Monday, May 18, 2009

It's a Jungle Out There

I went to the San Diego Zoo for the unveiling of a $45 million enclosure called Elephant Odyssey. It opens to the public this Saturday. I met three female elephants will enjoy the 120,000-gallon pool and 2.5-acre dirt yard. Let me introduce you to Tembo, Sumithi and Devi.

Tembo is the only African elephant in the herd. She's enjoying some branches for breakfast and girl is fiesty. While she was eating, she broke off part of a branch and threw it at me with her trunk! It hit me in the thigh.

Did you know elephants have more than 100,000 muscles in their trunk? That's more than humans have in our entire body.

Check out Tembo giving me the stare down.

Here I am like an idiot showing off what she threw at me. The keepers say she's thrown rocks and given some people concussions. Lovely. Do you see her smiling behind me? Brat.

Click on the photo to see her grin.

Below is Sumithi. She's an Asian elephant and leader of the pack. While she knows she's in charge, she's a sweetheart and flaps her ears constantly.
While they were eating, Tembo - being much larger than the other two and therefore hungrier - stole some branches from her. Tembo played it off by backing up and away from Sumithti - a sign of submission. Sweet :) Sumithi liked foraging for hay inside the dice anyway.
Below is my girl.

Devi. When we first entered the zoo, she was the only one in the yard. It was before sunrise and she was meandering around. I started talking baby talk to her, calling her a pretty girl and a baby girl, just like I do with Simba in a high-pitched voice.
Devi froze and walked over to me slowly. She didn't stand right in front of me, she stood off to the side and started to rumble. That's what the keepers call it, but it sounded like a low growl. They told me she was greeting me. We talked back and forth like that for about ten minutes. I had a conversation with an elephant!

Devi also does the coolest thing. She tucks branches into both sides of her cheeks next to her tiny tusks. The keepers say she does it to mimic Tembo's larger tusks. The reason I didn't get a photo of it? I was getting slimed by Mongo the Camel.

Mongo is super slobbery and put both of my hands in his mouth to get his food pellets. He was so full of love I gave his velvety nose a kiss. Looks like he enjoyed it as much as I did.
Look at his eyes & nose & smile. Ignore the foaming at the mouth.

1 comment:

Alya said...

Look at that last pic with the camel's cheeky grin! So cuuuuute!

by the way, every time I comment on your blog I get an email with a Delivery Notification Error. I don't know if you've been told this before or not.


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