By Jordan Schaul
A day after the International Day for Biological Diversity was celebrated worldwide, our growing herd of rescued elephants at our facility in Agra, not far from the ABRF, received some special visitors from from Yes Bank. They arrived eager to plant some ornamental plants to not only beautify the elephant grazing and exercise yard, but to provide some potential natural shade structures for our elephants.
Baiju Raj, the manager of our bear rescue center, who also oversees activities concerning elephants coordinated this special event. It was a huge hit not only for the representatives from Yes Bank, but for Rajesh our bull elephant who was in residence to welcome guests for a special photo opportunity. The cows were out with our mahouts, enjoying their daily walk and so Rajesh had the guests all to himself. He showed off his reach and his strength when he disassembled and pulled down and enrichment device containing sugar cane much to the dismay of one of the mahouts.
Because of the periodic hormonal condition known as musth and their great size and strength, bull elephants at our rescue center our managed differently than the cows. We don’t use bull hooks or other instruments associated with negative reinforcement or punishment. Our elephants are managed using positive reinforcement, which is fairly rare in India.
Again, we thank Yes Bank for their support and contribution to our elephant care and enrichment program on behalf of the International Day for Biological Diversity.