There is a lot that goes on at the Sanctuary “behind the scenes” to keeps the elephants happy. One of those regular occurrences is habitat maintenance. Even though the Asian Elephant Habitat is many acres, there are still a few spots where the girls spend a significant amount of time, such as the mud wallows, sand piles, and ponds.
Before Mara arrived, we closed everyone out of Yard 4 for a day and performed some maintenance in the area. We used our new tractor to clear the brush along the fence between 4 & 5 and the perimeter of 4 (inside and out). This cleared area provides an additional fire break as the dry season approaches. A trail was also cleared from behind the pond in 4 to the gate leading into 5. We borrowed some dirt from the side of the pond to reline the mud wallow. Even though the mud wallow periodically dries out, it can still get mucky sometimes from use. As a result, we regularly dig out the old bottom and replace it – and the dirt by the pond is the perfect clay to use.
A few days after we completed that work, we closed everyone out of Yard 1. We redid that mud wallow and also welded on a few new bars in the chute for footwork. It’s not exciting work, but it’s essential, and it keeps the land healthy, as well as everything that calls the land home.