This morning we let Rana into Yard 2 so that she could have access to half of the barn. Mara had access to Yard 1 and the other half of the barn.
When both of them were in the barn (still separated by a gate and fencing), there was a lot of incredible emotion. There were trumpets, rumbles, kicking dirt, squeaks, bellowing – so many vocalizations. It was astounding. The only time Scott has ever seen anything like this before was when Shirley and Jenny were reunited in Tennessee. There were unbelievably strong emotions between Mara and Rana all morning. The interactions between them were very overwhelming for Mara, but Rana could not contain her emotions. During the video, Scott played a brief audio clip he recorded on his phone this morning – yes, all those sounds are Mara and Rana! It is unbounded joy and unbelievable to witness. Elephants have a range of emotions that are much larger than the human spectrum.
We do not know if they know each other. There is a small population of elephants in South America and many of them have crossed paths. There was a zoo in Germany that would house wild-caught elephants before exporting them to South America. We know both Mara & Rana came through that facility. Mara came to South America when she was young with two other elephants – one was Merry, who lived in Argentina and was scheduled to come to the sanctuary, but passed away last year before that was possible. All that is known about the third elephant is that it went to Brazil. Mara and Rana are around the same age – but the exact age isn’t known for either elephant, as there are no definitive records. Regardless if they knew each other or not, for them to experience this level of joy is an absolute gift. So many captive elephants never get a chance to experience anything like this.
We took videos this morning, and are working on editing them together to try to share what has been happening here this morning – it is unbelievable. We don’t know when we will get that posted, but please know we are doing our best!
Rana and Mara are still in separate yards – this is just so much for Mara to take in. Rana has initiated a lot of what has occurred. Mara is still a little insecure – Rana has been here for over a year. In that year, Rana has learned and grown so much in that time. She also loved and lost her friend, Ramba. Mara is only three days into this transformative journey and is still feeling pretty overwhelmed. However, she was clearly responding to Rana’s absolute joy with some of her own excitement.
To our knowledge, the two elephants have not touched, but we may open up and allow the two to share space later today. For now, they are in separate yards a little apart – Mara needed a bit of a break to process everything. This is very overwhelming for an elephant who has been in a tiny enclosure without trees or grass for decades.
(For those asking, Lady crossed the creek in Yard 4 for the first time and is near to Ramba’s grave today. She seems very content.) Maia is near, but not with them. The decision was made that Rana is more than enough for Mara to take in right now, so we are holding off on Maia joining Rana for the party.
We know the other elephants heard Rana and Mara this morning – it was so loud that Scott and Kat are expecting their neighbors to call to make sure everyone is ok!
May 16, 2020
If you are craving a little more elephant communications, click on the Vocalizing gray tag below.