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 It takes a lot to keep elephants fed. Elephants are very inefficient digesters so most of what they eat comes out the other end! When we're not working directly with the elephants we're cleaning up after them! In the photos you see here you can really appreciate how, and what, elephants eat at BZI. Our guys get hay, grain, browse, and produce each day. They use the "fingers" at the end of their trunks to pick up their food and put it into their mouths. Trunks have many thousands of muscles in them and can be used to pick up large objects or individual blades of grass. The trunk is truly an amazing appendage! -Laura Schillinger, Zoological Manager, Trails of Africa #TakeoverTuesday
 Training and exercise are a big part of our, and the elephants, day. Elephants are extremely intelligent so teaching them behaviors is important mental simulation. Most of the behaviors we teach the elephants are husbandry based to help us care for them. As you can see in the top picture, all the elephants are trained to present their ears. This helps us take voluntary blood samples so we can monitor testosterone levels as well as many other things. Exercise is also important for an elephant's well-being. We keep our elephants in shape by going on walks, practicing their balance, and moving heavy objects. In the bottom picture you can see Ajani working to move a heavy tree trunk. Elephants can lift about 20% of their body weight with their trunks so moving that log is great work for Ajani! -Laura Schillinger, Zoological Manager, Trails of Africa #TakeoverTuesday #bulwagi #callee #ajani
 One of the first things we do during the day is a health check. It's important to make sure the elephants are healthy and address any issues that may arise. Some of the things we look at are their skin and inside their mouths. The picture on the left is what elephant skin looks like up close. Cool, right?! Our elephants get a bath almost every day. We also check their mouths in order to look at their teeth. Elephants have 4 molars and get 6 sets of teeth during their lives. We want to make sure their teeth are in good shape. We also look at their feet, nails, eyes, and overall body to ensure that our elephants are in the best shape possible. After their baths and breakfast it's out to the yard! -Laura Schillinger, Zoological Manager, Trails of Africa #TakeoverTuesday
 Introducing BZI's bachelor herd! Bulwagi (left) is our largest, and oldest, elephant. He's 36 and weighs about 13,000lbs. Bulwagi does a great job making sure the other boys mind their manners but also helps them learn about being an adult male. Callee (top right) is 16 and weighs about 7,000lbs. While he is our smallest elephant, he certainly has the largest personality. Callee is always quick to come interact with us as well as his herd-mates. Ajani (bottom right) is also 16, just a few weeks older than Callee, and weighs about 9,000lbs. Ajani is incredibly smart and a very quick learner. He enjoys training sessions but also values some time to himself. -Laura Schillinger, Zoological Manager, Trails of Africa #TakeoverTuesday #bulwagi #callee #ajani
 Hi animal lovers! I'm Laura Schillinger and I manage the Trails of Africa department at the Birmingham Zoo! So glad you could join me today to learn about elephants! While Trails of Africa houses many more animals than elephants, BZI is special in that we are the first zoo in North America to have a bachelor herd of African elephants. So follow me and we'll meet the boys! -Laura Schillinger, Zoological Manager, Trails of Africa #TakeoverTuesday #96elephants #onlyelephantsshouldwearivory
 We are excited to announce that the new jaguar habitat will be opening this Saturday, March 25! Please keep in mind that Khan may be in and out of public view as he adjusts to his new home.
 The @drinkreddiamond Sea Lion Show is back starting this Saturday! Shows will be daily during Spring Break at 10am and 2pm. Be sure to see Gio and Farley, the sea lions, and Celeste and Kristin, Predator Keepers at the Zoo during this annual guest favorite!
 Suns out, tongues out! ( by Kaitlin Robb)