This has been a really interesting year for our elephant herd, with some big changes and huge welfare improvements.
The major change has been swapping our lovely bull elephant Jums with Coco from Cabarceno in Spain. Jums is now in sunnier climes with 14 other African elephants, and we hear rumours that he has already mated some females there.
Coco, our new bull is still young but has recently become a father (female calf at Cabarceno), so we have high hopes for him here. He has some growing to do before he can impress Masa, Tammi, or Shibi but at 3570kg he’s well on his way and our young females are really rather taken with him.
We have improved our housing by installing freezer flaps on all the doors to retain the heat. This means we never need to lock the elephants in overnight so they can all choose which house to sleep in, and who to spend time with. It’s lovely to see them have this freedom of choice, and the choices they make are often quite surprising. The record so far is 7 elephants all huddled quite happily in one 50 square metre house J. This has been a real turning point for our little orphan Juluka, who is now quite often found bunked in with our matriarch Masa in the mornings.
We have also upgraded the elephants heating with brand new boilers, and are pleased to say that the houses have stayed nice and warm even on the coldest of winter nights.
Little Mchumba, who has just turned 5, has recently had an operation to clean and fill a tusk which he had damaged by being a little too boisterous. We are pleased to report that the operation was a success and the tusk will continue to grow normally.
Plans for this year are to improve the paddocks by adding more sand, and hopefully to get the cameras working in all the houses so we can monitor the elephants through the night. We’ve also added some oil filled radiators to our Amazon Wish List, as Coco’s heating is still to be upgraded and we would like it just a bit warmer in there since he’s come over from Spain.
Thanks to Rachel Weatherley for letting us use these wonderful photos!