Meeting Tai the Elephant – Star of ‘Water for Elephants’

Kinker Tink and I (Kinker Jen) were extended the most extraordinary invitation to visit Tai and her sisters at the Have Trunk Will Travel (HTWT) ranch in Perris, California on February 19! It was a magical day and a rare treat – HTWT doesn’t usually allow guests at the ranch. Our visit was part of an overall goodwill mission to raise further awareness to EEHV, an elephant disease that is wiping out the Asian elephant population at an alarming rate. EEHV recently claimed the life of JP, the 3 1/2 year old son of Rosie, Tai’s sister, which I (very sadly) blogged about a couple weeks ago.

Tink and I arrived bearing gifts – a giant fruit basket and bag of peppermints for Tai, and a bouquet of spring flowers and Team Rosie pins for Kari, Tai’s human mommy. We didn’t really know what to expect, we just knew we’d get to see Tai in person. Our expectations were met and completely exceeded! Kari had invited a handful of friends and supporters of elephant conservation the same day as our visit. We were given the grand tour of the HTWT 10 acre elephant ranch, treated to a circus-worthy show, fed the gift basket contents to Tai, given an elephant ride atop Becky, and peppered Tai with questions about filming with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon. In all, we lived it up at the HTWT ranch for about 3 hours!

People that know me would say that I am never speechless, but you’ll witness my speechlessness as I babble and giggle my way through our Q&A with Tai! Who knew I’d fan-girl over an elephant?

Read our Tai-normous filming facts and see the pics and vid after the jump!

Here are a few WFE filming tidbits that we learned during our visit:

  • The studio in fact brought Rob, Reese and Christoph out to convice them to do the movie.
  • Rob fell in love with Tai after doing loads of tricks with her and seeing how intelligent she is. #TaiPattz anyone? ;) He was all over her, thrilled to be in her presence. After the meeting when he was driving back to LA, he was calling people telling them how excited he was meeting her and doing the movie.
  • Reese loved Tai. They have a routine together in the movie, so she trained with Tai for countless hours over many weeks.
  • Christoph brought his whole family to meet Tai.
  • Everyone was a sweetheart and all were genuinely nice and very respectful of Tai.
  • Tai would recognize Rob and Reese because they spent so much time together on the set.
  • Tai would spend days at a time out on set to make it easy on her.
  • Rosie (the real one!) is also in WFE! She has a bit part in the “modern circus” scene.
  • Reese and Tai did a Vogue magazine shoot – not sure when it hits stands but probably March or April edition.

We’ve got a 15 minute video and LOTS of pictures that summarize our visit with Tai and her sister, Rosie (the real Rosie!). Enjoy and don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments section at the end of this page!

As we get closer to the premiere of Water for Elephants movie, we’ll be auctioning off Tai’s self-portrait to raise money for EEHV research. In the meantime, if you have just $1 to spare, please forsake that Starbuck’s latte today and donate to EEHV research at www.elephantconservation.org.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!
It’s giveaway time!

Water for Elephants is on the horizon and we thought it would be fun to pass the time by giving stuff away! But what prizes?? We’ve done buttons and tshirts… Well, our official partner, Algonquin Books, really came through for us, offering movie tie-in editions of Water for Elephants!! Even more exciting? Sara Gruen signed them all! *Wild Kinker Applause*

Autographed by Sara Gruen!!

Each week until April 22 we will be giving away a trade paperback copy of Water for Elephants signed by Sara Gruen!

Here’s how it works: Each Monday, starting today, we will tweet the code you need to enter on Twitter. Our Twitter is: H2OforElephants. Giveaways will run from noon on Monday until noon on Friday (Pacific Standard Time). We’ll use Tweetaways to draw a winner every Friday until Water for Elephants opens in the USA 4/22/11. The giveaway is worldwide and you only need to enter once per week to be eligible.

Huge thanks to Algonquin Books and Sara Gruen for making this possible!

We’re looking into a separate giveaway for our readers who aren’t on Twitter. Watch the blog and our Facebook page for that announcement.

