How the Elephants at the Houston Zoo Helped an Austin Author

How the Elephants at the Houston Zoo Helped an Austin Author

illustration by Natsumi ChikayasuIn the elephant barn at the Houston Zoo, a flock of swallows stitched the high rafters, while below, several more pecked at puddles of water between the feet of three pachyderms waiting for their morning feeding and bath. The muggy summer air was pungent with the smell of manure and wet hay. Along one wall sat plastic buckets filled with thick chunks of carrots and turnips. In this cavernous space, closed to the public, I focused on a young elephant called Tupelo—or “Tupe,” to her handlers. With the help of two zookeepers, I was about to assist with her bath. Using a wooden brush, I carefully drew soapy circles against Tupelo’s sturdy body; the stiff hairs that stippled the ridge of her back felt coarse…View Original Post

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Source: Texas Monthly