One recent morning, we separated Rana and Mara after breakfast for Mara to enjoy some additional hay. Bambi was near the training square, so we opened between Bambi, who was currently in Yard 5, Rana (in Yard 2), and Yard 4. This scenario gave Bambi the option of time with Rana or time in a new space.
At that point, Bambi had not explored Yard 4. With two gates open, instead of slowing to evaluate, she barreled into Yard 4. Upon entering the new space, she still didn’t hesitate and instead started walking up the main path at full speed.
Maia ended up joining Mara and Rana for a while that morning while Bambi explored Yard 4. Bambi seemed to bounce all over the place – she found the pond first, but by the time we arrived to take photos, she had already left (she did not go in). There are many different types of grass in Yard 4, and she seems to enjoy sampling all of them. It’s common for new elephants to be excited to have food growing from the ground, and not just any food, but fresh and delicious food. While some elephants have small amounts of grass growing in their enclosures at zoos, elephants rarely eat it. This lack of edibility is due to urine build-up in the soil affecting the smell, taste, and likely nutrients for the grass. Urine build-up isn’t an issue in a space this vast as they are in many different areas throughout the day.
Bambi has now spent several days in Yard 4. She will still head to the barn to see Mara and Rana, but she will wander off quickly if they’re not around. We recently saw her check-in along a fence while Rana was receiving treatment. We decided to give her hay while she waited for the others, to give her a chance to socialize. By the time we loaded a bale of hay on the four-wheeler (ATV) and made it over there, Bambi was already gone.
She seems to be an elephant on a mission now that she has a new yard to explore.
Photo of a very happy Bambi.