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Nicholas and Gypsy Update -- April 17, 2007

After two weeks of constant scrutiny and evaluation, we are pleased to note that the two elephants are still as devoted and dependent on each other as they were when they first arrived. They are adapting readily to their new environment and human companions, and they are both becoming confident in their surroundings and the positive reinforcement training sessions which they really enjoy. During training sessions (for trunk wash and blood draws critical to TB testing), Nicholas tends to displace Gypsy at times, but she often displaces him as well. Both steal treats from the other one if they are working together, but neither elephant becomes aggressive over the treats. Last week, Nicholas was blocking Gypsy’s way out of the barn refusing to allow her to pass through the chute to the yard. Gypsy waited patiently for a few minutes, then put her head down and plowed past Nicholas like a tank. At one point, she actually put her head under his neck and lifted his two front feet off the ground. Fortunately, Janice was running the video camera and recorded the event (please see Nicholas and Gypsy April 12, 2007 update for video footage). When we reviewed the tape, it was obvious that Gypsy knows how to deal with Nicholas in any situation. We are aware that their relationship will change as Nicholas matures, but, at present, there is definitely no danger that Nicholas may harm Gypsy. Another benefit of having twenty-four hour keeping staff is our ability to monitor all behavior closely and to evaluate any behavioral changes. We are watching carefully for signs of aggression, but it is a joy to see the devoted attachment between the two elephants whom we have dubbed our “odd couple”.


Performing Animal Welfare Society
PO Box 849, Galt, CA 95632

(209) 745-2606 office/shelter
(209) 745-1809 fax

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