allow early morning viewing?

    Moderator’s note: We have volunteers that man the Cam during the day. The Elephant Team also has access to control the Cam at any time. Whether they have time to do that in the early morning is up to them.

  6. Tom says:

    Wow, Lungile is such a good Auntie. She stands guard over the little ones while they tussle.

  7. Susan (UK) says:

    The babies are so much fun to watch, especially in the water. I just watched the Elephant Rush video and loved it.

  8. Marlene says:

    We had a wonderful visit with the elephants yesterday at Wild Animal Park. Thanks to the keepers who answered questions and helped identify them for us. The morning “rush” was way too cute. Checked back in with them later in the day and one silly girl was standing in the pool posing. No words to describe how adorable the babies and the whole herd were. I can’t wait to go back. If there had been benches I would have sat all day and watched them!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Is the website being changed? I can get blogs but not webcams this afternoon. Very frustrating!!

    Moderator’s note: We changed the page layout for Elephant Cam, but not the Cam itself. We are sorry you are having trouble viewing.

  10. Joseph from Illinois says:

    Do you have any info on naming Swazi’s calf?

    Moderator’s note: We’ll post some info soon. Please be patient 😉

  11. Ginny says:

    Loved watching the elephant rush except for the cam moving too much. Will Lungile ever breed again? She’s the only one without a calf of her own.

  12. Grace says:

    I just witnessed some fun splash actions in the pool by one of the adult elephants and one calf. Playing in the water is FUN, especially in the warmer temperatures! Thanks Meerkats for the wonderful camera work!

  13. Karen of Chandler says:

    I am watching the elephants playing in the water and they are having so much fun. I like watching them have loads of fun. It is like the older elephants are sitting on a park bench watching their kids play. I just love it.

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Beautiful shots of the pool party!!!!!

  15. Don Stillwell says:

    That is one fun pool party going on! Swazi’s baby preferred nursing to going into the water, but he finally ventured in with his trunk, then his feet, and finally completely covered while playing with a lot of other siblings. That was fantastic camera work. Thanks!

  16. Allie says:

    After watching the elephant rush ….. it would be really nice to have another view from the other side of the exhibit ….by the pond, looking up toward the enclosure. Seeing the hurd “rush” out toward the daily treats …. it is a real treat …. love it. Any word on the last little one that is due????

    Bless all the keepers and vets for the great work you do everyday. Big hugs to you all.

  17. Chari Mercier says:

    Wed., July 7, 2010; 2pm EDT. Just watched the elephant rush on the elliecam! Does Mabu get to be a part of this rush? What about Msholo? He looks so lonely in the other yard and missing out on all the fun!
    Any thing new about the names for the April and May calves, and whether we will be voting on names for the 2 of them? Also, still wanting updates on the momma ellie that is expecting her calf later on this year to see how she is doing up to now. Hope I can get answers on these comments real soon! Gonna go and check the ellie cam and pandacam. Will be back later on.
    Chari Mercier 🙂

    St. Pete, FL

    Moderator’s note: Yes, Mabu is part of the Elephant Rush activities. Name info will be posted next week.

  18. Shirley Ann says:

    The Elephant rush is quite entertaining – those big beautiful beast running around and playing with their toys and their many treats.

    Good work.

  19. Diana S. says:

    We saw a version of the Elephant Rush at the WAP back in March during the Panda Convention. It was so much fun. The anticipation was evident in all the ellies. We were there to see Lutsandvo as he was the most recent ellie baby then, but it was obvious that something was going on. The keepers were out cleaning and placing all kinds of enrichment – some up high, others down low, everywhere in the field. The ellies almost stampeded the gate as it opened. Except for Ndula and her new baby. She stood between him and the gate and waited for the crowd to die down before she ran out herself with the baby at her heels, his little ears flying as he ran to keep up. It was soooo worth the wait!!! It seemed they all had their favorite spots staked out ahead of time. Some ran way out into the field before they stopped to see what was there, others just barely out of the gate were checking out the goodies, some ran to the pool area. Very cool viewing indeed!

    Moderator’s note: Thanks for sharing your experience with our readers!

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Do the elephants notice the earthquakes?