Good Luck!

Follow @h2oforelephants on Twitter and Facebook!

This entry was posted in Charity, Have Trunk Will Travel, Rosie, Sara Gruen, Tai, Water for Elephants and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Roblover

    Love the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

    • Julie O’Hara

      This was so amazing I loved it!!! Makes my heart sing seeing these elephants being so well taken care of I am donating to the cause today!!! Thank you for sharing <3

  • http://www.twitter.com/h2oforelephants tinkrbe1l3

    Amazing experience and I’m blessed to have had it. Thanks Kari :)

  • http://www.robsessedpattinson.com Kate

    I had a big silly smile on my face the whole way through the video. What beautiful intelligent animals they are. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • http://rpatzzspain.blogspot.com/ Vanee

    Ok, I think I got the ‘code’ you’re giving at this post… Now, all I’ve to do is send you a tweet with the code to your twitter?

    btw, I love the video, the pics and everything!!! You were really lucky!!! I’m just melting with Tai, Rosie and the rest or the elephants!!! ^^

  • http://www.twilidiot.com Twilidiot

    Thank you!!!! Beautiful pictures, news, giveaway … The whole kit and kaboodle.

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  • rpattzgirl

    Loved all the pics & video…I’m proud to donate to this fund & can’t wait until they get the adoption piece up & running!

  • Denise

    So many smile worthy moments in that video :)

  • http://www.fanfiction.net/u/2091056/deb24601 deb24601

    Wonderful video, I love when Rosie trumpets!! My kids loved watching this too (my little guy might have a crush on your Ava, Jen). So glad you guys got to do this and help raise awareness at the same time. :)

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  • Pingback: Rob-Pattitude.com || Your Robert Pattinson Source » Blog Archive » Meeting Tai the Elephant – Star of ‘Water for Elephants’

  • Pingback: Alcune curiosità sull’elefantessa Tai (protagonista di water for elephants/come l’acqua per gli elefanti)/ - RobertPattinsonMoms

  • http://www.twitter.com/darkangel2wolf Sarah V

    Ahhh I loved all of it! The video was awesome, thank you for sharing your time with the elephants!! It must have been so fun! I have a huge soft spot for elephants, they are so intelligent, beautiful and amazing creatures.

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  • http://creationsbyjules.wordpress.com creationsbyjules

    Wow, loved reading this – thank you sooo much for sharing! Loved the snippets about filming and all the photos. Really sounds like it was a magical experience for you. Thanks guys, just wonderful. <3

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  • Aussiegirl

    This was just wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. It was such a special experience for you to have and it brings those degrees of separation just that little bit closer. April is really starting to feel close now *bites fist in excitement*.

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  • OutOfMyElement

    And the Kinkers come through again! Ah-mazing video and pics.

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  • smittenkitten

    WOW, I love this! What a great adventure & story…thanks for sharing it! *huge.smile*
    xo

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  • Jackie Zane

    Awwwww lovely tribute.. and so glad you are helping spread the awareness!!!

    • http://www.twitter.com/h2oforelephants tinkrbe1l3

      thanks Jackie!

  • tessANZ

    Hello to the lovely Tink and Jen,
    thank you for sharing your trip with us
    each of the elephants was hugely gorgeous
    sad to hear about their plight in the wild
    but am sure your promotion was worth the while
    easy to see how the elephants affected our Rob
    and how they charmed every one of the film’s mob
    read about Rob’s experience in some past interview
    when he talked about what he and Tai got up to
    she took him up bodily with her trunk
    and sniffed for peanuts on our hunk
    what a lucky and pervy pachyderm she was
    would fit right in with all Robloving saints and h00rs!
    really appreciated every bit of the post
    and how you tried to find out who was loved the most!
    no matter that no single name was given
    no female animal is immune to Rob Pattinson!
    ciao bella!

