Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays from Zuri and Hogle Zoo!

So the weather outside hasn't been totally frightful this week, in fact at the start of the week Christie and Zuri were able to spend some time outside in the sunshine. Elephant Encounter was designed to give the elephants the opportunity to go out even in the colder winter months, and Zuri always enjoys her heated pads in the yard.

Zuri is still starting to experiment with eating solid foods and has really been getting used to her trunk! The keepers say she seems to be getting some dexterity in her trunk and gets more used to what it can do each day. When Zuri went outside at the start of the week, she had her choice of watermelon chunks or grapes but she had a little bit of a tough time getting her trunk around the watermelon. In fact, she just smashed her forehead into the fleshy watermelon bits on the ground and then used her trunk to instead pick up grapes and daintily put them into her mouth. Hey, it's a start! Here's to Zuri's first Christmas at Hogle Zoo, she really seems festive right now!

Click here for Hogle Zoo's holiday e-card featuring our own little elf Zuri.
Happy holidays from Utah's Hogle Zoo!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bathtime for Baby

Since the bitter cold weather right now has brought the elephants inside a little more often, Baby Zuri recently had a scrubbing soap bath! These scrubbing baths are very healthy for the elephants, as they provide care of feet and skin.

Zuri didn't seem to like the first scrubby brush the elephant keepers used, she threw her head up and made it clear it wasn't her favorite! Then the keepers changed up bathtime and used a different scrub brush that Zuri didn't seem to mind. The second scrubber was the big orange brush and she stuck around for it-- maybe it reminded her of a giant Feast with the Beast pumpkin?

Monday, December 7, 2009

There's a chill in the air

The weather is certainly turning out to be frosty and Zuri and Christie are spending quite a bit of time inside the elephant barn at Hogle Zoo. While the cement pads in Elephant Encounter are heated to give the girls a chance to get outside even on winter's cooler days, the blowing wind and very cold temperatures we've had in the last little while make it so they've got to stay inside. On the positive side, this will give the keepers the chance to do some training with Zuri while they train with Christie, so there is still work being done!

Eric, one of Hogle Zoo's elephant keepers, sent over some photos that he took of Zuri on Thanksgiving and we wanted to pass them along to you. In addition to being one of Hogle Zoo's fantastic elephant staff, you can see Eric's a great photographer. Plus, he's got great subject matter as he gets to work with Baby Zuri every day

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast with the Beast

For the past few years the elephants have gotten giant pumpkins to smash for Hogle Zoo's annual Thanksgiving Feast with the Beast event. This year was no exception as there were big pumpkins all around Elephant Encounter! Dari got a giant pumpkin of her very own and Christie and baby Zuri got a couple of big pumpkins over in the working yard.

Here are some photos taken by the Deseret News as part of their Thanksgiving in Utah gallery.
You can see that Christie had quite a good time smashing up her 742 pound pumpkin, then Zuri followed suit by trying to smash one of her own.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Feast with the Beast training

You can see that Zuri is working out with her ball as she trains for her first Thanksgiving Feast with the Beast this Thursday morning. It's true, Zuri will have her first chance to play with a 700 pound pumpkin. Certainly not to be missed! Feast with the Beast is November 28 from 9 to noon, Zoo hours are from 9 to 4, and we can give you a little hint to get to Elephant Encounter to see Zuri and her pumpkin before 10 am.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Sorry everyone, the last post on Zuri's weight was incorrect. We accidentally typed 342 pounds instead of 442 pounds. A slip of the finger, and we very much apologize for that. It has been corrected, and Zuri has not lost any weight!

Thanks for letting us know!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today's weigh-in

Zuri continues to steadily grow and weighs in today at 442 pounds. In talking with her keepers, she didn't seem to much mind the snow flurries that fell on Saturday afternoon. In fact, there wasn't enough to accumulate within her yard at Elephant Encounter, so she just hung out on her heated paddock and waited for the sunshine to come back out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little Pumpkin

The term "little" is used a bit loosely in the title because Zuri is getting bigger each day! Just this morning, the elephant team revealed that Zuri is at 410 pounds, yet still as active as ever.

Fall is a fun time because there is such an abundance of fresh pumpkin for the elephants. Zuri recently discovered this crazy gourd and has even figured out she can eat. Hogle Zoo elephant keeper Eric Peterson says, "She mostly sticks her head down into the pumpkin, but she has been picking pieces up with her trunk to see what it tastes like." Who says kids can't play with their food?

