Bambi is currently having some stomach issues. When going down to give the girls breakfast yesterday, Bambi seemed a little off, even before approaching. She was reluctant to come to the fence for her breakfast initially, and after she walked over, she wasn’t interested in eating. Scott came back with some watermelon, and as he approached, she had a bout of diarrhea. After that, she was a little more willing to eat, having some pineapple and watermelon, and taking a drink from the hose. Her energy was low and she was visibly crampy.
After discussions between caregivers and veterinarians, a treatment plan was formulated, along with a plan of how to manage her and her two friends for the day. Bambi was given an injection and she and her sisters went to stand under the ‘Itchy Scratchy’ tree in yard one. Because of the difficulty in offering her food and her friends wanting to ‘share’ in what is offered, the decision was made to shift Mara and Rana into yard 3 a little later, leaving yard 2 empty, allowing better access to Bambi and the ability for her to eat slowly should she choose. She remained under the tree, so the water was turned on that is plumbed to the mud wallow to see if it would stimulate her to move. It did and she went over and bathed and then splashed (looking at that moment, you wouldn’t have known that she didn’t feel well.) In a display of- you try weird things when you are trying to get an elephant to eat, cut-up pieces of apple were sent through the tube that fills the wallow, and Bambi ate them. She eventually came over to the fence and Tina was able to give her some food, which she ate, and drank 3.5 buckets of water.
The girls were fed their dinner separately, allowing Bambi to receive another injection and to give her some more food. While her having an appetite is a positive thing, feeding is done in moderation. Just like people, when your stomach is having issues, you don’t eat the normal volume or types of foods that you would, and we treat their system gently as well. Once everyone was done eating, all 3 yards were opened back up again so the ladies could be together. They greeted each other with lots of rumbles and touches. Both Scott and Tina agreed if they hadn’t seen her sick earlier, they wouldn’t have known anything had happened by her appearance at that moment. Caregivers all went up to our houses and continued monitoring the elephants on the cameras with a plan to come down at 10 to offer more food and water and lay eyes on Bambi.
At about 9:30 pm, Bambi showing signs of abdominal discomfort was seen on the cameras. When Scott went down for late feed, the girls were all glued at the hip, which makes things more difficult, but the emotional support from her friends is imperative. Bambi ate a couple of bananas but then walked away, so food was laid out throughout the yard allowing for hay and produce to be available should she want it. With the two girls that tend towards chunky, Maia and Guille, out in yards 4&5, there was no issue with putting a fair bit of food in the yards. Throughout the evening, Bambi could be seen dusting and, at some points, grazing in some areas with short grass.
This morning she is still very low energy, but better than yesterday morning. She ate her breakfast produce and watermelon, drank, and had some additional probiotics. At this point, because of her low energy and the fact that the girls all seem settled, we have decided to keep them in the smaller yards for now. The smaller yards create several advantages for managing sick elephants- they are easier to monitor (day and night), we can separate elephants and still have them close while providing them space, it offers safer treatment options, and access to the barn should they want it.
We wanted to share what was going on with you, but please know that because it is the weekend, our US staff is off and they are the ones who usually respond to comments and questions on social media and write posts. So we will not be on social media much to answer questions but will try to post a quick update in the comments section at the end of the day. As most of us know, after a significant gastrointestinal upset, you don’t feel back to normal within 24 hours. We are happy that she is eating and drinking, but she is not out of the woods at this point. Blood had been taken from her at the beginning of the week before she got sick, and the results looked good. Although we were unaware of her future stomach issues, it was comforting having those very recent results and knowing that her general internal health, at least through bloodwork, looks good.
Rana and Mara aren’t showing concern, but do appear quite content with the level of food being offered. Maia and Guille are off exploring but Maia was keen to stay close around dinner last night, watching the girls in yard 1 from yard 5. For now, please keep Bambi in your thoughts and send her soothing stomach energy.
**Update below in comments**