Sometimes when you are feeding the girls, you will already have both Maia and Guida in your sights, but then up pops Rana. This was one of those nights. Maia and Guida were being fed out by the pond when we noticed Rana show up as well. The first two ladies were fed closer to the fence, while Rana was fed about 20 yards further in.
After Maia was done, she went over and helped Guida clean her plate a bit. After a bit, Guida went to walk away and noticed Rana and went over to her. They quietly stood, side by side, grazing for quite some time. During this time, Maia was still somewhat by the fence, grazing on her own. She then walked over to join Maia and Guida.
Scott switched from video to take some photos and Guida took two quick steps towards Rana, but since Maia was in the middle, she’s the one who got bumped. It caused Rana to keep her back to them for a moment or two, but then ended up side by side again before we left.
We were actually about to leave when Maia started to head over, and we stayed to see the immediate interaction. We’ve stated before that we tend to not stick around when the ladies are all together because it seems like Guida acts out when her humans are around. Her behavior was all about being the ‘big girl’ when she’s actually the smallest. Physically it’s insignificant, enough so that Maia didn’t even respond except to squish in closer. It’s still about posturing for Guida, and it doesn’t bother Rana enough for her to even step away. It’s not perfect, but hopefully, all of the girls are learning in ways that will help with the next arrivals.
Guida has to find a little more security in her smaller stature and understand she doesn’t have to act out to be respected. Maia seems to be learning she can go off on her own, but also has the ability to be a bit of a peacemaker. Rana is adjusting to all forms of elephant communication, and learning her boundaries are not always shared by others.
This is all part of sanctuary: taking in elephants that have forgotten how to be elephants, and allowing them a safe and protected space to learn what that means again.