One recent night, Mara was in Yard 1, near the itchy-scratchy tree, when the habitat erupted in loud rumbles. We checked the cameras to see Bambi running full speed from Yard 2 into Yard 1 to be “reunited” with her friend. Rana was close behind, walking at a slightly more leisurely pace.
Shortly after, when we arrived for their night feeding, all three were still in Yard 1. Lady had also come near the barn in Yard 3 for her evening check-in with the girls and for snacks. We gave her hay and treats, and brought Mara into the chute for her nightly meal. Lady has become used to the evening routine at this point, and the noises that often come with it, so she remains close.
Around this time, we realized that Maia had shown up in the back of Yard 2. She clearly saw all the other elephants, and was standing ears out, focused on the picture around her, but she decided to stay close. As we’ve mentioned in posts before, the energy at night feed is very different than during the day; it’s just much more relaxed and peaceful.
Maia got within 15-20 yards (around 15 meters) of Bambi and stopped to listen again. Scott went into an empty Yard 1 to put down hay and fruit along the fence for Maia. That way, she wouldn’t feel like she had to come over to get snacks, nor would she feel left out.
After Mara was done eating and back in the yard with the others, Maia was still finishing her bonus evening treat. We checked the cameras about half an hour later, and Maia was gone. We saw Bambi and Mara sharing a pile of hay near the barn, and Rana was methodically “cleaning up.” Lady had wandered off earlier when hay and produce were being spread throughout the habitat for her. Mara, Bambi, and Rana seemed relaxed, ears slowly flapping, continuing eating late into the night. All five ladies are rarely together, so it was a truly special moment for everyone.
Photo of Mara with Bambi in the background