  21. Joseph from Illinois says:

    Elephant Story time!







    May Baby

    and Moose


    Msholo, the Jealous Bull

    Msholo: Sigh 🙁

    Moya: What’s wrong, big guy?

    MSH:I’m all alone. They’ve left me in the yard.

    May Baby: Well, maybe dere’s a weason.

    MOY:Shh, tut, tut.

    Ndlula: Hey, howowwwwwwwww’s it going?

    Mabu: Tusk still botherin ya, eh, Dula?

    Looty: Hi, papa.

    MAY: Daddy!

    MSH: Sigh 🙁 I’ve only sired one calf.


    Moose: Vus’ Musi at your service madam.

    NDL: Show, this is what your son came to be.

    MSH: Wow!

    MOY: We’ve only been with Mabu since we came here, and Dula was pregnant without the staff knowing. So, they looked at the genes, and you ARE a daddy, Show! I think, going against all odds of nature, Show and Mabu could get along. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is from the point of view from a brainstorming elephant. Thank you.)

    VMS: Ahem, dad. So, whattaya been up to?

    MSH: Well, I just came from Mi–

    MOY: NO time for that! Act natural! A keeper’s coming!

  22. ele-lover says:

    There is an ugly rumor going around that Mabu is not the father of Umoya’s new calf and that it is, in fact, Mickey Mouse.


  23. Mandy says:

    Have been looking through all the recent postings for the name of Swazi’s son but haven’t found it. We got to see him when he was less than 24 hours old and my daughter is dying to know if he’s been given a name yet. Thanks!

    Moderator’s note: He has not been named yet.

  24. Laura B says:

    After reading this blog and seeing the video, we watch the rush on the cam whenever we think about it. It happens at 1:00 pm central time and is a great way to start the afternoon. We’ve caught it 3 times now and love it. It’s different everyday. When the ellies scatter the camera operators have to decide – and quickly – which way to go. Today the 3 munchkins were on the cam at the same time. Umoya’s little guy (I think) was fascinated with Looty’s tail. So cute. Lots of of elephants spent time after taking care of “their spot” and then made the rounds to be certain nothing was overlooked elsewhere.

    If tail wagging means the same in elephant as it means in dog, a great time is had by all, including us!! What a great thing that all of these animals thrive, entertain and inform and to think that they might have been tossed away. Thanks for all you do.

  25. Michelle says:

    I was very disappointed the other day to glance at the clock and it was 12:30, I had missed the rush! Then I realized, wait a minute, I live in NY, my elephant rush is at 2:00! 🙂

  26. Lisa in Maine says:

    I just watched my first Elephant Rush. What a joy! And I think one of the ellies must have a watch because he/she alerted the others that it was almost time. They were all lined up and waiting when the gate was opened. Thank you for letting us know about this. A great way to start my weekend.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    To answer my own question in #20 there was a mention in Diane Bell’s column in today’s San Diego Tribune which mentions two visitors observing the elephants during this last 5.4 earthquake. Apparently they all stampeded from the pool to the top of the hill and formed their protective circle around the babies, holding until they decided that all was well. Now we know.

  28. Mike says:

    Interesting! I’ve seen the Elephant Rush on the Elephant Cam and it is cool to watch!

  29. Shelly says:

    I love watching the elephants! Over the last year I have tried to learn which one is which. I’m confused though about the large male in the yard that I think must be Mabu since he’s so large but his tusks are shorter than his picture on Meet the Elephants. Is that him? Thanks to everyone for their hard work and care of these wonderful animals!

  30. Lisa Carter says:

    First off, THANK YOU< THANK YOU< THANK YOU for all the elephant info and the elephant rush. I find myself laughing at the little ones quite frequently. I do have a question that I have not seen addressed, why is there one elephant in another area and separated from the heard?

    Moderator’s note: His name is Msholo and you can read his story in the post Welcome, Msholo!

  31. Michael Csapo says:

    What a delight to watch these elephants scrambling around for treats. The baby elephants in particular are quite amusing as they frolick and roll around on the ground! The new benches installed in the shade of the canopy are a welcome retreat for visitors to the elephants on those warmer summer days! Enjoy!