  • mitts40

    OMR! She is just so talented. Her coordination, puts me to shame. LOL I loved the video, just wonderful. You are so lucky to have met these talented actors. Thank you for sharing.
    I do have one question. Did they explain how Tai got the part? Was it a special talent that was needed for this role that maybe separated her from the others? Would love to know. Just curious ;-)

    • http://www.twitter.com/h2oforelephants tinkrbe1l3

      They didn’t talk about that…we’ll ask her owners :)

    • http://www.twitter.com/h2oforelephants tinkrbe1l3

      Kinker Jen reminded me that Francis Lawrence already discussed this. He used her for the Britney video and he wanted an older elephant. Tai’s freckles make her look older.

      • mitts40

        Thanks Tink! Just like Hollywood, casting for looks. LOL!! Just kidding Tai, you are a star!!!

  • Haystackhair

    OMG what a fabulous story and video! Thanks so much for sharing!!!! What amazing animals they are!!!

  • jackie

    Great article and pictures. I love elephants anyways (Babar) How lucky you all were to see the elephants.

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  • http://www.myrobertpattinson.com JenTrulyOutrageous

    Thanks for the great feedback everyone. It was a day I will never ever forget. I can definitely see why Rob cried when Tai wrapped filming. I was very sad to leave myself! They are wonderful beings. One thing I did not include in my write up was when I posed for pictures with Tai she wrapped her trunk around my waist and was purring, like a kitten, her trunk slightly vibrating my torso. Her trunk feels somewhat like a reptile’s skin, it’s hard on the top but soft in the grooves. I could have stayed with her for days.

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  • naturaladdict

    Looks like you gals had an amazing once in a lifetime experience! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  • Shawna

    this is great thank you for sharing :)

  • http://www.twitter.com/stefaniepainter Stefanie

    This is wonderful! I was totally clapping while watching some of Rosie’s tricks! Thanks for sharing :D

  • Terri Yates

    OMG how gorgeous…!!! what a truely amazing experiance.

  • Mel Stolhand

    Thank you for allowing me to meet Tai. I was very reluctant to go on the trip with Carol, because I am afraid of large animals … of any kind. I have ridden a horse three times, and been bucked off three times. I was bitten by a large dog when I was a child, so I don’t like dogs … especially large ones. I had no idea I would fall in love with elephants. It was the experience of a lifetime. Thanks again…Mel

  • Chris Gollwitzer

    I am speechless and amazed at the intelligiance of these animals,God sure created alot of wonderful things.hopefully the next generation will take care of them. Chris G

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  • jainem

    Most people don’t know that circus elephants are still abused and beaten with bullhooks and electric prods to make them perform for the audience. Watch Tai the elephant who stars in “Water for Elephants” being hit and shocked by her owners. Ringling Bros Circus abuses their elephants the same way, they start with their baby elephants.
    http://www.ad-international.org/media_centre/go.php?id=2128
    http://www.ringlingbeatsanimals.com/bound-babies.asp

  • Joana

    I am shocked to see how deluded all of you are! Do you honestly believe these amazing animals are willing to play happily for humans without being beaten and electro-shocked? Do you believe in Santa Claus?

    This poor animal – as all circus animals!!! – was severely mistreated and tortured in order to play the stupid tricks you see on this movie. And a few “cute” pics cannot cover the truth.

    Please see here the horrible truth of how these lovely animals were treated:
    http://www.ad-international.org/animals_in_entertainment/go.php?id=2119&ssi=7

    Shocking, disgusting and horrendous, but expected, as it is common practice among any animal training for entertainment of sick human beings who believe the animals just do it for fun.

    Open your eyes!!!

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  • marty

    Do you think setting up like a teddy bear is natural for an elephant or tipping forward and raising her feet in the air? This clip was so sad. Another magnificent creature “appearing” to be okay!!!??? What did she have to go through to look that “polished” in her tricks. Notice the hook Joanne had!!
    Fear, that is how she is kept in line. As the elephants from Hawthorne were taken from the owner by the FDA, so should the elephants from this organization be placed in a sanctuary where they can be, guess what, elephants!!