Elephants in the Mud!

Elephants in the Mud! Scroll all the way down to see videos!
Nicholas and Gypsy


CLICK HERE! Nicholas and Gypsy enjoying a watermelon!

CLICK HERE! Nicholas and Gypsy photo page 2 Bath Time!

NICHOLAS & GYPSY MAY 21, 2007 Nicholas and Gypsy continue to explore, graze, browse and play the food reward game with Gail Laule and Margaret Whittaker of Active Environments who are assisting us in training the two elephants for TB testing and foot care. Gail and Margaret have developed positive reinforcement for training husbandry behaviors to a fine art and we are so pleased with their work with Nicholas and Gypsy. Ed and I must divide our week between the Galt elephants and ARK 2000’s group and we need a consistent program for Nicholas and Gypsy so we can get TB testing done to determine whether we must treat one or both of them for TB before moving them to ARK 2000. Nicholas and Gypsy look forward to the “game” and both learn quickly. Nicholas’ favorite foods are oranges, grapefruits and lemons while Gypsy prefers mangoes, artichokes, turnips and eggplant. They eagerly leave the yard to work with their primary keeper, Brian Busta and Gail and Margaret behind the protected contact wall. Their participation is voluntary and they always stay until the session is over and their final “jackpot” of popcorn and Jelly Belly jelly beans is consumed. A big thank you to Maggie and Herm at Jelly Belly for their donation of slightly irregular jelly beans for Nicholas & Gypsy. The two play together, share food, baths, mud and dirt calmly and Gypsy keeps Nicholas in line whenever he starts to play too rough. They are particularly entertaining at open houses keeping the crowds laughing as they slip and slide in their mud wallows. Viewing is limited to 300 feet away, but the two are quite visible on their hill and their trumpets, squeaks and rumbles are very audible from a distance. Both elephants are eating a variety of the trees that we have grown on the property for the elephants—red and silver maple, fruitless mulberry, willow, bamboo, liquidamber and acacia. Our campaign to build a habitat and barn for the two is underway thanks to Bob Barker and his generous pledge of $500,000. We have received another pledge from one of our members to match Bob’s generous donation so we are beginning construction soon. To contribute to Nicholas and Gypsy’s fund, CLICK HERE!

To all our wonderful supporters: Thank you for your email about Nicholas and Gypsy and Ruby. We are posting updates as quickly as possible, and we hope that all who care about these elephants will appreciate the fact that PAWS spends the bulk of our budget on the animals with overnight keeping staff taking precedence over office staff, so our updates may be delayed as we devote all our time to caring for new arrivals. Please take a moment to read our article "Rescuing Animals" in our last newsletter which is posted on our web site. Successful introductions to new surroundings and companions is not an easy project, and our staff spends long hours ensuring the comfort and safety of each elephant which sometimes leaves little time for public relations and fund raising campaigns. We appreciate the concern and devotion of all who care about the elephants, and we hope you will appreciate the long hours that we spend in physically caring for them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please be patient, we are trying to get news out as quickly as possible.

/17/07 UPDATE!
After two weeks of constant scrutiny and evaluation, we are pleased to note that the two elephants are still as devoted and dependent on each other as they were when they first arrived. They are adapting readily to their new environment and human companions, and they are both becoming confident in their surroundings and the positive reinforcement training sessions which they really enjoy. During training sessions (for trunk wash and blood draws critical to TB testing), Nicholas tends to displace Gypsy at times, but she often displaces him as well. Both steal treats from the other one if they are working together, but neither elephant becomes aggressive over the treats. Last week, Nicholas was blocking Gypsy’s way out of the barn refusing to allow her to pass through the chute to the yard. Gypsy waited patiently for a few minutes, then put her head down and plowed past Nicholas like a tank. At one point, she actually put her head under his neck and lifted his two front feet off the ground. Fortunately, Janice was running the video camera and recorded the incident.(See video clip below) When we reviewed the tape, it was obvious that Gypsy knows how to deal with Nicholas in any situation. We are aware that their relationship will change as Nicholas matures, but, at present, there is definitely no danger that Nicholas may harm Gypsy. Another benefit of having twenty-four hour keeping staff is our ability to monitor all behavior closely and to evaluate any behavioral changes. We are watching carefully for signs of aggression, but it is a joy to see the devoted attachment between the two elephants whom we’ve dubbed our “odd couple”.

April 7th, 2007
Nicholas and Gypsy were amazingly calm and pleasant with their new keepers when they arrived on April 2nd. They are both very sweet and cooperative, and they have adjusted quickly to their new home. Galt, California is noted for a unique adobe clay terrain which makes a mud that elephants love. When we moved 71, Mara, Minnie, Rebecca and Annie to ARK 2000, it was quite apparent that they missed that sticky mud, so we brought truckloads from Galt to San Andreas when we built the mud holes for the elephants. Nicholas and Gypsy soon discovered this magical elixir and spend a large portion of their days dusting and mud-bathing, spraying the sides of the barn and anything else close by with huge clumps of gooey mud. PAWS photographer, Janice Clark, has been racing out of her office, camera in hand, when the elephant bath routine begins, trying to capture the grunts, trumpets and acrobatics as the two elephants tumble in the mud.

Nicholas and Gypsy having fun in the rain and mud at PAWS.

Happy Elephants.

More Rain, More mud, more playing!

In this video, Gypsy literally lifts Nic off his feet! She wanted that grass and was willing
to push him out of the way to get it! You go Gyp!

NICHOLAS & GYPSY – GRAZING AND EATING TREES—DAY TEN Nicholas and Gypsy continue to explore, taste and test their new home. They spend a lot of time pushing and shoving in a display of play activity that is delightful to watch. Gypsy is strong enough to counter any of Nicholas’ punches, and the two move around the enclosure rolling and sliding in the gooey mud. Unlike African elephants, they usually stop before play escalates into more serious challenges for dominance. Gypsy is like a tank, and today, I saw her lift Nicholas off the ground with a big head butt. I think Janice caught it on tape; it was quite impressive. We are providing them with a variety of browse which grows in abundance around the enclosure, and Nicholas took possession of a small pine tree while Gypsy grazed on the tall grass which is her favorite. Both follow us and the treat buckets whenever we appear, and Margaret (Active Environments) has begun formal training with the two eager students who have quickly learned about targets, whistles and lots of positive reinforcement. We suspended a big barrel from pipes around the enclosure today, and Nicholas batted it around for quite awhile before he and Gypsy decided to resume grazing on the tall grass. We are anxious to begin construction on the barn and habitat at ARK for them; it will be so gratifying to see them in a large, open space.





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