Zoo Fever

By Lauren Falls | July 1, 2009 | Photos
On Sunday, June 28, 2009, four Fever players had the opportunity to travel to the Indianapolis Zoo and participate in Elephant Bathing, the Dolphin Show and the Elephant Show. Tamecka Dixon, Briann January, Shay Murphy, and Christina Wirth were the four players in attendance at this event. The players helped the Zoo celebrate its last day of Elephant Awareness Week.

The first stop for the players was the Elephant Bathing. Zookeepers started the show by bringing out Tombi, a 32 year-old African elephant, weighing roughly 7,500 pounds. The players and the audience were taught that elephants use their trunks to throw dust and mud on themselves to keep cool. The players’ first task of the day was to wash the mud off of Tombi. Fever players then put on special scrubbing mitts to help bathe Tombi. The scrubbing mitts were used to clean the elephant and remove dead skin cells from Tombi’s hide. After the Elephant Bathing, January and Murphy had the opportunity to go behind-the-scenes and ride Tombi around the elephant exercise yard. According to Murphy, “Riding the elephant was amazing! I felt like I was on top of the world!”

The next stop for the players was the Dolphin Show. All four players had the opportunity to interact with the dolphins one-on-one. Five Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins took part in the show. Dolphin trainers explained to the audience that dolphins have strong social bonds with one another and enjoy playing together. Players then had the chance to stand on stage and play with the dolphins by throwing balls and rings out into the water for them to retrieve. The players were also taught several hand motions to make the dolphins do tricks for the audience.

The last show of the day for the players was the Elephant Show. Dixon and Wirth made a grand entrance by riding in on two elephants around the arena. “I have never touched an elephant before, so I was really excited about getting to ride an elephant in the show,” said an enthusiastic Wirth. Dixon, Murphy, and Wirth then had the chance to show off their muscles by participating in a tug-of-war with Sophie, a 41 year-old African elephant. Sophie is the Zoo’s largest elephant weighing around 9,500 pounds. Before the show, Fever players selected kids from the crowd to come help them compete against Sophi. Despite a valiant effort from the players and the kids, Sophi came out with the win. We can only hope that the Fever will have better luck in Thursday’s game against the Connecticut Sun!

Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo hosts nearly a million visitors every year. The Indianapolis Zoo is an international leader in elephant conservation, committed to the welfare and sustainability of elephant populations. Since opening in 1964, the Zoo continues to play a major role in worldwide conservation and research. With numerous attractions and events, the Zoo is a great place to take the family!