Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elephant Babies!

My friend Shelbie is in town visiting this weekend and she wanted to go to the zoo after my suggestion to visit the elephant babies. What a great idea that was! The helpful old man volunteer, Frank, was in the elephant house telling us all sorts of facts about the 500 pound, 4 month old baby elephant, her mom, her brother, and her dad. We spent about an hour in there just watching the family hang out.

Frank let us hold a piece of tusk that broke off Jack the bull elephant 9 years ago. He showed us his green apron, which once hung between the cages filled with carrots. One of the elephants smelled the carrots, snagged the apron with her trunk, ate it, and pooped it out again. Frank says he washed the apron 4 times after recovering it from the pile of poop. I think it's amazing that an elephant colon is so large it has space for an entire green apron.

Frank kept pulling the most amazing things from that apron. A piece of skin the baby elephant had shed (sooooooo soft), teeth from the other elephants, more of the tusk. We learned that humans are elephants only predators and that evil, evil demon humans poach them for ivory that brings in $350 a pound. I think Frank said something like 18,000 elephants die every year for their tusks.

These are highly intelligent beings, whose eyes look at you knowingly and smartly. These are creatures that bury their dead for heaven's sake, and people kill them for their teeth! It made me ill, especially watching the little baby Victoria hop around chewing on a chain because, Frank said, it felt good on her growing teeth and gums.

We smelled a bit like elephant poop when we left there, but I suggest only going to the zoo on days when Frank is going to be in the elephant house. Because we learned so much about those amazing creatures. Worth every penny of the exhorbitant $12 "winter rate."

1 comment:

elephant loving ellen said...

O-O-O, I am so jealous! I want to see the baby elephant. We saw an elephant family at the Washington DC zoo this summer. I was mesmerized and just hung out there as long as I could. Frank.