In the African lion exhibit, the male lion jumped onto a platform right next to a floor-to-ceiling glass window. He had the same look that the male African lion had at the San Diego Zoo when he growled at a keeper walking by, calm on the surface but you don’t know what’s going on inside. A female lion had been sniffing the ground and then started making faces.
A gorilla enjoying a cob of corn. There is no glass around the gorilla enclosure. With all the busloads of kids that go through the exhibit, think glass would be a good idea both to lessen the noise the gorillas have to endure and to prevent kids from throwing things into the exhibit.
Moved north to Escondido to visit the San Diego Wild Animal Park, mainly to see the baby elephant born on Valentine’s Day (above). Parked my rv in their parking lot the first day ($11 parking fee). It was nice to be able to return to the rv mid-day and then go back to the park rested. When I arrived they told me that they are offering rv hookup sites for the night on a trial basis for $75. That would be incredible, but $75 a night is too much for me.
Often female elephants form a protective circle around the calf. Especially if he wants to lay down to rest or they want to shield him from the sun on hot days.
Sometimes you see the mother and calf by themselves, but more often Khosi, a 4-year-old female, “the babysitter”, is with them (above right). She is practicing her mothering skills for the future and is also a friend more on eye level with the calf.
Above, a protective circle of females around the calf. It looks like he is nursing from a female that’s not his mom (an auntie). His mom is on the left. Must be hard to tell the difference from below.
While the young females practice being mothers, the young males practice fighting. Three-year-old Impunga, “the instigator”, has been challenging Moose, a 6-year-old male, since he was very young. The two chased each other all over the holding area while I was there, at times slipping in the mud. In the video above, you can hear Moose trumpeting off camera. When he lays down to rest, a young elephant runs over to playfully try to climb on top of him.
While mothering skills are no doubt important for the young females to learn, wonder how useful the fighting skills will be for the males. The zoo recently got a new adult bull African elephant, but he has not been introduced to the herd yet. They want to diversify the gene pool, but introducing a new elephant into a herd can be tricky. Just ask the keepers at the Elephant Odyssey at the San Diego Zoo. They are trying to merge several different groups of Asian elephants and it is a slow process. When I was there one female elephant had been bitten by another one and had to be started on antibiotics.
Below, greeters at the Wild Animal Park entrance: Samson, the dancing hyacinth macaw and a pair of green-winged macaws.
Kalluk, on the right, got out of the water and went up to Tatqiq, on the left, and tagged her to come and play. She followed him into the water for one of their play sessions. Kalluk first lets his sister attack him, but he gets rougher as it goes on. They eventually separate to different areas.
The zoo has a new elephant exhibit for Asian elephants. The inside area where elephants receive care is where the public passes by and can observe. Above, one keeper gives an elephant treats while another works on the elephant’s foot.
There was a note on the elephant cam that they were going to bring snow in. I was so close, thought why not go see them again. The adults were the ones who enjoyed it the most…hunting for treats hidden in it.
Khosi giving Punga a hug.
Female making haste with hay.
Lungile and her baby girl, just a few weeks old. Apparently 3-year-old Moose was beating up on the baby. As Lungile is the lowest ranking elephant, she cannot go after Moose, as his mother would then attack Lungile. So, for now, they are keeping Moose away from the new mother and baby. Today they were in the enclosed area by the barn. When I was there before, Moose was in this area. They will keep doing this till the calf is able to defend herself.
I recall Moose picking on Khosi, when she was young. But her mother would look out for her and keep him away if needed. In the zoo magazine it says that Moose would often try to kick Khosi and that Khosi’s mom knocked Moose to the ground with a head butt at least one time! Moose was the baby of the herd for three years, so it must be hard on him to see all the new babies getting all the attention.
Stayed at Dos Picos County Park in Romona, California for two days. Fortunately, it was not damaged in the recent fires. Love the way they use bark and leaves for mulch under the oak trees and don’t try to grow grass.
Dos Picos has a fishing pond, which had visiting ducks and coots while I was there. It is also just 20 miles from the San Diego Wild Animal Park that I wanted to visit to see the elephants. Two babies have been born since I was last there, the youngest is just a few weeks old.
Baby Kamile. You can see some fire damage in the background.
Kamile nursing, with Khosi and Punga next to her and Kamile’s mom, Umoya, keeping an eye on the group. Umoya allowed Khosi to nurse from her before Kamile was born, thus giving Khosi two mom’s, her real mom, Umngani, and Umoya. After Kamile was born, Khosi continued her claim on Umoya, so that Umoya has been nursing both girls. There has to be some sibling rivalry there. At times, on the elephant cam, I have seen Umoya try to avoid Khosi.
Punga, the male calf.
Being the first born in the recent group of births seems to have given Khosi some status. She is comfortable with both the adult and young elephants. Here, Kamile and her mom look her way.
Wanted to stop and see the elephants at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido, California. I am a big fan of both them and the zoo’s pandas but, being new to towing, thought it best to settle for the elephants, rather than try to get closer in to San Diego to see the pandas.