Park Elephant Answers

Posted at 2:12 pm November 19, 2010 by Curtis Lehman

Impunga takes a nap.

Here are some answers to questions posed by our elephant fans about the African elephants at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park!

Calves, in general, start eating solid food around their fourth month. By seven months they’re eating it all, including the pellets that we use to train them, which become their favorite item.

Macembe has to have good elephant manners when around any other animal if Mom Swazi isn’t next to him, which is frequently. He usually climbs onto Emanti whenever they get together, but rarely is Emanti far away from his mom, Umoya, so his dominance is short-lived. He loves his wrestling matches with Lutsandvo though.

When we do our “Elephant Rush” (it’s at 11:30 a.m. nowadays) you might see us holding an animal back to go last, but not always. What we like to do is get the animals that have been in the barns out first before we let the animals that were in the yards out. If Mabu is in the barns while we clean the main yard, he’s typically the last to come out; he doesn’t need first crack at the goodies because he gets to most of it anyway. If we have time to train before the Rush, we may bring out some elephants earlier and train them and then let the majority (at least seven of them) out as the “Rush;” this tends to look more like an elephant “trickle.”

Do the elephants’ react to earthquakes? I don’t think the elephants know what an earthquake is, but I wouldn’t doubt that they could feel or hear it coming before we could. Forming their protective circle around their calves just seems like a logical thing they would do whenever they feel threatened or spooked. Our elephants have always maintained this natural behavior, which is really cool to observe. They do react to new construction noises and smells but quickly habituate or become desensitized to them. We want our elephants to get used to any and everything that’s out there, so we don’t tell Park guests to “be quiet” or to not fly the Balloon Safari, etc. On a side note, we have seen that if the elephants are initially spooked by a new noise or smell, they will go into their protective circle.

Ndlulamitsi’s right curved tusk broke off a couple of weeks ago. We noticed a fresh scrape on ‘Musi’s derriere the same day, so we think she busted it off while telling her son to get lost. Not to worry; it’ll grow back, and the pulp cavity wasn’t exposed. And ‘Musi is still a momma’s boy.

Elephants do show affection or offer a greeting by massaging each other’s head with their trunk. Mabu does this with Umngani, Swazi, Litsemba, and Lungile a lot, and they all do it toward someone at some point. It does appear quite affectionate at times. When it’s male to male it seems as if it could also be a “sizing up” before wrestling ensues.

Impunga has been notorious for lying down across a dirt mound. Is it colic? We think he simply loves the feel of the cool dirt on his belly. Most of the other boys seem to love doing this as well. It’s only rarely that I’ve seen an adult lie down on their side and quickly get back up that looked like an adjustment for a possible colic situation. It’s not uncommon at all for elephants to lie down. When they want some deep sleep, they lie down. When they have a new calf, the moms sleep standing up, even though they sure look like they want to lie down. But instincts say to stay on guard and to wake up the calves every half hour or so to nurse.

Does Mabu have a favorite offspring? I can definitely say that it’s not Impunga or Khosi. I would say that Kami is his favorite, and currently Macembe hangs out with him more than anyone else. Both Macembe and Lutsandvo also try to nurse off of him. Mabu doesn’t really initiate anything “fatherly,” but he sure does tolerate them all, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have such a great bull. (He’s my favorite elephant, by the way.)

For Don, the earliest recorded weight we have on Impunga was when he was three days old and he weighed 98 kilograms or about 216 pounds. As far as your theory on the mothers’ ventral edema (sagging stomach), even our vets don’t know the cause or the cure. For now I would say you’ve made an interesting observation. Only time and a bigger sampling will tell if you’re on to something.

Dianna from Ohio would like it if we could do a blog on a “Day in the Life of an Elephant Keeper.” Boy, would that be a write up! It would take a massive amount of time, and I’d probably want to post some set-up blogs such as how we train, why we train, and how and why we manage them the way we do. It would be quite an undertaking.

What are we going to do with all the males? For now they’re staying put. If Msholo proves to be viable or perhaps needs to have Mabu leave to become viable, then Mabu, a well-represented bull here at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, would probably need to be moved to an AZA-accredited zoo where he can continue to take part in an African elephant conservation program. With the nearly completed yard connection, we have the possibility of having a yard just for the males, if need be. What a bunch of yahoos that would be! Male calves in the wild usually get kicked out from the protection of Mom or the herd around 8 to 10 years of age, so we have a lot of time to plan. The age and size differences between Mabu and ‘Musi are so great that we don’t see a problem between those two at present. The same goes for Msholo and ‘Musi, but we don’t know what Msholo will be like toward ‘Musi. As his sire was a wild bull from Swaziland, ‘Musi is a very important breeding possibility. Some day we hope to build a new African elephant facility designed to house different elephant social groups somewhere out along the Journey into Africa tour path. I would love to keep all of them, but that’s because I’m attached to them.

