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.