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.