Each morning, our caregivers drive through the habitat and look at the observation cameras to find out where each elephant is. This helps us to know that all is well, and also to plan where best to set out breakfast and do checkups on the ladies that need a little more attention.
However, when you can’t find an elephant right away, that doesn’t necessarily mean that anything bad has happened; it’s a joy most captive elephants will never know: to get lost in an area of vast space. If something were wrong, the other girls would likely be unsettled. On a recent morning, we were looking for all of the girls and couldn’t initially put eyes on Maia. The group of five were staying in both of the larger yards, so there were many places she could be.
Lady was also out of sight. We looked in all of her normal haunts and weren’t able to immediately locate her. Both Lady and Maia are elephants who love to explore, so it’s fulfilling to know that they’re taking advantage of the parts of the habitat they love the most.
Eventually, Maia was seen crossing from the back of Yard 5 to the front, having probably spent the evening in the farther reaches of the yard and now wondering why she had to wait so long for breakfast. Lady was found grazing in the smaller yards, breaking from her usual morning routine to enjoy some fresh, green grass. Eventually, both girls decided they preferred food to wandering, and Lady got some foot treatments at the barn. It was wonderful to start the day knowing both elephants were making the most of their space.
Photo of a muddy Maia