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Nicholas and Gypsy Update -- May 21 , 2007

Nicholas and Gypsy continue to explore, graze, browse and play the food reward game with Gail Laule and Margaret Whittaker of Active Environments who are assisting us in training the two elephants for TB testing and foot care. Gail and Margaret have developed positive reinforcement for training husbandry behaviors to a fine art and we are so pleased with their work with Nicholas and Gypsy.

Ed and I must divide our week between the Galt elephants and ARK 2000’s group and we need a consistent program for Nicholas and Gypsy so we can get TB testing done to determine whether we must treat one or both of them for TB before moving them to ARK 2000. Nicholas and Gypsy look forward to the “game” and both learn quickly. Nicholas’ favorite foods are oranges, grapefruits and lemons while Gypsy prefers mangoes, artichokes, turnips and eggplant.

They eagerly leave the yard to work with their primary keeper, Brian Busta and Gail and Margaret behind the protected contact wall. Their participation is voluntary and they always stay until the session is over and their final “jackpot” of popcorn and Jelly Belly jelly beans is consumed. A big thank you to Maggie and Herm at Jelly Belly for their donation of slightly irregular jelly beans for Nicholas & Gypsy.

The two play together, share food, baths, mud and dirt calmly and Gypsy keeps Nicholas in line whenever he starts to play too rough. They are particularly entertaining at open houses keeping the crowds laughing as they slip and slide in their mud wallows. Viewing is limited to 300 feet away, but the two are quite visible on their hill and their trumpets, squeaks and rumbles are very audible from a distance.

Both elephants are eating a variety of the trees that we have grown on the property for the elephants--red and silver maple, fruitless mulberry, willow, bamboo, liquidamber and acacia. Our campaign to build a habitat and barn for the two is underway thanks to Bob Barker and his generous pledge of $500,000. We have received another pledge from one of our members to match Bob’s generous donation so we are beginning construction soon.

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

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

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