Curtis Lehman is an animal care supervisor at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read his previous post, Elephant Manners.

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

53 Responses to “Park Elephant Answers”

  1. Grace says:

    I just love the photo of Impunga napping. Probably crashed after some super-uber playful time with fellow calves!

  2. marlene says:

    Curtis,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a wonderful and informative update. I can’t get enough of our elephants.

  3. Don Stillwell says:

    Thanks, Curtis, for getting me the correct weight for Impunga (216 pounds). I had asked a couple of the keepers on November 10, 2010, and they assured me his birth weight had been 232 pounds. I will now correct my records and will have accurate birth weights for all 7 calves born between 9-11-2006 and 5-12-2010. Also thanks for the info that the calves start eating solid food at about 4 months which allows plenty of time to have been eating solid food before they need to be weaned from milk when Mom is getting ready to give birth after a 22 month gestation period.

    Your new blog is fantastic and has so much useful information. Thanks!

    READERS: Share the cam website with others and tell them to remember to read the blogs.

    http://www.sandiegozoo.org/elephantcam is the website.

  4. Adrienne says:

    Curtis, Thank you for your update, my question being, why do the kids not want to swim anymore, or do I just not “click in on time? “

  5. Curtis says:

    Adrienne,
    Nobody’s swimming right now, even when it seemed to warm up earlier this week so it must be just too cold to take a dip! Spoiled Southern Califonia elephants. The pool’s been crystal clear for a week. At least we don’t have to drain and clean it. Maybe they got the memo to conserve water.

  6. Tom says:

    Thank you, Curtis, for a great blog. I’m an elephant fan and watch the herd closely. Today I noticed Emanti being a little rascal, running around, charging all the other calves with his ears out. Very fun to watch. Also, I’m very impressed with Mabu. I see him with the calves being very affectionate with his trunk over their backs. Fantastic animal! I’m curious to know what Don thinks the female’s edema is.

  7. cindy in KC says:

    wow! What an awesome update! Thank You so much!

  8. Pat says:

    Have you noticed any behavior changes in Mabu since Msholo has been at the Park? I assume Mabu can see, smell and hear Msholo. Has there been any acknowledgement of his presence from Mabu?

  9. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi! Great article, Curtis! I was one of the people that asked about when elephant calves started to eat solid food, and you answered my question! I am quite surprised that ellie calves start to eat solid food at around 4 months old! That’s alot earlier than what I was thinking about on the calves’ diet. Now, here’s my next question: When do momma ellies start to wean their calves off of the milk entirely? As usual, I’m always curious about these ellies!
    Adrienne, I think I know why you are not seeing the ellies in that big pool as often. I’ve been watching the Weather Channel over the last couple of weeks, and California, especially San Diego, has had a very nice cold spell for awhile (with some rain), but they did have that unusual late fall heat wave last week when LA and SD both reached temps in the high 90s and close to 100! My guess is that the ellies don’t want to go into cold water for a swim when it’s cold and sometimes raining. I was on the ellie cam earlier today, and that big pool is full, but it’s up to the ellies if they want to swim in it in late November!
    The whole article was very informative and answered a few questions that I had. Can’t wait for Litsemba to have her new calf in January, 2011! More fun to come! I like the idea of the ellie keepers writing up articles about a day in the life of an elephant keeper. Curtis, maybe you can get it written down on paper in chapters, then write up the article on the blog page one chapter at a time. That will be a very interesting set of articles to read from you or one of the other keepers! Have fun with that one! I’m glad that you love these ellies, because I sure do love them! They are fascinating to watch on the elliecam!
    Well, let us know about when that new connection to the 2 yards is done. That will be very interesting to watch Msholo with the girls when they go over to visit him someday! A yard for all of the bulls? Sounds like a great idea! I think I’m right about young juvenile bull ellies when they leave their moms and the matriarch herd to go out on their own and form bachelor herds out in the African wild. That does sound like a natural behavior for male ellies to me. With 5 young bull calves at WAP, that will be a very interesting bachelor herd for sure, and with Moose being the oldest of the 5 boys, he could be the dominate male of that herd! Well, that’s in the near future, so we will wait and see what happens!
    How are Tina and Jewel doing lately? Are they getting trained for their big trip to the LA Zoo? I know that you all will be missing these 2 girls tremendously after spending soooo much time with them during this year. At least the girls had the best care, love, and management that they could get with you all! You might say that Tina and Jewel were in a 5 star hotel at SDZ’s EO! Maybe after Tina and Jewel go to LA, you can try to see if you can get Queenie out of her very bad situation in Texas and help her get back to good health.
    Well, gonna go for now. Will be back later on!
    Chari Mercier 🙂
    St. Pete, FL

