Saturday, March 2, 2013

Adventures with Elephants

Adventures with Elephants

Morgan Movius

Elephant update for the week of February 25th to March 1st

This week our herd spent time a lot of time foraging and hanging out with Sin Jap and Mario, and by Friday all of the elephants had moved deeper into the conservation forest and we enjoyed seeing a new and different part of the forest. On Friday the elephants were far enough away that we even had to take a truck half of the way, since it was too far to walk! We saw wild orchids, heard gibbons, and started identifying some different tree species.

Interesting observations this week included Boon Jan helping Boon Choo take down a tree, and some stress response behavior in which all the adults, including Sin Jap, grouped around the Pbee Mai and Mario for protection, trumpeting and rumbling. We couldn't identify any reason for their obvious anxiety, but we backed up in case our presence was causing increased stress. Our herd spent a lot of time foraging with Sin Jap and Mario, although we didn't observe any play sessions or extended touching between our elephants and the other pair. On one day we observed excessive secretions coming from Boon Jan's temporal gland, although her behavior did not seem different and it did not seem to continue for more than one day. The reason for this is a mystery to us! Except for the one instance of stress and grouping behavior the elephants seemed to be content and healthy, and we are excited to see where else they go in the conservation forest, and whether they will continue to spend time with Sin Jap and Mario.