Ani Birds Follow the Elephants

Ani are a type of bird from the cuckoo family, and they are prevalent around the sanctuary this time of year. There are bugs galore due to the amount of rain we are getting, much to the dismay of the humans and the elephants. However, ani LOVE bugs and are delighted by the massive amount that the elephants kick up as they are walking through the tall grasses. 

You can see them here following Mara, as she emerges from the bushes. Then Bambi walks near and even more birds follow her near the ground, hoping for a hearty meal. 

Though the ani can be annoying when elephants initially arrive, they do eat lots of insects, which the elephants seem to understand and accept their clumsy companionship for the benefit they bring.

P.S.: The dark spots you see on the girls’ skin is oil from a natural bug spray we use, for all those pests that the ani don’t eat.


  1. REPLY
    Pam says

    If I had the chance, I’d be following these wonderful elephants closely too, but for entirely different reasons!

  2. REPLY
    Renee Killian-Zeiger says

    This looks like Heaven to me…I can’t begin to imagine how the girls feel to just graze, roam , mud wallow, dust bathe, pond swim and sleep wherever they want….as it should be. I know this is not where they should ever have been, HOWEVER, they have a chance at healing to whatever degree will happen and have autonomy in a captive situation to make those decisions for as long as they live. Thank you GSE for EVERYTHING you do to take care of these beautiful gentle giants that God put on this earth. God bless and keep you all during this season of life!

  3. REPLY
    Kayle Luthey says

    Sara, do you EVER get a day off??????????

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      she is off. it’s me kat who is answering comments. 😉

  4. REPLY
    Katherine says

    Do the elephants eat any of the natural vegetation , grass, bushes, trees etc?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      yes, approximately 80-85% of their diet comes from the habitat. with a slight decrease during the end of the dry season. ☺️

  5. REPLY
    Jen says

    I see so many beautiful hills behind the gals, are they able to traverse the area? Or is their habitat mostly the flat areas? BTW, Lady looks splendidly strong and muscle -y as seen in the video from the other day! Thank you all so much for all you do for these amazing creatures.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      they have access to some hills right now, their habitat is definitely not flat, and part of the reason for the level of muscle development you see on all of the girls. the big hill that is often seen in the background is outside of their current habitat, but will be within their next habitat expansion. that is not happening yet, as money still needs to be raised for it, but it is in the near future hopefully.

  6. REPLY

    Do you have to supplement w/hay. I know the girls love their goodies but does the sanctuary itself offer enough nutrition for them.

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