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Despite the Wildfire, Life Is Evident

Wildfire regrowth

The African Habitat has two phases of construction. The first phase is the barn itself and Yards 1–3, which we are currently working on. The first three yards are enough space to bring home the first three rescues (Kenya, Kuky, and Pupy). The second phase will be two additional large yards, but will not happen immediately after. This methodology is the same way we constructed the Asian Habitat.

African elephants tend to be a little harder on their environment than Asian elephants, which is a polite way of saying that African elephants really enjoy pushing on trees. Despite being an Asian, Maia was the same when she arrived. Some of it was due to her personality, but she also had a lot of pent up energy from being chained for five years. She had a lot to process, and she processed it by knocking down palm trees. We expect the African elephants will be the same way as they knock down trees in the wild. They also eat trees differently than Asian elephants. Along with eating much larger limbs, they will also strip the bark, causing some damage if they return to the same tree repeatedly. The first three African elephants we hope to rescue aren’t currently chained, but they have decades worth of this natural behavior that they haven’t been able to express. When we designed the habitat, we set it up so the first three yards have fewer substantial trees and more pasture. The denser forest is in the expansion to protect trees from the first bliss of “I can knock down trees!” We plan on building fences around the best shade trees to ensure they aren’t damaged and can provide shade for years to come.

The first three yards, as well as the future expansion, burned during the wildfires. Since the first three yards where Kuky, Pupy, and Kenya will live their first few years didn’t have many large trees, that land is mostly regrown. The grass is back and beautiful. The spread-out trees seemed to survive as the fire burned cooler and faster, with mainly grass burning. The massive canopy of the shade trees means the grass is sparse around the trees, which provided less fuel. This, in turn, protected the large trees. Small trees are shooting up everywhere in those yards, and life is evident. By the time the first residents arrive, there will be almost no evidence of the wildfire in their new home.

Unfortunately, the heavily wooded sections of the expansion didn’t fare as well. The dense trees provided fuel, and the fire burned hot. Many trees were lost. Many more trees are leaning, and we aren’t sure if they will survive. Many more, like the one pictured here, fell over entirely.

Beautifully, though, there is life everywhere. This tree is covered in new shoots of the same tree, and it is one example of many. Like a phoenix rising from the ash, the land will regrow in time.

Comments(13)

  1. REPLY
    Anna says

    The ‘will to live’ can produce some amazing results! It’s magical to watch a forest regenerate after fire. LOL re: African elephants’ love of terra-forming.

  2. REPLY
    SHEILA says

    THANKS FOR THIS UPDATE!👍 WOW ‼️ITS GOING TO BE SO EXCITING WHEN THE AFRICAN LADIES ARRIVE👍OH I CAN HARDLY WAIT TO WATCH HOW THESE GALS ACT IN FREEDOM, ESPECIALLY DEAR 🐘KENYA! WHO WAS ALONE FOR SO MANY YEARS!!! HAS SHE BEEN ACQUAINTED WITH. PUKY🐘 AND 🐘KUKY❓ OH YES THESE GALS WILL BE ADTOUNDED WHEN THEY GET HERE TO THEIR LOVELY NEW FREEDOM!! THEY WILL BE AMAZING‼️

  3. REPLY
    Elisa says

    cant wait for these ladys to arrive!

  4. REPLY
    Sunny says

    Everyday you teach us something new 🤗 We’re going to end up elephants experts ☺

  5. REPLY
    Lois Steinberg says

    Is it my computer or your website that is corrupted. I have no other problems on my end. When I click on the tabs it will to work.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      we had an issue earlier in the week with our menu, after a software update, but it has been fine on our end since and no other complaints. you may want to clear your cookies if it stored something from around the update and see if that helps. 🙂

  6. REPLY
    jean says

    Beautiful narrative.
    Amazing how nature rebirth.

  7. REPLY
    FRANCINE FORD says

    So excited to hear that life & Love prevail in the 3 new African yards. I can’t wait for Kenya, Kuka & Pupi get to enjoy Sanctuary; the fruits of both You & Nature’s labor’s. I’m more familiar with Asian eles than with African ones, so I found your post wonderfully informational & educational. I thank you for this. Sounds like paradise. Sounds like Sanctuary. Sounds like home.
    ❤🐘❤🐘❤🐘❤🐘❤🐘

  8. REPLY
    Deb Moore says

    Hmmm. Wonder which trees mature the quickest! I appreciate the protection of the larger trees, so important and respectful of other animals that also use them. Nice to know the Africans can recycle dead trees, too. Looking forward to see them there!

  9. REPLY
    Sallie says

    I have always thought throughout the many changes and directions in my life, that there is a ton of Good that can come from a lot of Inconvenience & Bad. Sometimes it takes time to see it . . . From Nature to Animals to People, Life is like that. Positive Thoughts and Good Works can make a difference . . . Your GSE Phoenix is on the rise! Fly High and Fly with Spread Wings!

  10. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    I find it so interesting the thoughtful ways you look ahead and make the most of what you have for the elephants. Yes the Africans are certainly different to Asians and need to be looked after in different ways. I know Africans need stronger fencing and are they much more expensive to look after?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      The fence we made for the Asian elephants will work for the Africans. We try to plan for the ‘worst’, so we made the Asian fencing bigger. Elephants like Minnie, who tore down a ton of fence in TN, showed us that it’s not just Africans. And no one wants to throw away money and have to make a whole other fence after someone destroys it. So the fence will be the same, just a little taller. As far as cost, no, they cost about the same to take care of. Cost goes up significantly with health issues, not necessarily species or gender. Lady is our $$ girl right now, but we are thrilled to be able to help her and love on her.

  11. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    Thank you for your reply, Kat, it is lovely to have explanations. Your forethought tells us that any donations are never wasted and we learn ourselves more about elephants so they we can pass it on people, I think we have come a long way since I first donated to Tina from the Vancouver Zoo; the first elephant that broke my heart when she died. I would like to boast a little that I was instrumental getting our little town in British Columbia to ban wild animals in the circus. There is still a long way to go.

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