March 14, 2013
On our next stop for the Elephant Trails photo blog, we are touring the Elephant Trek—a unique exercise and enrichment trail in addition to Shanthi, Ambika and Kandula’s four habitats. The Elephant Trek begins at the Homer and Martha Gudelsky Elephant Outpost and ends near the Bird House. It provides our elephants with a fun way to exercise, offers different views of the park, and plants and trees to eat along the way.
A camera and ladder help us to capture every area from an elephant’s point of view. The Elephant Trek is not accessible to the public, but can be viewed through the woods, looking down from Bird House loop or up from the American Trail entrance.
Shanthi, Ambika, and Kandula are exploring their new barn and habitats, and the Elephant Community Center opens to the public in less than two weeks! We will give you an inside peek at their new living area next week so check back soon!
Approaching the midway point on the Trek, this photo shows Shanthi’s point-of-view as she looks back to see if Ambika is following. The Elephant Trails trek is a one-of-a-kind exercise path just for our elephants. Roundtrip, this half-mile pathway winds around a hill that overlooks American Trail and ends at Birdhouse Circle.
At the top of the hill, keepers place a small snack for our elephants to eat while they listen to neighboring kori bustards, king vultures, and scarlet ibis.
Gazing at the freshly fallen snow, our elephants enjoy a crisp winter afternoon. Overlooking American Trail, they often stop to listen to wolves, sea lions, and ravens.
Wildlife neighbors including deer, fox, raccoons, chipmunks, barred owls, and hawks are frequent sights as the elephants hike through the woods. Large shade trees overhanging the Trek provide opportunities to browse on branches or leaves throughout the year.
Heading back towards the Elephant Outpost completes the trip along the Trek. Walking up and down the winding path exercises different muscles, keeping our multi-generational herd healthy and fit.
Delicious vegetation is Shanthi’s last stop along the Trek. Our elephants enjoy this opportunity to explore outside their habitats every day.