Most swimming photos and videos are of the girls in the ‘pond in 4’, pond Beleza Na Vida. We do have a second manmade pond in the female Asian habitat, and this is it. There isn’t usually video to share because on the left is a giant dirt pile that they love to dust in. On the right is another berm, that is a favorite napping spot, mostly for Guida after swimming. So it’s hard to get decent video from a safe location.
This pond was built closer to the barn for elephants who have a hard time getting around initially. It is much closer to the barn than the other pond. This video, along with showing what a lazy floating day looks like, also offered an excellent opportunity to show the layout of the habitat. It is split into 5 yards: 1 through 3 are smaller (a couple of acres), 4 and 5 are much more expansive. This is all done keeping elephant issues that could possibly come up in the future, in mind. While it’s much easier to build just one large yard, it’s also not practical if you have more than one elephant.
The smaller yards are good introductory yards for elephants, but they can also play a role in intensive care of sick elephants. It keeps them close to the barn for monitoring and treatment, without taking away their natural space and the freedoms that help define sanctuary. Each of the small yards (1, 2, # 3) is connected to a different exit way from the barn. So if elephants need to be separated, they can be inside or outside without having to interact or go past each other. This allows tremendous flexibility with training, treatment and other times you would have elephants inside. Our elephants don’t need to come back to the barn, it only drops into the mid-50s about 3 days out of the year, so the barn is usually empty.
Yards 4 and 5 are divided by a fence, which also allows the separating of elephants if needed, while still providing them with vast space, which could be needed for long-term socialization issues. It also allows us to shift elephants in an emergency or to permit maintenance work on fences or the habitat to be done safely. Everything at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil is designed from decades of experiences with the elephants in Tennessee and the flexibility required when working with such large and complex beings. We plan for the worst case scenario and hope for the best.
All five yards can open up to each other, which is how we have it right now and the way we would always like to keep it. But we are also reasonable in knowing we need to be prepared for if that is no longer the case.
This video was taken last month but was lost in the shuffle. It was when the girls were still spending most of their days apart, which is why you see Rana in yard two. Yesterday was another Maia and Rana day- tomorrow we will post a very pink photo.
February 23, 2019