shaba 1 nov 12

A Visit With Shaba

2-27-13: From Elephant Supervisor, Sue Tygielski

Last month I had a great opportunity to visit the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park and meet up with my elephant training colleagues.  It’s always a treat to visit with them and watch them work with the elephants.  I look forward to every opportunity to learn from fellow elephant experts, and to swap stories about training and the daily challenges of caring for a herd of elephants!

After visiting the Park, I went to visit former Tucson elephant Shaba and her Keepers at San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey.  Shaba looks amazing!  She has always been a beautiful elephant with long legs and graceful movements.  Her skin is in great condition, and she looks lean, strong and healthy.  And she still has those long tusks and lovely long eyelashes.  It is clear she is receiving top quality care, just as we knew she would!

I felt so fortunate that the San Diego Zoo staff allowed me to spend time with Shaba in the barn during her morning routine.  It was exciting to watch her move confidently to her outdoor habitat.  There were a few times she lifted her head and double-checked the location of her fellow elephants, but clearly she is comfortable in her new home.  She respects the dominance hierarchy of the group and is coming to understand which elephants will be her closest companions.  It was fun to watch her interact with the other elephants in a dynamic and enriching environment.

Although we stay in touch with Shaba’s new keepers regularly, the best part of my visit was seeing again how much the staff at San Diego Zoo adores her. If you find yourself in San Diego, be sure to stop by and see her –she is out in the yard daily.