Tembo and Sunda Update 2-14-13
I visited Tembo and Sunda at the Topeka Zoo on February 10, 2013. It was about 50 degrees with a chilly wind, but they were outside in their yard. I was going partly to see if any of the “enrichments” had taken place that the zoo staff had promised. There were about 15 logs, one tree trunk, 3 giant tires , a smashed barrel which is usually there, and two piles of sand. There was no water in their tiny “pond.” I did not see the hay hammocks they had talked about hanging up high, but those could have been inside the barn which is almost always closed to the public. The piles of sand would be more comfortable places to lie down than on the hard packed earth.
I watched Tembo and Sunda’s behavior. They had evidently finished their food and were moving slowly about the yard ignoring all the objects and the sand. Sunda exhibited stereotypic rocking for most of the time that I was there. I was only there for 20 or 30 minutes, so I can’t say that they are not enjoying some of these new objects, but what I saw this time was exactly what we see every time we visit them.
Sunda was rocking in such a position that it was hard to see her feet and determine if there were any new lesions. From my vantage point I couldn’t see any.
I must say that I shed a few tears thinking about our 5 years trying to get them to The Elephant Sanctuary and the dream that we had for those two beautiful girls. But now, we need to all be sending them super-positive energy and love to help them cope with these last years of their lives in confinement. I don’t believe it helps them for us to dwell on how dire their situation is. However, I do believe we can continue to write to Brendan Wiley and ask him for reports on their health, progress on the “enrichment” program, etc. He needs to know Tembo and Sunda have not been forgotten , and that the world is still watching. Also, if you do check on them, please email me your report, and I’ll post it on the website, elephantfreedom.com. Of course, if a miracle happens and something shifts making it possible for them to go to TES, we will do all we can to help.
Meanwhile, we need to feel good about the education we have brought to the public through this campaign. There is more awareness out there about the plight of zoo animals and the understanding that animals are not ours to use and exploit for our gain.
Thanks to all of you for your love, compassion, and hard work for these dear ladies. And Happy Valentines Day to all of you.
May all elephants be free. May all beings be free.