    Moderator’s note: Tina and Jewel arrived at the Los Angeles Zoo last week and are doing well.

  10. Rebeca says:

    I would love to know why they are not swimming too. It’s been a while since I’ve seen them!

    Also, any tricks to tell who’s who? I am still having a very hard time trying to identify each one of them… I could only tell Ndlulamitsi apart with her tusk. It would be great if you could put a mark on them…lol! I also didn’t know you were letting Mabu come out with the ladies, I thought that couldn’t be done, so now I am going to look out for him 🙂

  11. Don Stillwell says:

    Re: 4. I think the elephants are much more likely to go swimming when the temperature gets closer to 100 degrees. I have watched the elecam and have been at the park lots of times when it has been 70 or below and I don’t remember much use of the pool. Currently, the construction around the pool seems to have had an effect but the elephants still walk around the pool and, if there is water in the pool, they will take a drink and, if the sun is shining, they will throw or spray water on themselves. Construction is scheduled to be complete this month and when all the shipping crates, currently used as barriers, are removed, we will have interesting things to watch. The kids don’t go swimming unless Mom says it’s okay and if Mom doesn’t want to go swimming, the kids usually stay out. Of course, Aunt Lungile has been know to babysit with the kids in the pool.

  12. George Middlton says:

    Curtis, you are a very good writer, about something you are passionate about.: Elephant welfare.. Very well written and informantive.

  13. Vonna - North Carolina says:

    Thanks, Curtis, for the very informative blog. I’m fairly new to the site but generally check on the ellies and polar bears every day and totally enjoy observing these marvelous creatures. I go on a live (via internet) African Safari in Sabi Sands, South Africa twice a day and the actions and reactions of the wild elephants and yours are almost identical…..which says a lot for the SDZ’s facilities and the care given to yours.

    Of course I love watching the babies playing together or when they are trying to learn to use their trunks. Thanks for providing the cams which I’m sure bring many hours of joy and learning to those who ‘tune in’.

    One request…I don’t know how hard it is to get to the cameras but it would be great if someone could clean the lens in both the elephant and polar bear cams.

  14. Rita says:

    Thanks so much for all the information. It answered some questions I’ve had.

    Off topic: I wish the elephant and polar bear cams would let the viewer choose between high quality or lower quality. I’m traveling with a Verizon card for my laptop and it won’t let me watch the high def video. There is no problem watching the panda cam. Have really missed not being able to check in on the elephants and the polar bears.

    Moderator’s note: Your suggestion has been forwarded to our Web Team.

  15. Don Stillwell says:

    Re 6: Tom, I think the edema is an edema, plain and simple. My curiosity has been aroused by the fact that the only females that get one are the ones who had a boy baby first! This includes Dula, Samba, and Swazi. The only two that have had female babies first, Umngani and Moya, don’t have one and did not get one after having their boy babies. Just been an observation over the years.

  16. Tom says:

    Don, thanks. Very interesting observation. Now I want to know why a male calf would elicit such a physiological response.

  17. rudi besby says:

    Hello over there, I’m an women from copenhagen- Denmark, some friends tolld me- waw -try to see those Zoo in San Diego, i can look at this for hours. wonderfull, all the small babyes, i was in doubt, are there female babyes, now i read it’s males,, ask? how many Elefants are there right now—- kindley greetings from copenhagen Denmark EU

    Moderator’s note: There are 16 elephants at the Safari Park. One adult male, Msholo, has his own area at this time. The other 15 elephants live together. That herd contains 7 males and 8 females. The three youngest are all males, but there are two juvenile females that were born here.

  18. Kim White says:

    What a wonderful update on our beautiful Ellies. Thank you so much for allowing us the pleasure of their company throughout the day. They have brought me many hours of joy. The babies are just too precious for words and Emanti has my♥ Thank you so much for their wonderful care as well . Wish our zoo here in NC had the Ellies where they could be seen. Your cams are way better than a visit to my local zoo .

