Published on Apr 19, 2012
Bath time is a special time for Nicholas who is clearly enjoying himself as you can see in this video.
Nicholas is one of two Asian bull elephant living on "Bull Mountain" at PAWS' ARK 2000 wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, CA.
Nicholas was a 13-year-old bull elephant when he arrived at our Galt Sanctuary on April 2, 2007. He was born at a circus breeding facility, then separated from his mother before he was two years old. He was trained to ride a tricycle and performed in a circus at that age. The circus retired him when he became to difficult to manage at the young age of five.
Nicholas lived with Gypsy, an unrelated female, who was his constant companion for nine years. The two shared a single stall until their transfer to our Galt sanctuary where they remained in mandated quarantine for one year. They were then moved to their new home at ARK 2000.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Hawthorn Corporation negotiated a consent agreement which permitted the transfer of the two Asian elephants to PAWS. The two elephants were closely bonded and their devotion to each other was indescribably touching. They shared food, rumbled, chirped and remained in close proximity to each other at all times.
When we accepted the responsibility of caring for Nicholas & Gypsy, we knew that dealing with the relationship between the young male and his older female companion would be challenging. When Nicholas matured and his hormones became an issue, separation would be inevitable.
When it came time to separate the two, on January 13, 2009, we knew it was the end of an era, a time when the young, captive born male no longer needed a surrogate mother. Gypsy had provided security, safety and wisdom to him as long as she could. In the wild, he would be sent out to follow older bulls and learn the ritual that all elephants understand.
We moved Gypsy down the hill to join the other Asian elephants where she's been given a much deserved rest and retirement after the daunting task of raising a young bull.
Nicholas is now a neighbor to Prince, PAWS other bull elephant.