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February 11, 2009

To see Gypsy interacting with Rebecca, Annie and Wanda Click Here.


After many years of dedication and devotion to Nicholas, Gypsy has moved to the Asian barn and habitat for a much deserved retirement with Rebecca, Annie and Wanda.

She has enjoyed three days out in the big habitat, carefully exploring every area with a particular interest in the lake. We have watched with great joy as this sweet, unselfish, gentle elephant inspects every tree and bush, munching on grass and stopping to greet the others with trunk touching and rumbles before she moves on to her next exciting experience.

Wanda and Rebecca instantly became Gypsy's new best friends, but Annie is always cautious and hesitant about change. She is scarred mentally and physically by her past experiences, and every introduction of a new elephant to her must be done slowly and

Gypsy has a large stall in the dirt barn with access to another stall in between Annie and Rebecca and Wanda which provides the opportunity for touching, smelling and lots of conversation between the three.

Gypsy is very social and quite at ease with all three of her new companions. Rebecca and Wanda have accepted her presence readily, but Annie is still cautious when the group is outside. She is more comfortable with Gypsy when they are in the barn and often reaches out to her for trunk touching during the night. Unfortunately, Gypsy tries to stay with Annie in the habitat, and Annie still prefers spending her time outside alone. Annie will move out quickly to the distant areas, and poor Gypsy huffs and puffs behind her trying to catch her.

Rebecca appears to have assumed some sort of leadership role which is quite amusing to all of us who spend our days with these incredible individuals. Rebecca has always followed Minnie with little desire to take charge of anything.

We are always surprised when these unrelated individuals forge relationships and develop social patterns despite their troubled history. In captivity, there are no herds and no matriarchs; only dysfunctional and indomitable personalities determined to make the best of the mess we have imposed on them.

Fifteen years ago, I thought I knew a lot about elephants and their behavior; today I realize how little we know about them. Whatever we do for captive elephants, it will never be sufficient and, I am convinced, we will never completely comprehend the depth of loyalty, love and intelligence inherent in elephants.


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

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

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