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Maggie's Friends Attend the Holiday Open House at Ark 2000

A group of friends and supporters from all over the world visited Maggie during the holiday open house at ARK 2000 on December 8th., and some of her most ardent supporters attended a special “Seeing the Elephants” on the preceding Friday so they could spend as much time as possible with their beloved elephant.

The Friday event was an exciting insight into the problems associated with socialization of unrelated elephants and the tenacity with which elephants cling to established routines.
We decided to reverse the normal routine that day and take Maggie for a walk around the big habitat before 71, Mara, Lulu and Ruby went out. Our usual procedure involves taking 71 and Mara out first, Lulu and Ruby after them and Maggie last.

Moving Maggie out first was not a good idea! Maggie followed us to the big habitat, then, realizing the others were not going out with her, bellowed a very loud alarm rumble which resonated across the mountain and precipitated a thunderous response from the group inside the barn. As we scrambled to open gates allowing Maggie to return to the barn and rejoin the others, the trumpets, rumbles and roars escalated to a deafening pitch and the barn shook as all four elephants ran up and down the halls and stalls trying to find a way out to Maggie. Lulu raced down the long hall flinging branches, dirt and poop indiscriminately with Ruby following behind her dodging the shower of debris and bellowing her own annoyance at this unexpected disruption of their daily routine.

Once Maggie was back in the barn, the greeting ceremony was initiated by 71, and the five elephants spent the next hour touching trunks, temples and various body parts, rumbling and standing butt to butt as we tried to restore our auditory nerves to their previous capacity before the eruption.

It was obvious to all that Maggie, the lone elephant from Alaska, had bonded deeply for life with 71’s group and changes in the daily routine had to be carefully planned in the future. Our group of visitors had a unique experience- the very graphic demonstration of elephant social structure and the explosive results of unnecessary changes in their daily routine.

On Saturday, routine was restored and all five elephants calmly left the barn in the orderly fashion which is their daily practice. Maggie was the star of the day with an eclectic crowd of local and international admirers visiting her and her doting elephant companions throughout the day. The elephants enjoyed special holiday treats of candy canes (one per elephant) and huge pine Christmas trees. Ruby and Lulu wore their trees for part of the day, then consumed most of the remainder.

Maggie stayed close to the fence and her best friends for life, bringing her hay and tree over close enough for Ruby to steal, and Maggie pulled 71’s pile of goodies over to her side of the fence. The other elephants hastily ate their candy canes, but Maggie kept the delicious morsel in her mouth sucking noisily with eyes closed for a long time.

It was a beautiful day for elephants and those who love them.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

AN ELEPHANT SIZED THANK YOU TO THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY IN TENNESSEE AND THEIR MEMBERS FOR THE GENEROUS DONATION OF FUNDS FOR MAGGIE, NIC, GYPSY AND RUBY!

 

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