This trip was initiated for AES President, Linda, to present at Buffalo Zoo. And then the road trip grew…
First, a stop at Columbus Zoo to visit Adam Felts, who is busy preparing to host the 2017 Elephant Managers Association conference in October (*), docent Nancy Mulholand, whom Linda met years ago when paired as roommates on a fantastic Earthwatch project in Tsavo, Kenya, and, of course, big Asian bull Hank and ‘his girls’!
Then Buffalo Zoo where Mindy Ussrey arranged for AES to do a presentation to staff and volunteers and have some time with their two elephants, Surapa and Jothi. The lunchtime presentation was well attended, with refreshments also provided, and Asian Elephant Support truly appreciated this opportunity to introduce ourselves to that audience.
Next, a visit to Rochester Zoo where Janet Dray, a fellow elephant enthusiast who will be traveling to Kenya with Linda in August, shared the day meeting keepers and staff as well as many zoo residents in addition to their lovely African elephants.
Finally, up to Hamilton, Ontario, for a day’s visit at African Lion Safari, the home to one very exceptional Asian elephant program. Charlie Gray’s ability, experience, and dedication to the Asian elephant – from its history through its needs today and into the future – are as good as they get! Sebastian made sure we had a complete visit, from barn visit throughout all that a full day offers, and Linda’s hat is tipped to Taren for her talent, as well as athletic ability in demonstrating various elephant mounts and dismounts, during a program that educates the public about the Asian elephant, his relationship to us, our shared history, and our responsibility for his future.
It is always good – and important – to visit others to share our efforts and also learn about all the ways others who care for elephants are putting forth their time, energy, and resources to do all possible to insure a future for both Asian and African elephants. For the time they give on such visits, our sincere thanks and appreciation!
(*) All serious Elephant Enthusiasts: this is an excellent opportunity that includes a pre-conference trip visit to Cincinnati Zoo (think baby hippo Fiona!), learn a lot about elephants during a couple days of good papers and opportunities to visit with keepers and vets from across the country and abroad, a wonderful Zoo Day at Columbus (if you haven’t seen their polar bear and African savannah exhibits, much less met Asian bull elephant Hank…you really must!), and topped off with a wonderful post-trip conference to The Wilds! Check out the Elephant Managers Association Conference 2017 and consider joining us. AES will be there, updating all on our past year’s work as well as having an information and merchandise table.