    They have a fantastic home with you and I am so thankful they were saved. Thank you so much for everything you do for all of your animals. Most of all , thank you very much for sharing them with us. Just an awesome pleasure for me and all of my friends that watch every day. I look for to all of the updates.

  19. Dianna from Ohio says:

    Curtis: Thanks for the update on the ellies… I like your “set up” ideas for future posts!! 🙂 I’m all for learning how the keepers train and manage the ellies… heck.. actually any animal at the zoo! 🙂

  20. Kat says:

    HUGE KST HUGS Curtis for answering my question about how they show affection. I had seen this action so many times on Africam and on the Zoo cam and have always wondered “why” they did that. It is heartwarming to know that these animals do show love, something we may not recognize right off the bat. I remember reading a story not too long ago in Africa about two Ellies who always seemed to be together (as companions I suppose) on a conservation land when one day tourist with rangers who accompanied them made a sudden stop to only see one of those Ellies down and the other trying to nudge the one to get up. After many failed attempts, the living Ellie (the rangers already knew by sight that the Ellie on the ground was dead due to poachers) pulled out one of the tusks of their companion and brought it over to one of the rangers, dropped it and left the opposite way while looking back one last time as if to say goodbye to his companion. I often wondered why he did that. Since that story came about, I have paid closer attention to the Ellies and I am fascinated on how they live their lives. They seem to share the same feelings as we humans do, anger, sadness, happiness, playfulness and most of all love. I can clearly see how much the zoo keepers love what they do and it shows each time one of you come out, they follow you guys likes puppies to their new owners. GOD BLESS each and every one of you. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to all!!!! From Vegas…

  21. Cynthia says:

    Thanks for this very interesting information. I too am interested in how the keepers train and manage animals that really could do whatever they want. How do you make an elephant do something it doesn’t want to do? I think it has implications for humans too!

    Thanks, too, for the answer to my question about the babies that lay down. I enjoy the elephant cam soooo much!

  22. Don Stillwell says:

    Those of us who have been watching and waiting for this once-in-a-lifetime occurrence when Msholo actually gets to see some of the females from Mabu’s side up close wonder when it will occur. The landscaping looks great and there is a completed stairway on the west side of the construction (the side where both the gates will be when opened) that meets up with a paved walkway on the top. The webcam is http://www.sandiegozoo.org/elephantcam and if you click on it, you, and anyone you tell, will be able to keep up with the progress. Be sure to tell people to read the blogs which are extremely well written and share their comments and ask questions.

  23. Diana says:

    This is such an interesting and informing update. It answered every question I had about all the elephants especially the elephant who lost her tusk which I had noticed immediately. I spend WAY too much time watching the elephant cam but it is so much fun to watch all of them and their antics. Thank you so much for keeping us updated.

  24. Michelle from Buffalo, NY says:

    I’m with #10, I’ve been watching them for years and I STILL cannot tell who is who… I wish we could put an initial on their back so us cam watchers could see it 🙂

  25. karen says:

    why doesn’t the elephant enclosure have any trees?? seems like with the hot san diego sun that there would be some shade trees for these elephants. even in the wild they have trees

  26. Elizabeth says:

    Before these elephants there were three older females and a bull in the enclosure. There were originally a few peach trees also but the elephants pulled them up and ate them. One of the elephants acquired the name “Peaches” from that. You would need full grown trees with heavy trunks and real strong roots.

    Moderator’s note: Yes, elephants are very hard on trees (and any other vegetation!). We did have an elephant named Peaches, but she came to us with that name.

  27. Marie says:

    Curtis thanks for the wonderful blog! 🙂 I’ve only become fascinated with ellies this year. I’ve always enjoyed them at zoos, but now I find myself watching and reading everything about them.

    The babies are thoroughly entertaining, as are the teenagers. Such fun!

  28. Don Stillwell says:

    Re 10 and 24. Telling the elephants apart takes some close observation. There are 5 female elephants in the herd. Curtis mentions a ventral edema, a sagging stomach, in his blog. This is a good starting point as three mothers have one and 2 mothers do not. The three that have one are Dula, Samba, and Swazi and all 3 had boy babies for their first baby. The only two that had girl babies first, Umngani and Moya, don’t have one and did not get one after having their boy babies. Umngani has a beautiful pair of curved tusks, the best in the group. Dula used to have a tusk bent under her trunk which is now broken off so this helps you spot her. There are times when the family group can be seen together. Umngani has Khosi, the first born after Moose, but 2 1/2 years younger, and Ingadze who is approximately a year older than all 3 of the boys born in 2010. Samba, who is expecting in January 2011, had a boy, Punga, who is almost exactly the same size as Khosi. Moya has the youngest of the baby boys, Emanti, and her daughter, Kami, who hangs around with Mom and Emanti quite a lot. Start observing with these little hints and see how well you do at spotting the elephants (without painting their names on them).

