Keeper Stories – Tuesday, February 7
It’s been a quiet week in the elephant barn. Kelly and Tara are both doing well and seem to enjoy the mild winter. They still choose to spend most of their time outside even though they have access to a heated barn, and we thank them for their decision because it makes cleaning the barn easier. Kelly has been kept busy with participating in trunk versatility study. Her trunk was recently featured on sciencemag.org, dexterously and daintily picking up a tostada shell without breaking it!
Kelly’s conviviality is nearly boundless and is only surpassed by Tara’s indifference. The concept of carefully grasping a piece of crispy tortilla from atop a force-measuring platform is less interesting to Tara than trying to grasp the expensive machine itself to see if it were edible. But we all have our own individual strengths and interests, I suppose.
The warthogs can’t decide whether to wallow in their mud or stay indoors and keep warm these days, what with the fickleness of the weather. They’re happy regardless, basking in the sun when it’s shining and sleeping under a heat lamp when the skies are gray. As the year progresses, we look forward to our seasonal Warthog Wild Encounters and the chance to share them with their adoring public, and Eleanor looks forward to meeting people and getting her belly scratched while enjoying carrots and celery.
Our little gang of meerkats are all doing well. Scurry is the oldest now and spends most of her days barking at her roommate, Blaze. He’s half her size and rushes around at twice her speed, catching all the crickets before she can react. She usually gets revenge in the form of sitting on his food bowl, and on his face if he doesn’t get out of the way. The other two meerkats, Sniff and Scarlet, are more evenly matched and their food supply is rarely a source of contention. They all run and hide when we enter their habitat to clean or offer enrichment, unless we bring crickets, in which case they all mob our feet and beg.
We Keepers are excited to be getting another human member added to our team this year, and we’re looking forward to having another pair of hands to help with the workload. We’re all looking forward to the upcoming groundbreaking of the Grand New View project, which will feature an all-new African savanna and dramatically expanded elephant habitat, and after years of buildup, construction is scheduled to start this year. Big things are in store, and we’re all honored to be able to take part in progress.
And that’s the news from the elephant barn, where the people are filthy but the intentions are pure.
Keeper II, Mammals