Bambi’s Skin at the Zoo and Now at Sanctuary


When we first met Bambi at the zoo on September 17th, Bambi had a considerable amount of old skin built-up on her forehead, ears, legs, belly, and even vulva. This was a result of years of not being bathed (we were told she did not like water) or given access to things to rub on or to rub on her skin. This extra old skin had accumulated all over her body due to a lack of moisture and natural substrates to exfoliate her skin with. There were no trees in Bambi’s yard and no access to mud or dirt, and only a small amount of sand. We were also told that Bambi spent most of her time inside the concrete building, so she was not rained upon.

In just three weeks at the sanctuary, with access now to plenty of dirt, sand, mud wallows, trees, and friends to rub on, along with some much-needed rain, she has already removed almost half of the extra skin on her head on her own! In fact, the skin all over her body is looking much healthier. We have sprayed water on her when she has asked for it, which she plays in at times, but we have not bathed her and scrubbed her skin with anything. Access to a natural environment has allowed Bambi to start taking care of her skin herself. Elephants apply sand/dirt/mud as their sunscreen, bug spray, moisturizer, and exfoliant mask.

In some countries in Asia, rocks are used as pumice stones, and plants that form a soap, even sometimes insecticides, are used to give the elephants baths to help them not accumulate old dry skin and parasites. But in captivity, elephants can actually also be bathed too often sometimes. Too much bathing with unnatural substances like shampoo can lead to other problems and infections of their skin.

Letting elephants just be elephants, Bambi knew exactly what she needed to do to take care of her skin with nature.

(Today’s post was guest written by our lovely veterinarian, Trish)

October 19, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says

    Thank you Trish.

    • REPLY
      FRANCINE FORD says

      How wonderful for Ms Bamtastic. All she needed was a chance for Sanctuary to help bring out the beautiful Ellie that she is! Way to go, Girl!

  2. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    Bambi is looking lovelier each day.

    • REPLY
      Cristina says

      Como te cuidan y aman Bambi. Disfruta.

      • Beverly Singler says

        Can I come stay with Bambi and have MY skin look better in just 3 weeks??

  3. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    She’s as cute as a button! Her skin looks so good!

  4. REPLY
    alana says

    Nature knows best. She’s looking good. Is she getting mussel mass? Enjoy the rain.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      It’s hard to tell after just a few weeks. That usually becomes more evident over a few months.

  5. REPLY
    Dee says

    This brakes my heart that she suffered because of being confined and having fear.
    Thank goodness she is loved and cared for now.

  6. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Bless her heart. She needed caring for.

  7. REPLY
    Barb says

    Simply remarkable pictures! Sanctuary is healing indeed. I was hopeful to see such pics! Thank you!

  8. REPLY
    Julie says

    I was waiting for this side by side of Bambi’s skin, but it sure was faster than I expected! Thank you for knowing and loving these precious and deserving elephants. Bambi, you look beautiful!

  9. REPLY
    Irene Olson says

    Awesome thank you Trish, she looks so much healthier! And happier! What sanctuary does for our lovely ladies! Just so sad to think she lived in those conditions far too long! My heart breaks for the others still in captivity ☹️♥️

  10. REPLY
    Wim says

    Masterclass skin care and respectful Elephant caring. Bambi has transformed already into a wonderful sanctuary angel. Great achievement reflecting beautiful teamwork.???

  11. REPLY
    Carol says

    Wow! She looks radiant! Beautiful inside and out!?????

  12. REPLY
    Lila says

    Great post. Another lovely explanation. Kiss Bambi for me!!!

  13. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Oh, Bambi and Trish–thank you so much for the skin care tips. Everybody thrives at the Sanctuary, and I am so happy for you, beautiful Bambi. Hugs to you both!

  14. REPLY
    Sunny says

    I am so glad for witness this recovery. Thank you Trish for your words. And thank you guys for keeping us posted.

  15. REPLY
    Sheila says

    aahh yes, sweet ❤️?❤️bambi was just neglected at zoo! i hope her big head pebbles can be removed by her but wondering if a spray or salve could be applied to soften them so bambi scratching can remove them❓ shes so lovely mz bambi❤️??

  16. REPLY
    maria villa says

    (((( I Love You Bambi )))) XXOO. You are wonderfulgorgeouslovely and more! Trunk to trunk, rump to rump, keep stepping forward My Love, we are with you, trunk to trunk and rump to rump. XX))

  17. REPLY
    Marc says

    Will you be able to treat her injured eye?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Bambi’s eye is permanently damaged, there is nothing that we can ‘fix’ with treatment. We are planning to use a preventative type drop on the other eye, since it does have some issues.

  18. REPLY
    Audrey says

    What a difference in Bambi. It shows that she is happy, she finally has friends, lots of grass & everything she could ever want is at the Sanctuary. Now her skin is finally being cared for properly & it shows.
    Thank you.

  19. REPLY
    Sallie says

    Thank You, Trish! We all love hearing about the history of Bambi! And what is appropriate and not. The neglect of Bambi was colossal. Hopefully now Bambi’s future is hopeful and certain, with her new fabulous support! Cha Cha Cha, Swing that hip and Swing that trunk . . ..

  20. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    Lovely, and becoming more lovely everyday. Knowing she has NEVER had the freedom of being truly in nature, it is amazing that she instinctively knows what to do for herself. What an lovely, beautiful soul she is. Thank you GSE.

  21. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Thank you, Trish! Bambi’s skin has improved…and in just 2 weeks. What a difference in her in such a short time. We all thought she was scared of water and wouldn’t even go out in the rain….but she proved that to be wrong. Bambi is shining….this is what sanctuary can do! It is sad that the fires came but she has her friends now and I hope all is calm in their world.

  22. REPLY
    Maria says

    What a transformation! So heartening to witness. Thank you for providing everything Bambi needs to be her beautiful self.

  23. REPLY
    Paula says

    Muy feliz por el gran cambio en la piel de Bambi!Ella se ve tan diferente!
    Es así, dejar a los elefantes ser solo elefantes, ellos saben como cuidarse!
    Que bien se debe sentir Bambi!
    Muchas gracias GSE ?
    Y a Trish por esta fabulosa publicación!

  24. REPLY
    Carey says

    Bambi’s skin looking so much better, hard to believe that her previous owners knew so little about such basic care. She must be feeling so much better

  25. REPLY
    Sallie says

    P.S. Sweet Bambi seems to be improving from the inside, out! Most doctors say, that the healing of skin and hair, comes from a proper diet and no stress. I do believe that she has relaxed, is HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY! And as we have observed, Beauty comes from within!

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