  29. Cathy Shorter says:

    Curtis – Thank you for ele-update! I am watching the herd and am enchanted with how graceful these massive animals seem to be and how flexible their trunks are in juxtaposing, eating, drinking, playing, establishing dominance and affection. You guys do such a remarkable job in simulating a natural environment. The Elephant Rush or anytime is my favorite to watch.

    Question for you – how do the baby elephants nurse. Do they use their mouths or trunk? Then about how many gallons or quarts of mother’s milk do they need in a day on average.

    Thank was 2 questions ~ guess you noticed. Thank you for your time and thanks to all the keepers and San Diego Zoo, but especially to the elephants for letting us be part of their lives.

    Moderator’s note: I can answer the first question: baby elephants use their mouth to nurse.

  30. Kim White says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to all at the SDZ. I am THANKFUL for you sharing these babies with us.

    Happy Thanksgiving Ellies and little ones ♥ – hope you get some special Ellie treats♥

  31. Michelle from Buffalo, NY says:

    Don, thanks for the tips, I will try very hard! And I would never want to put paint on an ele. I was thinking more along the lines of a “Hi my name is….” sticker lol 🙂

  32. Don Stillwell says:

    Re: 29. I expect the amount of mother’s milk the babies drink in a day grows rapidly. Babies gain weight at the rate of about 50 pounds per month and more than double their birth weight in just 6 months!

  33. Don Stillwell says:

    Re: 29. Checked Ingadze’s weight (born 3-13-2009) as of October 2010 and he has averaged a weight increase of 50 pounds per month over a period of 19 months. He is approximately a year older than the 3 youngest boys and seems to get a kick out of showing how much stronger he is than they are. I am sure his milk intake is in the gallons per day category!

  34. Marie says:

    I had a wonderful morning watching the ellies. They were so playful. Mr. Mabu was giving two of his ladies and one of his baby boys some TLC. Quite touching.

    As for telling them apart, I recognzie Mabu and Dula. The rest are still a mystery.

  35. Don Stillwell says:

    Curtis Lehman, the writer of this blog, narrates a very interesting video about the naming of Emanti, Moya’s baby boy. Meet Curtis as you watch the video. First you must click on the blog, “All-Star Home For Tina and Jewel. Next, locate comment #39 and written in red is “Here’s the direct link to the video.” Click on the red letters and enjoy the action as Emanti’s name is unveiled by Moya pulling off the browse and exposing EMANTI in big letters as she throws the browse completely over the entire length of her back! As you listen to Curtis narrate, you can tell he loves his job as an elephant keeper! Be sure to turn on your audio!

    Moderator’s note: Here’s the direct link to the video.

  36. Don Stillwell says:

    Re: 34. Marie. Let’s go for two more, Umngani and Moya, who each had baby girls first. If you will watch the video mentioned in #35, the elephant who pulls the browse off is Moya. Shortly after the browse incident Moya can be seen with daughter Kami and son Emanti as they stroll down the path back towards the barn. As for Umngani, look for the elephant with the best looking pair of tusks, beautifully curved, and no ventral edema because she had Khosi, her daughter, first.

  37. Cynthia says:

    I have another question-sometimes the pool is empty, and I rarely see them drinking from it. Do they have another water source in the barn area? I seem to remember that they usually only drink once a day.

    Moderator’s note: There are drinkers provided for the elephants.

  38. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi! First, want to thank Moderator for letting me know about Tina and Jewel making it to LA Zoo safe and sound. I know the ellie keepers at EO will miss them very much, but they are not that far away from LA. They can go see the 2 girls whenever they are able to do so.

    Second, HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everyone at WAP and EO, and to all of the ellies! Have a very nice holiday with family and friends!

    Chari Mercier 🙂

    St. Pete, FL

  39. Chari Mercier says:

    Hi! Got a question to ask you! Was on the elephant cam a few minutes ago, and the cam people had a great closeup of a few of the ellies and those huge white and black boxes that look like cages sitting in the elephant yard. Do you know what those boxes are for? My curious mind would like to know! One of the younger ellies was sniffing it and wondering what this big square thing is.
    Have a good weekend, you all!
    Chari Mercier 🙂
    St. Pete, FL

    Moderator’s note: I believe you’re referring to the construction of the connecting corridor between the two main elephant yards.

