Hits Northern California
A blanket of snow covered northern California foothills on Monday. The cold storm that hit the area broke temperature records that have stood for more than 30 years. The unusual weather elicited mixed reactions from the residents at ARK 2000.
The Colton tigers, who are predominantly Siberian, seemed to enjoy the aberrant weather more than their neighbors, the elephants, who refused to leave their heated barns. As the tigers cavorted in their new environment, all elephants watched cautiously from their warm shelters.
Nicholas, our Asian bull elephant, walked outside for a few moments, but made a hasty retreat back inside, obviously preferring the heated floor of his barn and very warm water for drinking, to the beautiful, but frigid conditions in his outdoor habitat.
African elephant Maggie, a former resident of the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, recognized the strange, white powder, and peered out of her heated barn with dismay. The other Africans clustered with her inside the barn waiting for sunshine.
The older Asian elephant girls remained inside all day, dusting, chirping, touching trunks and throwing branches. They always remind us of the "red hat ladies" in a tea shop whenever anything unusual occurs to disrupt their routine.
The uncommon weather will change in a few days, and the sunny winter days will return. Our elephants will climb the hills and forage for acorns and fallen branches. Sadly, Lucy, the lone elephant at the Edmonton Zoo in Canada, will spend the winter inside her barn, waiting for an occasional visit from her "human family."