Belle’s 2nd Birthday – July 7, 2015

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Yesterday, July 7, was Belle’s birthday. Belle is the first baby elephant born in 2013 at the Fort Worth Zoo, the other one is Bowie.   I just got back from a short vacation in San Francisco on Monday night, so I really wasn’t sure if I would be able to find the time to visit with Belle.  Last year, the zoo made hers and Bowie’s birthday very special for them, it was a big celebration, but for some reason, I didn’t see anything anywhere about them celebrating Belle’s or Bowie’s birthdays this year.

At about 2:30 pm, I decided to take a ride over to the zoo, it’s only about 15 minutes from my house, to see Belle and the others.   When I got there, I noticed that the adult females (Rasha, Angel and Bluebonnet) and the two little ones (Belle and Bowie) were in the big yard.  That’s not unusual, but what was unusual was that the gate to the small yard was closed.  It’s normally only closed if Colonel or Casey are out in the big yard to keep them away from the babies, but it’s never closed (not when I have been there, anyway) when the girls and babies are in the yard.

I have been there to visit the elephants so often that I am sure they recognize me.   It may sound crazy, but it’s ok, I still think they notice me.

The 3 adults were standing by the closed gate and the two little ones were playing along the back fence, not too far from the adults, they never wander away from them.

So Bluebonnet saw me, she looked at me and then did a trunk wave! She and Rasha do that to me a lot!

Then I noticed that the zookeepers were all standing by the fence where the visitors normally stand and they were recording something in the small yard with their phones.  The elephants started walking into the small yard, (someone must have opened the gate) and they were all  surprised with a bamboo party for Belle!  They were having so much fun, breaking bamboo, chewing it and playing with it and the zookeepers seemed to be having just as much fun, watching them with the bamboo.

I was talking with one of the zookeepers and he said that the zoo decided not to celebrate individual birthdays this year because so many of the animals had babies (3 giraffes, 3 baby lion cubs, a bonobo, last year a waterbuck and a jaguar, two years ago a baby one horned rhino… and I’m sure I’m missing a few), but the elephant zookeepers couldn’t just let Belle’s birthday go without a celebration.  So they closeed the gate and put bamboo all over the ground and put some for fun in the round balls with holes and when they were finsihed “decorating” they opened the gate so they could all celebrate.  My timing for going was perfect and I was so happy that I snuck a couple of hours out of my day to visit.

Here’s a very short video

As always, thank you for reading this!

Laura