  40. Don Stillwell says:

    I know that the October weights of the 7 little elephants was posted but they are not posted any longer. Is there a reason?

    Moderator’s note: We’ve been having some technical challenges. I’ll try to reinstate the October weights on Monday.

  41. Marie says:

    It’s 11:17AM PST and I’ve been watching of the the adult ellies swaying back and forth for 10 mins now. Does this behavior mean something specific? First time I see an ellie doing this.

  42. Laurie says:

    What are those buildings now next to the water hole? They look like holding pens??

    Moderator’s note: That’s the construction site for the new corridor that will connect to the two main elephant yards.

  43. Don Stillwell says:

    Re 42: Hi, Lauri. It’s the first time I remember seeing Laurie in a blog comment. Read item 22 which gives a little more information. There are two yards being used for the African elephants. Mabu, 5 females and 8 calves now occupy the area on this side. Msholo, a male, occupies the adjacent yard and was brought to the Wild Animal Park after the Asian elephants that used to have that side were taken to the San Diego Zoo Odyssey area. These crates are being used to allow the construction of a gating system that will allow the females on Mabu’s side to cross over into the Msholo side. I hope you will keep watching and will also read the blogs and the comments because they are quite informative. Mabu is the proud papa of 5 sons and 2 daughters and Samba is due in January 2011 and Umngani is due in October 2011 so there will be more births to watch next year.
    Under item 35, in red, are the words Here’s the direct link to the video. Curtis Lehman, the writer of this blog, narrates the unveiling of the name EMANTI, the last boy calf born this year (on 5-12-2010). If you watch the video, you will see how much he loves his job!

  44. Laurie says:

    Oh! that is great!! Thanks so much for letting me know!:) I could just watch all the elephants, all day long!!! It is the highlight of my day!!!

  45. Tom says:

    Lauri, I hate to correct Don because he is incredibly knowledgable, but there are six adult females: Swazi, Moya, Samba, Umngani, Lungile, and Ndlula. All the females have had young. Unfortunately, Lunegile’s calf, a female, died at one month of age.

  46. Don Stillwell says:

    Thanks, Tom! I have a list of 6, the ones you named. Have no idea why I said 5. Obviously didn’t read my own list! Getting old, I guess!!!!!

  47. Don Stillwell says:

    Re: 40. Thanks for getting the October weights posted under Meet the Elephants again..

  48. Don Stillwell says:

    Had an interesting visit with Connie Muther this morning at the Park. Seems she recognizes the elephants by the hairs at the end of their tails. Took lots of pictures of Looty, Mackenbay, and Emanti because she is now trying to be able to tell which one is which by THEIR tails. Learned she is also a camera operator and that she has to operate 3 cameras, the one at the Park plus 2 at the Zoo. I now have more sympathy for the camera operator; she certainly can’t be adjusting them all at the same time. Wonder if she can tell the keepers by the hair on their heads?!?

    Moderator’s note: The tail is telltale, indeed! 😉 And yes, our volunteer camera operators do an AMAZING job with all they have to juggle!

  49. Don Stillwell says:

    Now that it is December 1, is it safe to ask if there is a new estimated completion date for the construction project?

    Moderator’s note: You can always ask! 😉 I’ll see if anyone can give an update.

  50. Donna says:

    I’ve found between tails, tusks and tummys or the the lack of, how to tell the adults apart. As to the Kami and Khosi unless they are with their moms, still having difficulty in differentiated them. If the babies are together Emanti is the smaillest in height compared to the other 2, when they are with their moms it’s easier.

  51. Don Stillwell says:

    Re: 50. Donna. Khosi was born 9-11-2006 and Kami was born 9-19-2007, just over a year apart. Khosi has much larger tusks and weighs a lot more. The “Meet the Elephants” page seems to have shed that information at the moment. My guesstimate of a 50 pound a month weight gain would mean at least 600 pounds difference in weight

  52. Don Stillwell says:

    Re: 51. Donna. Weights are listed now. Khosi weighs 2500 pounds and Kami weighs 2065. At least a 400 pound difference and Khosi’s tusks are much longer.

  53. Cathy says:

    Where do the elephants go at night? Are they out in the open area? Are they moved to the enclosures?

    Moderator’s note: They have access to both the elephant barn and the main yard, so it’s up to them.