With baby elephant Nandi’s first birthday upon us (August 20), we asked her keepers to give us with an update about her growth and progress, and how she spends her days. Here’s what they said:
Nandi has begun a training program, but it’s still very basic. She’s learning to follow her trainers, and to keep all four feet on the ground during training sessions—even when she gets excited and wants to climb things. She needs to learn good manners when she’s with her trainers so they can start to work on more advanced behaviors.
She’s still nursing a lot, but has begun eating quite a bit of solid food too, including hay, pellets, and fresh branches. Nandi’s keepers say she eats pretty much all day long; she’s gained over 600lbs since her birth, and all that growth requires lots of food!
Nandi still takes naps in the afternoon after exploring her exhibit all morning, but other than that she’s awake most of the day, and sleeps at night in short bursts.
She interacts with all the other members of her herd, but her clear favorite is brother Sundzu. She frequently seeks him out and encourages him to play with her. Her other favorite thing is climbing—she will climb just about anything: sand hills, logs, cable fences and, when they’re in the mudpit together, Sundzu!
We’re planning a party for Nandi’s first birthday on August 20.