Everyone on the Water for Elephants set can agree on one thing: Tai, the Elephant-actress that plays Rosie, is nothing short of amazing. Over the past few weeks, various cast on the set and even the director has sang the praises of Tai.
Tai’s owner, Kari, shared these details and photos with us so that we in turn my share with you, our readers.
Tai is cast in the role of Rosie in the film, Water for Elephantst. She is a 42 year old female Asian elephant. At 8’ 8” feet tall and close to 9,000 pounds Tai really is the biggest star in Hollywood. Her co-stars are never jealous of her looks and talent because of her winning personality and sweet disposition. Who says an over 40, female, plus-size actor with wrinkles and little gray can’t get work?
Bananas, apples, carrots and palm fronds are some of Tai’s favorite foods. Her main diet consists of 150 pounds or so of oat hay with some grass hay mixed in for variety. She enjoys grazing on fresh grass and munching on tree leaves and small limbs. Tai drinks up to 50 gallons of water a day to wash it all down.
Home is Have Trunk Will Travel Ranch in Perris, California where Tai lives with five other elephants and her human family. When she is home she gets baths, exercise, training and relaxing time along with the other elephants. When Tai is on set she gets the same care, along with a lot of human attention from the cast and crew.
Tai travels in a state-of-the-art 48’ long specially built trailer. It has everything she needs to keep her cool and comfortable. The trailer is a good place for her to relax and snack during breaks from filming. She also enjoys stretching her legs and exploring the location.
Gary Johnson is Tai’s head trainer. Gary is founder and owner of Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc. along with his wife, Kari. Gary started working with elephants at age 16 and has been living his dream ever since. Tai has been with Gary for 34 years. Joanne Smith is Tai’s assistant trainer. Joanne has loved elephants since she was a toddler. She is a graduate of the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College. She has been handling and caring for elephants for 21 years, 15 of those years at Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc.
The American Humane Association (AHA) (www.americanhumane.org) monitors animal action in film and television. Anytime Tai is on the film set an AHA representative is present to help ensure her safety and welfare. AHA also observes during pre-training, rest and play time. The director, producers and the entire cast and crew are respectful of Tai’s needs and comfort and a pleasure to work with.
Elephants are the heart and soul of Have Trunk Will Travel and we are honored to live and work with them and to be able to share their talents. Tai is an ambassador for her species, the endangered Asian elephant. We are very proud of the home we have built for our elephants and of the lives they touch through film and public appearances.
The International Elephant Foundation (IEF) (www.elephantconservation.org) is the elephant charity that Tai supports. Gary is a founding board member and Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc. donates to IEF to help elephants worldwide.
To learn more about Tai’s home, visit www.HaveTrunkWillTravel.com.