Each year on Thanksgiving, Hogle Zoo hosts a special event called "Feast with the Beast" where animals get feedings of different foods, and even some get turkey-shaped pinatas filled with tasty treats. This "something special" is called enrichment in the zoo world, and is a great way to keep the animals mentally healthy. A couple of years ago, the elephants started smashing 1,000 pound pumpkins as part of this festive time. The fun continues this year now that Zuri is part of the Hogle Zoo family, and there will be plenty of pumpkins for the elephants to kick and stomp at Elephant Encounter.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Happy Halloween

It's baby's first Halloween and she seems to really enjoy the changing seasons. During Hogle Zoo's Boo at the Zoo event last Saturday, Zuri was on display and spending quite a bit of time with her bucket. She played soccer with the bucket, then she flipped the bucket upside-down, with intentions of standing on her new little pedestal like she was queen of the bucket. Unfortunately, the bucket crunched flat under Zuri's weight and when she turned to look at it, seemed she wondered why it didn't hold her.

Here are some photos of Zuri with her bucket:

Her kiddie pool:

And her box:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thoughts from Hogle Zoo elephant manager Doug Tomkinson

Today’s Zuri photo is chuckle-worthy because it looks like she has started practicing yoga. This “downward elephant” posture really helps purification of the mind!

While Zuri isn’t really practicing this ancient form of exercise, Hogle Zoo Elephant Manager Doug Tomkinson says he believes the elephant team will start training with her in November or December. Training for husbandry procedures, for enrichment and for exercise is critical to the well-being of elephants, and the keepers will help Zuri learn behaviors which will be useful in her care. For instance, having an elephant lift their foot helps the keepers make sure the bottoms of their feet are clear of rocks or anything else that might make standing or walking uncomfortable. When elephants get older, they learn to present their ear to the keepers for procedures like blood draws or checkups. Behaviors like these might seem easy to the average person, but this all takes significant hours, weeks and work on the part of the keepers. Training also helps bond the animals to their keepers and establishes important relationships.

Right now, however, Zuri seems to be learning and exploring very well on her own. Tomkinson talks a little bit about his experience with Zuri this week:

It’s been just over ten weeks since Zuri was born and she is still adventurous and independent. It’s surprising to me that her curiosity hasn’t lessened. I’m amazed by Zuri every single day; even today when I watched her climb on a log and on her balance beam, I am amazed by her strength and agility. I watch her try new things and see how quickly she learns that she can lift her front legs and then her back legs before she energetically takes off running across her yard.

Zuri continues to seek out new things like solid foods like fruit, hay or popcorn but her trunk isn’t developed enough to help her out with the eating, so she often just sticks her head down through the food just to see what happens. She is still nursing, and will for quite a while.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rule #18: Limber up!

It's important to limber up, balance and stretch before performing activities like running around your yard, nursing with mom and rolling in the mud. Zuri has mastered the art of limbering, and also appears to be gearing up for Nutcracker Ballet auditions this holiday season.

Update: Zuri weighed in at 374 pounds today!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still a mama's girl

This photo was sent in and simply too cute not to pass along:

Happy Monday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Two months, a hundred pounds

Zuri has gained 100 pounds since she was born just two months ago. When Zuri came into the world, she weighed in at 251 pounds and yesterday she tipped the scale at 352 pounds. Of course, you have to think that one day Zuri will weigh nearly 8,000 pounds so she's still very small.

While it is getting cooler outside, the Elephant Encounter area is unique in that quite a bit of it is heated. This was by design so that the elephants will have the opportunity to be outside even for a few hours during the winter time. Zuri discovered that the cement pad part of the yard is heated so she's spending some time sprawling out there. You know in the summertime when little kids just finish running through the sprinklers and lay down on the cement to get warm? That's kind of what Zuri looks like after she splashes in a mud puddle and then lays down on her cement pad!

Zuri is also enjoying her ball, here's the proof:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sticks and stones...

Today Zuri found a new toy in her exhibit... To a Hogle Zoo visitor this toy might just be referred to as a "stick." But to a baby elephant just two months old this week, this stick was sheer bliss and an entire morning of entertainment.

A couple of Hogle Zoo staffers walked back into their office this morning just laughing. It turns out the pair had spent some time watching Zuri in her yard, playing with her with her stick, and it seemed to make their entire day. They also particularly liked Zuri's almost choreographed footwork on the concrete balance beam in her yard and got a thrill over watching Zuri still getting used to her little legs.

One of the Hogle employees mused, "I was surprised at how long she stays focused on something!" The other said, "She is very tenacious," and little Zuri certainly is.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New Stats!

Zuri weighed in this week at 330 pounds and now measures 39" at the shoulder. They grow up so quickly!

