You may know Peanut as one of the most photogenic elephants in Wildlife SOS history. But she's also one of the naughtiest, with an enthusiastic affection for mischief and mayhem. Little Peanut is all attitude — and we love it.
How Peanut has remained so good-natured given her past is a true testament to her spirit. When we shuttled her away from the grueling circus life to our rescue center in April 2015, she was the youngest elephant we'd ever rescued. At just six years old, Peanut had already been forced to endure incredibly barbaric circus training — after suffering the emotional trauma of being torn away from her mother (and female elephants generally spend their entire lives with their mothers).
So when she first arrived at our Elephant Conservation and Care Center in Mathura, India, Peanut was understandably quiet and withdrawn. But after being "adopted" by one of the older elephants, Coco, then taken into the herd by the matriarch Asha, her rambunctious side began to shine. Peanut's penchant for all things adventurous, coupled with her all-too-healthy curiosity, translated into randomly running off while on walks to chase whatever she considered fair game — basically anything smaller than her, from peacocks to wild antelopes. Even butterflies weren't safe from Peanut's playful wrath!
Luckily, before Peanut could do too much damage, the herd matriarch Asha took on a more supervisory role, something that continues today. This means that when little elephant decides to wreak havoc while out on a walk, a single authoritative trumpet from Asha will bring her trotting back to the herd without a fuss!
Of course, she's still Peanut, and Peanut simply can't be kept down. She has quickly and joyfully discovered the destructive powers of her immense elephant strength — tearing into tires and toys alike; ramming head-first into the mud beds in her enclosure; uprooting plants and trees; and giving chase to panicked smaller creatures. Even in the pool, Peanut’s favorite hobbies include trying to drown her own toys, or waving her trunk in the air like a siren before smashing it into the water to spray anyone within reach of her little fountain.
Peanut's playful energy seems boundless, so it’s always a challenge for the staff to come up with fresh, exciting enrichments for her to, errrr, play with. And though these enrichments keep her mind and body active, watching Peanut use them also gives us some valuable insight into the way her amazing little intellect works. She always comes up with the most destructive and yet most effective way to get at the food treats (generally hidden in the enrichment), even — or maybe especially — if it results in some serious cleanup duty later for the staff.
So join us now and take a moment to celebrate this nutty little delight who entered, and fully upended, our lives two years ago to become one of the most beloved elephants in our care. All hail Peanut!