One big difference between Okutala and Harnas is that Okutala have the big animals like giraffes and elephants. The 3 yearling giraffes are fun to bottle feed. Bottle feeding a 2 m tall animals - you have to stand on a platform. And watching a giraffe run - looks like it’s running in slow motion. During the day they just wander around the yard. They actually just got released 2 weeks after I left. Hoping they are doing well.
The elephants we didn’t do a lot with but Dr. Simone is a elephant specialist did take us down there a few times. She loves her elephants and could talk about them all day. She did give us a 2 hour intro to elephants which was super interesting. All of this way done while sitting about the elephant area up on a platform so we could still watch them.
There are 4 young elephants ranging from 1.5 yrs to 3.5yrs. This is not the ideal situation at all. I had never really thought about it but elephants are very very close family animals. When there is a situation of to many elephants and some need to be culled it is generally the adults who get culled. This is the situation that happened. Baby elephants are easier to transport and care for. But in the long run bad since the baby elephants don’t have anyone to discipline them. When they become teenagers big troubles tend to start. They have been recorded accounts about herds of teenaged elephants actually going around killing rhinos just cause since they didn’t have any older elephants. ( top alpha elephant is always the oldest one and they stay alpha until they die). As soon as an older, elephant is put in with the teenagers , all of that stopped.
So Dr. Simone is looking for an older elephant to solve future problems. There is an older female and her own son on the property and she is radio collard but she is very wild and shy after being next to her friend that was shot and killed when it was still a hunting lodge. They are hoping that they may be able to release the 4 baby elephants with her if they can’t find a different older female.
I actually ended up hearing the intro to elephants talk twice but it was just as the second time. Charlotte, Livia and I got to help hide all of the elephant food around their paddock. Dr Simone is trying to teach them how to find food for themselves. And it makes their day more interesting for them. So we hid lots of monkey oranges, flakes of hay, seedpods, apples.
We did get to spend the afternoon on an elephant “walk” which is more of an elephant observation at close range. We took one of the elephants outside of the paddock and let her do what ever she wanted too. Very impressive to see her break tree branches with ease and just to chill wandering from bush to bush munching on leaves. All of this within 5-10 feet range. And what was nice was that the gate to her paddock was left open so she has the choice to go back whenever she wants too.
Very cool experience.
Very cool experience.
Oh and yes these 4 still get milk but it’s easier since it is only in a bucket that they drink from and not bottles.