Elephant Vitamin? Yes, elephant vitamin supplements actually. That’s what we are going to talk about today.
Last week Mario wrote a blog post on an elephants diet in a sanctuary like the one we support and also briefly mentioned that elephants do not get all the right vitamins and minerals though this diet as they would get in the wild. This is because in the wild, elephants would eat a wider variety of plants. Since in a sanctuary it is difficult to arrange this big of a selection, the diet there is complimented with supplements.
Every morning at the sanctuary, the first thing do is prep for the “vet check”. We wil write a blogpost later on talking more about this vet check, but in short it means we would check up on the elephants. During this check we would also feed each elephant with their vitamin balls (yes, that’s what we call them). We prepared them by mixing a type of flower with water and molding them into little bowls. In the meantime another volunteer would collect the vitamins for each elephant in a different bowl. Since we used supplements meant for humans we had to use crazy amounts to get the amount for each elephant right. So for example it could say that elephant x needed 10 folid acid, 15 vitamin A, 10 Vitamin B and 15 vitamin D pills. Then we would put all the pills in the little dough bowls and mold them into a ball, hiding the pills within the dough.
Here’s the fun part though… Since elephants are super smart AND have crazy good eyes they could easily spot any pill sticking out of the dough. They hated eating the vitamins (like a little kid!) so you had to make sure that the pills were hidden in there super well.
One elephant in particular, named Ranmenika, was by far the pickiest. If she would even THINK she saw a pill she wouldn’t eat the damn vitamin balls. On top of that she hated the vitamin balls so badly she would only eat them (if we were lucky) if we would cover them in syrup. She even tricked us sometimes by pretending she ate the balls and then spit them out on the floor when we weren’t looking. Though this was absolutely hilarious, it did make the task of making sure she would get her vitamins super difficult.
I have written this article because I want to inform you on all the facets that need to be thought of while taking care of elephants in captivity. Please understand that, of course, I would prefer to see the elephants get all the vitamins and minerals they’d need from nature, but unfortunately reality in Sri Lanka doesn’t make it that simple. By providing these elephants with vitamin supplements the organization that takes care of them tries to do the best they can.
If you have any questions or remarks please leave a comment down below!