I love elephants, I always have. Therefore I think it is really neat that middle Tennessee happens to be home to The Elephant Sanctuary. The Elephant Sanctuary is a non-profit organization that takes in old, sick or needy elephants. Typically these elephants are being retired from zoos and circuses. Their facility is located on 2,700 acres of land.
The sanctuary is not open to the public as their main goal is to allow the elephants to bond with their groups and just be elephants. Many of these elephants spent enough time being stared at during their tenures with zoos and circuses.
In some ways I feel like we are kindred spirits with the Sanctuary. The sanctuary has beautiful facilities to care for the elephants while at the same time doing their best to let the animals live as natural a lifestyle as possible in a non-natural setting. Of course there are differences, with a big one being the horses retired with us are not needy and have loving owners willing to provide for them.
I follow the Sanctuary on Facebook and about three weeks ago they posted a video where the leg chain was removed from Billie, one of the residents. Billie has been at the sanctuary for five years and remained so traumatized by her lifetime of harsh handling that they had never been able to remove her leg chain.
It looks like they finally got her chain off through the use of clicker training! I've used clicker training with the horses from time to time when there has been a tough issue to deal with, such as my horse's needle phobia. Obviously clicker training is used with many species and I thought it was fun to watch the video of Billie's chain being removed while hearing the clicks in the background. In the video description posted by the Elephant Sanctuary it said the targets they were using to direct Billie's foot were bamboo sticks with cotton tops.
I just had to share this story that combined two things of such interest to me, elephants and clicker training!
video of Billie's leg chain finally being removed
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