Bambi is settling into sanctuary life. She is a little overeager to live her life to the fullest, which can leave her a bit all over the place. Everything is still very stimulating and new for her. She seems to want to experience everything at once. Bambi is like a small child at an amusement park, or, more realistically, like a prisoner who suddenly has access to everyday life after decades in a tiny cell of solitary confinement. It’s overwhelming in a positive way. There’s so much for her to see and feel and touch.
When she was spending time with Mara and Rana, who are both very accustomed to sanctuary life, she was better at slowing down. We would see her stop and observe, helping her experience her new life more fully. Now that she is spending time alone, she returned to her excitement of trying to be everywhere and do everything simultaneously. It’s very charming but exhausting to watch. She hasn’t been at sanctuary very long, so it’s normal for her to still be over-excited by everything. It will evolve as she continues to settle in. Sometimes, we jokingly refer to her as a puppy due to her flitting excitement.
Bambi’s beginning to learn just how much power she wields over her humans here. We noticed that, when we gave her pineapples, she would squish them. Usually, elephants eat them whole. It seemed she was squishing the fruit out the skin (like a tube of toothpaste). To see if that is what she was doing, we tried cutting the skin off a pineapple before giving it to her. She was very excited and ate it happily. Now we peel her pineapples. It’s a little thing for us, but it shows her just how different every aspect of her life is here while letting her know we see and listen.
Bambi has also discovered FrootLoops, which is always fun for elephants and humans alike. Since captivity causes physical damage to an elephant’s body, all of our residents receive supplements for their joints (among other things). Usually, we can add their supplements directly to their grain and molasses mixture. Bambi decided she wanted something better. To get the elephants to take medications they won’t take in grain, we form them into bran balls, consisting of bran, molasses, and medication formed into balls. Bambi didn’t care for the flavor, so we tried rolling her bran ball in FrootLoops. She was very excited and now eats her bran ball first.
All of the changes are a lot to process, but it also seems positive for her. She’s been in Yard 5 the past few days and is truly exploring it. Kat recently went out to feed and couldn’t find Bambi anywhere. As she was driving back through the habitat, Kat found Bambi standing in the middle of the road, looking slightly judgy. It seems Bambi realized her silly human couldn’t find her, so she planted herself in the most obvious place to ensure she got her dinner – including her Froot Loop coated bran ball.
Photo of Bambi, enjoying a meal.