While Maia spent a few days past the creek in Yard 5, Bambi spent a few days across the creek in Yard 4. Bambi’s time there seemed to have slowed her down a bit, at least in terms of food. We don’t know if it’s a temporary shift or if she is becoming more grounded in general.
While much of Bambi’s past is unknown, we know that most zoos feed an elephant their last meal during the late afternoon. They generally don’t get another meal again until morning, since keeper staff are usually 9-5. As an animal who eats for at least 16 hours a day, going 15 or more hours without food can take a toll physically and mentally. All of our elephants here have survived significant trauma throughout their lives – it’s an unfortunate part of being a captive elephant. What makes each one so different is how they cope and respond. Elephants respond differently based somewhat on personality, and there’s no way to predict. For Bambi, she seems to have left the zoo life with some food issues. Like with any animal (human or nonhuman) who has dealt with the issue of food insecurity, Bambi becomes a little overeager around food.
It seems that standing in a green pasture, surrounded by more food than she can eat, has helped her realize that it’s going to be okay. She sometimes still approaches her food and starts to eat very rapidly, but then she pauses for a moment. She will look around, see her other piles of food, and mellow out a bit. It is starting to click in her brain that she can essentially always have food because it is growing everywhere.
She still loves her supplemental meals and her hay, and likely always will. We don’t see her as the type to ever miss a meal. Bambi, like Maia, isn’t the type to wait too long for meals either. If they hear someone driving at mealtime, they start looking for you. It causes delays in feeding at times since they will end up behind us, going to each place we check a minute after us and, therefore, harder to find. Maia won’t quite catch up with us, but she usually gives us a few minutes to find her before she starts looking for us. Not only is Bambi much faster than Maia, but she seems to start looking for us as soon as she hears the four-wheeler. For breakfast, Shirlei (one of the caregivers) will usually check a few spots for Bambi, and if Bambi is in none of those spots, Shirlei will just sit outside the fence with the 4-wheeler engine idling. In no time at all, Bambi will appear, ready for breakfast.
Not all elephants are willing to do that – Guida would seldom come looking for us, no matter how long we searched. She had her grass and wasn’t the type to follow a human around looking for food. She was above that, and it made her easier to find at times. We loved that independence in Guida, and we love this enthusiasm in Bambi. Each of our elephants is perfect just the way they are. ❤️
Photo of Bambi.
December 2, 2020
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JoAnn Merriman Eaton saysDecember 2, 2020 at 4:45 pm
Bambi , old insecurities die hard in elephants and us humans. We understand. We love you.?♥️
Julie saysDecember 2, 2020 at 5:30 pm
That’s right they are perfect! Bambi’s energy and speed make her seem very young, which makes me wonder if she’ll match up well with the youthful Guillermina. Of course we can never know how it’ll all shake out, but I have a picture in my minds eye of Bambi and Guillermina energetically frolicking through sanctuary. It’s a good one.
Nancy Shaw saysDecember 2, 2020 at 6:18 pm
MARY POPPINS : )
Julia Mercedes Eden saysDecember 2, 2020 at 6:26 pm
It makes me very sad that elephants ? should be insecure around food…reading what Bambi does had me in tears….. SO glad the penny’s dropped now and she realises she’s surrounded by it ??❤️??
SHEILA saysDecember 2, 2020 at 6:51 pm
OH SWEET LOVELY BAMBI❤️ U R SO DELIGHTFUL IN UR UNIQUE WAYS! I THINK UR MEMORIES OF THAT ZOO SURE TELL US HOW NEGLECTED U WERE!? NO BATHS! NOT ENOUGH HAY TO KEEP U SATIATED UNTIL MORNING! THUS U HAVE BEEN DRIVEN TO EAT MAJOR AMOUNTS OF. ???GRASS AND LOOK FOR UR HAY AND TREATS!?! BAMBI IS PROCESSING THINGS I THINK AND IM SURE SHE WILL SWITCH HER DESPERATION FOR THE FOOD TRUCK IN TIME!! PERHAPS IF BAMBI IS WITH MAIA MORE SHE WILL ADAPT MAIAS BEHAVIOR IN THE FOOD ISSUE?
Debbie Sides saysDecember 2, 2020 at 7:00 pm
Bless her heart. She looks ten times better than the thin girl she was when she arrived. Thank you for caring for her and the other girls. They all look amazing.
Kelejan saysDecember 2, 2020 at 7:14 pm
Bambi’s skin looks so wonderful. Remember all that dead skin on her forehead and around her face?
I wish I could live there and begin to look years younger. 🙂 You are all obviously doing something right.
Rachel saysDecember 2, 2020 at 7:24 pm
Sooo right you are JoAnn – your comment struck a cord and I do understand. It seems I’ll never get over some of my insecurities but the silver lining, if there is one, is that empathy is deep within. So happy Bambi’s emotional healing process has begun! ❤️
Sallie saysDecember 2, 2020 at 10:23 pm
I have to admit, I do have a special place in my heart for Miss Bambi. She has progressed so well, and but is still in “Recovery Mode” moment to moment . . . However, she is doing just fine. She just needs to be PATIENT with HERSELF. Chill, Miss Bambi! All will come together! LOVE you to bits!
arie saysDecember 3, 2020 at 9:10 am
Bambi’s food story made me cry, once more..
What you guys do for all these four legged darlings is priceless!
Love u all! ?❤️
Rosie P saysDecember 3, 2020 at 10:46 am
Life is so different for Bambi now. She has friends, she has space, enrichment, loving care, shady places, waterholes, mud wallows…………..and unlimited food! In elephant Heaven life is great and she is slowly beginning to adjust. I often wonder if they question in their own minds why things have changed. My rescue cat, found in a dreadful condition on the streets, has taken to a life of luxury and pampering with ease but does not want to venture away from the garden. He keeps me close. I guess we all have some insecurities.
FRANCINE FORD saysDecember 3, 2020 at 11:46 am
Darling Girl, Ms Bambalina. Oh to be inside your head. The words I read here endear you to me all the more. If only you could explain to her what some of the other Golden Girls already know; they no longer have to fear being hungry & thirsty; never mind things like bullhooks, ever again. I imagine for some of these ellies, Sanctuary must seem surreal. Ms Bambi will get it all in good time, I’m sure. After all, she’s not going anywhere from Sanctuary anytime soon. It will take time for her to realize that this goes for her hoomans as well. Its all very sad to think that some of these ellies have been through so much; physically, mentally & emotionally that some of them, like Ms Lady may take much longer to get it, IF they get it at all. I wish I could wave my magick wand & take all their private pains away.
Carey saysDecember 4, 2020 at 4:55 pm
They are perfect in their own ways, true.
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Bambi Is Beginning to Understand That Her Food Now Grows Everywhere