The keepers at Elephant Encounter also got to spend some of the morning having two of the Nu Skin Jazz dancers help them clean the working yard to film some fun "Jazz Dancer Adventures" to show in this year's Utah Jazz games. The gals did a great job, and were really excited when they got a chance to see little Zuri playing in the yard that they had helped get ready for the day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Popcorn and Trumpets

Here's a little Zuri report that was passed along from the keepers at Elephant Encounter:

Zuri let out her first trumpet! It was a small but determined little sound. We'd presented Christie with a large pile of popcorn inside the barn and when we opened the doors to bring the elephants in for the night, Zuri charged through the pile, feet kicking popcorn in all directions! Christie followed close behind, used her trunk to scoop the bulk of the pile away from Zuri and began to eat it. Zuri looked up and mom and, "PTHWEEEET!", let out three hearty trumpets in protest. Once we realized that the familiar sound was coming in miniature form not from Christie, but from ZURI, our hearts collectively melted.

As mom ate the majority of the pile, Zuri walked around using the tip of her trunk (with impressive dexterity for her age!) to grasp individual kernels of popcorn and put them in her mouth. She [Zuri] experiments with any of the food she sees mom eating though she'll still nurse a few gallons of milk from mom every day for the next few years. A few moments later, as she walked away from us, we could see the smashed popcorn shoe soles she had given herself as well.

Thanks to Trina at Elephant Encounter for passing along this account of Zuri's popcorn experience.

Friday, October 2, 2009

More Zuri fans!

There are quite a few people who are getting a chance to see Zuri, even with the cooler temperatures, and we're getting a chance to read people's experiences they're sharing on their blogs. Thank you! Here are some links to the latest:

Gnome Sweet Gnome- Review: Hogle Zoo
The Hansen Chronicles...- Hogle Zoo
Belliston Clan- Hogle Zoo

And be sure to check out some great photos from Hogle Zoo supporter JR Photography on flickr.

Have fun reading about our visitors' experiences with Zuri! These links are not created by Hogle Zoo, nor is Hogle Zoo responsible for any of the content found therein. For more background information on Zuri, visit our Hogle Zoo Web site here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Crispy fall weather...

Right now the days are beautiful but the weather forecast is pointing to cooler weather later this week. The forecast calls for lower temperatures beginning Wednesday, so it's possible Zuri will not be on exhibit. Elephant Encounter does have heated areas for the elephants but with Zuri still so small, the animal care staff will assess the temperatures to make sure that she doesn't catch a chill.

Life with Baby Zuri is certainly day-by-day, and it's a learning process for Hogle Zoo to make sure she is healthy and happy! We will have regular updates here, as well as on our Facebook and Twitter to keep visitors informed on Zuri's exhibit hours as we head into winter.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Zuri's Wednesday adventure!

Zuri and Christie are still on exhibit, enjoying the mild first days of fall. While Zuri is still nursing, she has tried experimenting with some watermelon frozen in an ice block. Zuri didn't seem to grasp the concept of eating the watermelon but she did enjoy the ice block; quite a bit of time was spent smashing the chunk of ice with her head. Apparently mom's milk is still Zuri's meal of choice.

Zuri weighed in at 314 pounds yesterday and is more energetic than ever.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Blog Feature Tuesday

Photo by @kris247

We had such a busy weekend at Hogle Zoo, and Zuri was on exhibit for her visitors. Quite a few people are blogging about their time with Zuri at Hogle Zoo, so it's only appropriate that we share some of the great things folks are saying about Hogle Zoo and baby Zuri.

Here are a few blogs we found about people who have already come to see Zuri and her mom Christie:
Babies at Utah's Hogle Zoo
Go see Zuri at Hogle Zoo
Vilela: Hogle Zoo
Cooper Family: Hogle Zoo

Have fun reading about our visitors' experiences with Zuri! These links are not created by Hogle Zoo, nor is Hogle Zoo responsible for any of the content found therein. For more background information on Zuri, visit our Hogle Zoo Web site here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Deseret News video

If you haven't gotten to check out this video the Deseret News uploaded after Zuri's media preview last week, give it a look. It captures her energy and personality perfectly!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baby Zuri's name officially announced

Thank you to everyone who voted on a name for Hogle Zoo's baby elephant. The winning name is Zuri, which received nearly half of the public votes submitted at Hogle Zoo and Sizzler and Red Robin restaurants.

As of Zuri's public debut last Friday, she weighed in at 306 pounds and is active and running around her yard. Zuri is quite energetic, but her mom Christie is handling that well, and both are very happy and healthy.

Here are some more pictures of Zuri taken last week at Hogle Zoo:

You can also see more video of Baby Zuri uploaded by our friends at Fox 13 by clicking here and Fox's photos here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Just one month old...

On Friday September 11, Hogle Zoo debuted their new female African elephant to their visitors.

On Tuesday September 15, the baby's name was announced; and that name is Zuri. Swahili for "adorable or beautiful," our new Baby Zuri certainly is.

And full of energy.

Keep coming back to for more stories of Zuri's adventures at Utah's Hogle Zoo!