Despite getting on in years, Burma the Asian Elephant has a strong personality and we’ve designed a more intensive style of husbandry to engage and challenge her.
She enjoys her sand yard routine around three times a week which includes sitting and climbing up on a large boulder, then she kneels and rears back, which is great for her flexibility, and also braces, which involves standing on two feet on the same side. This is like an aerobics regime for her helping to not only keep her physically fit but also stimulating her mentally.
She also has a daily bath routine with a pressure cleaner and foot care including trimming her pads and filing her big toe nails. Her other favourite activity is painting several times a week, this includes brush and blow painting which she has only learnt in the last 12 months and thoroughly enjoys. These activities along with grazing on exhibit all day and searching for browse and hidden goodies help to keep Burma busy, and a busy elephant is a happy one!
By Greig Tonkins, Elephant keeper