Have you been checking out the construction of our yard project, connecting the two large elephant yards at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park? Currently, our African elephant herd lives in one yard, and adult male Msholo lives in the other yard. It will, I hope, be completed very soon!
Archive for the 'Elephants' Category
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.
Only two hours north of the San Diego Zoo lies Griffith Park. Tucked into a sprawling metropolitan community, the park includes a railroad museum, miniature railroad, theater, an equestrian center, and much more. It is also home to one of the San Diego Zoo’s conservation partners, the Los Angeles Zoo.
I had the opportunity to explore the Los Angeles Zoo’s new six-acre Elephants of Asia habitat that will soon be home to Tina and Jewel. As I walked through the 3.8 acres of elephant yard space, I noticed the soft river sand throughout the enclosure. Think of it as walking along the beach: it takes a little extra effort to get around, which means great exercise for the girls and for Billy, the Los Angeles Zoo’s male Asian elephant. Then I noticed one of two eight-foot deep pools that bumps right up to the sand. The sun was shining, and all I could think of was how fun it will be to watch Tina and Jewel splashing around in their own private oasis on a warm California day.
I thought I would share some thoughts with you all concerning our wonderful pair of elephants, Tina and Jewel. I have been lucky enough to be a part of their training and care from the time that they arrived at the San Diego Zoo in August 2009. They have done so well since arriving here. Both are thriving, are in great health, and seem to really enjoy their days roaming Elephant Odyssey. I am happy to say that Jewel has completely recovered from all her dental surgeries and can be seen daily doing what she does best—EATING! She has gained a little over 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) since she arrived. Yes, 1,000 pounds! She looks so much better than when I first saw her. Tina is also thriving; her weight gain has leveled off, and she, too, is in great shape. (more…)
The Park held a naming ceremony this morning, which I was privileged to attend (any excuse to get away from my computer, right?). As they do every morning for Elephant Rush, the keepers had all of the elephants in the upper yard while Emanti’s name was painted in large letters on the rock outcropping in the main exhibit and then covered over with large pieces of leafy browse to hide the name. The plan: release May Baby, mother Umoya, and big sister Kami into the main exhibit first and see if one of them would pull the browse from the rock and reveal the name. Well, it didn’t quite work that way, but we got a fine show just the same.
Enrichment is a big part of what keepers do at most zoos these days. But did you know that it isn’t just the keepers who are involved in making enrichment opportunities for our animals?
Determining the type of enrichment that an animal will get is a very big process. Kym Nelson mentioned in a past blog post that enrichment needs to be approved, and that is very true (see New View of Enrichment). So how does it work?
First, the keeper comes up with an idea. That idea needs to fulfill various criteria: is this an item this species would use? Will it cause friction among the group if there is more than one animal? What behavior is the enrichment meant to encourage? Is it store-bought or will it need to be made? If so, what materials are involved?
Thank you to all of those who suggested that the calf be named after themselves! And thank you to all those who offered a tie to this year’s largest sporting event, the World Cup held in South Africa. Personally, I really liked “vuvuzela,” but it sounded a bit feminine. However, that’s just my opinion, and I didn’t vote. One of the several people who suggested this word offered this reasoning: “apropos, as the instrument is long and trumpets loudly, like an elephant’s trunk.” Cute!
The calf born in April to Swazi has been given a name courtesy of one of our donors: eMacembe La Lu Hlata; keepers call him Macembe (ma KEM bay). Now, after naming seven elephants born at the Wild Animal Park over the past six years, we’re out of ideas! Well, maybe not, but we still want you to suggest names for our youngest African elephant. Our blog readers have been kind enough to help us find very suitable names for Yun Zi, our youngest giant panda, and Zoli, a silvered leaf langur, but now you’ve reached the big time!
We like to think that these naming opportunities have given you an occasion to learn more about species like pandas and langurs. Now it’s time to study up on pachyderm biology, because from July 13 to 25, you’ll have a chance to submit your suggestions via the Zoo’s Web site. Remember: the suggestions should relate symbolically to the calf or elephant conservation. Open up the science books, read through our Animal Bytes elephant page, visit the little guy at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, and get inspired.