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Nicholas and Gypsy Update — June 20, 2008

It has been a little over a year since Nicholas and Gypsy arrived at the Galt sanctuary. Nicholas is finally starting to grow into his long legs. He is such a playful young man and keeps himself entertained for hours playing with his toys or tapping tunes to himself on the metal pipe stall fence with the end of his trunk. Gypsy is our resident gymnast and can usually be found in a stretched out position reaching for dirt or grass on the other side of the fence, or rolling around in the dirt after a bath. She also enjoys pushing Nicholas around when she tires of playing.

Both elephants are responding well to protected contact training thanks to experts Gail Laule and Margaret Whittaker from Active Environments. This is a non-aversive technique where an elephant receives a food reward each time it follows a target — in this case a Styrofoam ball connected to a stick. Once Nicholas and Gypsy understood that motion towards the target equaled food, they were eager to learn. They are now both willingly presenting their ears for blood draws, positioning feet for foot care and radiographs, and completing yearly trunk washes.

All in all it has been a very successful and rewarding year. We look forward to moving Nicholas and Gypsy to their new home at ARK 2000 by the end of this year.

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

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

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