I arrived at the zoo today at 10, just while busloads of school children arrived and were lining up to go into the zoo, so I was happy to get there when I did! At the gate, there was a notice that neither Bowie nor Belle would be on exhibit today. I asked Reggie (one of the zoo specialists) about it and he thought that it was just not updated from yesterday, so I decided to walk back to the elephants and check… and what a surprise, Kelly (an Interpretive Specialists) was giving me a ‘thumbs up as I was walking towards her, then I heard little Bowie’s (or actually very loud) trumpet roar and I knew for sure he was there… I ran up and Bowie and Belle were both out along with the three adult females! Bowie is so adorable…. he’s probably about 300 lbs now, Kelly wasn’t sure, and Mike (the other specialist) wasn’t sure either, but he guessed him to be about 300 lbs. The adults there were, of course, Rasha (she’s an old friend of mine now), Bluebonnet (Bowie’s mom) and Angel (another female elephant, the only one that is not blood related). When I got there, Bowie was nursing. Belle is bigger than Bowie, just a little bigger in height but much larger in girth, Bowie is very thin… and very very fuzzy… he has more of a baby face and he is very vocal! The elephant noises on the video are all from little Bowie, you wouldn’t think that something so tiny could make such a loud sound… He would run around the yard and yell… it was just so cute. He’s very active, just like a little boy… I only planned on staying for a short time, but I just could not get enough of them! Now I can cut my visits down to a couple of times a week instead of every day, I’ve been going every day, just to make sure I was there on Bowie’s first day out since the week he was introduced… he was out on exhibit that week, but he was very very small, not preemie, but smaller than most baby elephants when they are born. They wanted to take some extra care to make sure that he and Bluebonnet bonded (the elephant bonding period seems to be a process and very important to the baby elephant’s survival and well being) especially because his weight was so low and also because Bluebonnet is young, she’s only 14 and a first time mom. In one of the videos, Angel (I think) is breaking apart a large log… elephants will break logs and eat the whole thing, but with the babies out there, they have to be a little more careful, so you will see the zookeeper run in and take the log away so the baby isn’t hurt from the splinters of the log. There was one point where Belle and Bowie were pushing each other around while playing, you can see that in some of the still photos that I took.
Bluebonnet was the first elephant born at the Fort Worth Zoo on Dec. 16, 1998.
I plan on visiting the zoo often to watch their growth and progress. I hope you enjoy some of the photos and videos from today!
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