The Sanctuary may be in a standard time zone (AMT), but we are actually on Elephant Time. Our followers frequently ask us if the elephants always come over for treatment, and what we do if they don’t come to us for medical treatments.
We try to oblige them and cater to their desires as often as possible. They’ve had so much taken from them in their lives, so we are happy to revolve around them. We dislike having to regiment their days at all, but they are also older elephants and frequently need medical care.
Lady sometimes needs daily foot soaks. We don’t ask her to come over for foot soaks. She knows they happen after breakfast and include at least two buckets of fresh fruit snacks – sometimes more. Most mornings, she finishes her breakfast and walks directly over to the jacuzzi chute. She is frequently ready for her foot soaks before we finish preparing for her to come in.
Some days, she doesn’t come over to the barn or treatment area. If she doesn’t, we assume it is a conscious choice. Lately, as we’ve had chilly nights and warm days, she’s taken a couple of mornings off – she spends that morning time grazing in the sun with a smile on her face.
Lady’s treatments are comprehensive – we soak, we scrub, we clean, we apply sprays and ointments—so taking a day off truly isn’t that big of a deal. It’s part of looking at the big picture – she spent decades not being able to graze in the morning sun, so, if that is what she wants to do at that moment, she should. We are more than happy to revolve around her schedule.
On the mornings that she skips treatment, she usually gives us another opportunity in the afternoon. She usually comes for a drink (there are numerous water sources in other places) and goes to the barn door to come in. If she didn’t, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Training walls are built throughout the habitat, to allow for treatment to be performed away from the barn. Although we can’t do foot soaks out there, we can do her cleaning, scrubbing, spraying, and medicating.
If, during a time of active issues, Lady were to not walk over on her own for a couple of days, we would try to lead her back to the barn. When we would like an elephant to follow, we drive slightly ahead and toss fruit a distance in front of them each time or stand on the outside of the fence and do the same. They walk from treat to treat and slowly meander to the destination.
Video is of Lady enjoying a meal. While the lighting isn’t perfect, the video captures the serenity of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. If you watch until the end (or skip ahead), you can see her rubbing her eye with her trunk – it’s cute.