It isn’t cost-effective to purchase partial loads of steel, so when purchasing tubes for Kenya’s fencing we had to round up a tiny bit. Thankfully, we always have ways to use extra steel. As Lady has revealed herself to be quite an explorer, we are using some of the extra to build a few training areas in the Asian habitat.
These sections of fencing can be used with all of the elephants, but we are primarily creating them because of Lady. Since we have to be a little more cautious when working with Lady, we currently only do training with her at the barn. The barn has reduced spacing between bars and additional horizontals to make it more difficult for an elephant to swing out. Modifying sections of fencing in the habitat gives us more flexibility in her care, which allows more freedom. All while being done in a safe manner.
Three training areas are currently being built along the fences in the habitat. One will be between Yards 2 & 3, designed so we can use from either yard (depending on what side the elephants are on). Another on the outside of Yard 3 (by one of her favorite spots), and the last one will be in Yard 4 near the pond. Karissa, our positive reinforcement training consultant, is coming back this month for a few weeks. We should have all three training walls completed before she arrives so that Karissa (and Lady) can use them. These won’t be used for foot soaks, but they will be used to get Lady to a better place in her understanding of positive reinforcement training and to work on her foot presents for footwork.
There is also a plan to use more of the extra pipe to build a single small stall with an attached medical treatment chute connected to the backside of Yard 4. One of our long-term plans is to expand the Asian habitat after Tamy’s (the male Asian elephant from Mendoza) yard is built. We are building the new stall and chute in such a way that, once we construct a new yard, it will be connected to the two spaces. That means, not only can it be accessed by both yards, but we will be able to use it to shift elephants in and out of the future Yard.
Once we complete the stall/chute area, we can immediately start using it for more in-depth treatments such as foot soaks. This means that Lady won’t have to go back to the barn for her foot soaks if she is spending time at the pond – something she will be delighted about!
Thank you again to everyone who donated to our Fences4Kenya fundraiser!! We are so excited to be able to “stretch” your gifts in this way, to help Lady live her best life as our wonderfully unexpectedly wandering diva. We cannot thank you enough, Kenya can’t thank you enough, and now neither can Lady!
Photo of our awesome maintenance team working on a training wall (& Bugsy “supervising”)
February 5, 2020