We have recently begun working with a holistic vet who has a practice a few hours away. She does homeopathy, ozone therapy, acupuncture, and other modalities. She’s going to come regularly – at least every other week, sometimes more frequently. This will offer another in-person layer of care for the elephants and we are excited to work with her.
Mara was in the chute for an exam with her earlier this week (there is still no diagnosis or change in her condition) when Lady walked up to the barn. She approached with the confidence of an elephant who wanted to go in the chute and have her daily foot soak. Our bars are relatively large, and, sometimes, it’s hard to see what’s behind them from certain angles.
We weren’t sure if she saw Mara in the chute due to the intention in Lady’s stride. We verbally told her that Mara was in the chute. Lady continued to approach, close to Mara before she clearly became aware of Mara’s presence. The two were within touching distance (if they both reached out their trunks).
Lady did well with her proximity to Mara. She didn’t step away once she realized Mara was there. She hung out for about ten minutes. They were head to head, and it was apparent they each knew the other was there. Since Mara was in the chute, we had a bucket of treats, which we shared with Lady. In all her finicky food feelings, Mara had decided that she didn’t like cabbage that day, and cabbage is one of Lady’s favorite foods. Lady was thrilled to hang out very close to Mara and enjoy all of Mara’s rejected cabbage. We used reassuring tones to make sure Lady knew how brave she was and how proud we were. Mara reached out several times, and, each time she reached out, Lady would become a little nervous, but she would stay. The two didn’t touch, and after about ten minutes, Lady walked away. She didn’t walk quickly; it seemed she decided she was done, and she meandered away at her own pace. She walked off to the trough for a drink and then came back over – not once, but twice!
Lady has been slowly showing more interest in the others over the past few months. In the past few weeks, she has been particularly interested in Mara. We have no way of knowing why or what has shifted, but it is something we have observed. Rana was in Stall 1 during this encounter (which is also very near). However, as Rana is very food-oriented and was happily eating, she didn’t pay any attention to Mara or Lady.
It was a very remarkable encounter between Mara & Lady, and we are very proud of them both.
Photo of Lady, enjoying a meal in the habitat.