We’re back with another EleFACT this week, keeping with the theme of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States by talking more about the sanctuary girls and their favorite treats. Recently, someone inquired about the diet of the elephants and if there are any fruits or vegetables that are not suitable to incorporate into their feeding routines. Most of it comes down to personal preference – they eat what they want! Compared to African elephants, Asian elephants are a bit more picky. If Bambi doesn’t like the taste of something, she won’t hesitate to leave it aside. Some elephants will even step on the unwanted snack in front of you to make sure you get the point.
We’ve mentioned before that we use fruits, vegetables, and grains to monitor the eating habits of the girls, but we can also adjust diets to suit any health needs that the elephants may be having. Any time we have an indication of special needs, their diet is taken into consideration and any adjustments are made that could help improve the situation. Elephants with specific health concerns, like Ramba and her kidney issues, can receive specialized diets with dos and don’ts to keep them as healthy and well as possible. When we took over Ramba’s care, before she came to sanctuary, her strict diet was adjusted to reduce her protein intake with fruits and veggies that provided her with low levels of calcium and potassium. We also gave her vegetables that were natural diuretics to help with her kidneys. Currently, Rana will occasionally get extra servings of certain greens that are good for blood cell cultivation. Similarly with people, there are natural ways to combat illness that can be found in specific diet changes. Vitamin C for immunity in people can be compared to dried cranberries for elephants, which are good for kidney and urinary issues. This precaution in diet allows us to cater to their needs, making sure that they get more of what they need and none of what they don’t.
Ultimately, a recurring theme of sanctuary is that some dietary choices are intentional, allowing us to closely monitor and assist with any needs that may have. Other choices are just to provide the girls with tasty treats that make their stomachs (and their hearts) happy.
Mara and Rana enjoying snacks