Congrats Brave Lady!

Brave Lady is sharing space with Rana this morning!! We have briefly opened a gate between them several times, and Lady will stand there and watch. Today, Lady walked through the gate for the first time and is sharing space with Rana!! We are so proud of her!! (Rana is the closer elephant, and Lady is further away, in the bushes.




(Note: The following video and post had been scheduled for today, but as you saw in the live feed above, Lady and Rana ended up in the same yard together, but we still want to give you a glimpse as to the steps that led up to this.)

We’ve continued having Rana come into the barn, and after a few minutes, treating her in the chute while Lady is in an adjacent stall. Lady is starting to see this as ‘normal’ now and remains relaxed through the process.

Every day, once Rana is in the chute, Lady gets as close as she can to the chute to watch Rana’s morning treatment. After Rana leaves the chute and goes into Yard 1, we’ve been closing the gate between the 1st patio and the habitat and opening up the recently vacated stall to Lady. As soon as we open the gate, Lady immediately enters the stall and patio, smelling where Rana stood and what she touched.

Two days ago, when Lady was on the patio of Stall 1, Rana walked over to her. Lady left the patio and backed into the stall. However, after taking her moment to process, Lady stepped back onto the patio. Rana turned around and put her backside to Lady close to the gate.

Backing up in such a manner (presenting your rear) is generally a submissive gesture. It appeared to be Rana’s way of saying, “I’m right here if you want, but I am going to make myself less scary.” Rana’s backside was close enough that Lady could’ve reached out and touched her (she didn’t).

Even though Lady still has clear boundaries, we are observing that Rana is very aware and respectful of them.

Trusting Rana’s respect and the softness we saw in both girls yesterday morning, we took it a step further and left the Stall 1 chute gate open after Rana went into the yard. Rana went under her shade tree, backside towards the barn, to enjoy some palms and a bit of hay. Once she seemed settled, we opened up Stall 1 for Lady to see what she thought and what she wanted to do.

It is extremely obvious when a gate is open, and Lady seemed very aware of this. When we opened up Stall 1 to Lady, she still immediately entered Stall 1 and went out on the patio – even with the gate open.

She walked to the open gate between the patio and the yard – and gazed at Rana for the first time without a fence between them. Lady stopped there and remained very calm. Rana sleepily continued eating her hay in the middle of the yard.
Lady stood there for about ten minutes, no stress of anxiety showing. However, she didn’t quite seem convinced that she could go into the yard and hang out with Rana. This, of course, is not a problem, everything on her own time, and as she feels comfortable. We gave her some treats and calm verbal praise a couple of times to reinforce her being brave.

Since Lady was backing up into the stall to exit through 2, we decided to open up the gate next to the barn between Yards 1 & 2 to see if Lady wanted to go out that way. After about 10 seconds of contemplation, she stepped out of the barn at her normal pace. Once out of the barn, she stood for a moment, looking towards Rana, then walked through the gate into the 2nd yard. There was no hurried walking or concern, she even stayed within a step of the gate. This, of course, got her more praise and treats. The best part of it all, Lady kept a soft, sweet face from beginning to end.

It’s always important to leave things on a positive note when you can, and we felt like Lady taking those few steps into the yard was enough excitement for her for the day. Once Lady was in Yard 2, we closed the gate between Yards 1 & 2, separating her from Rana once more. Full of smiles and all sorts of cuteness, we dropped some hay and watermelon for the girls. (Don’t worry – we stopped by the pond and left a chunk of watermelon on the side of the pond for Maia to enjoy when she was ready to come out and have a snack ☺️☺️).

Rana & Lady seem to enjoy their new routine and spent yesterday like previous days, grazing, wandering a bit, and watching each other.

Just because this happened once doesn’t mean we will do it again tomorrow. As always, the elephants are the ones who determine how everything goes. It is their moods and emotional space that dictates what occurs – both of them need to be in the appropriate mind space for a gate to open like this. Every day will be different. We are so excited that it happened once, but we will need to see how everything plays out before we try it again. It’s a step, but not a new routine (yet).

February 21, 2020


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  1. REPLY
    Sheila says

    bravo sweet lady and rana‼️ lady i think u r over ur major fear now the first big hurddle‼️ dear lady u will love rana! shes sweet too! she needs you shes older and she just lost ?ramba! i pray u will become her dear sister friend!?yes u both need each other!?maia needs a sister too! and mara will as well! so please get very friendly. u live in a glorius jungle haven something all u ladies never ever had before! ‼️truly a culture shock for all of u! u dont need to worry about the humans they love and dedicate their lives to u ladies and they have of treats?

  2. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    This getting exciting, in a quiet way of course. Knowing little about Lady, do you think she has never touched or been touches by another elephant since she left her mother?

  3. REPLY
    June Ross says

    Wonderful!! Bravo Lady!

  4. REPLY
    Sallie Robbins-Druian says

    Oh Boy, cannot wait as the excitement builds! Come on girls, we know you love each other! You both need the mutual affection that we can feel from here! FINGERS CROSSED!

  5. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    What a brave girl our Lady is!!! This is fantastic news and a big step for Lady. Rana is behaving so well and not becoming over excited about sharing the space with Lady. It’s as though Rana knows to keep things calm and allow Lady to settle. A true angel!
    This is very exciting.

  6. REPLY
    Nancy Jordan says

    Oh Scott – so many tears of joy here reading and listening to your blog. You are “elephant Doo-little” you understand all they do, what they think, and how they respond and their every need . You are so incredibly tender and gentle. I remember when I was severely depressed I didn’t want to be around anybody at all and if I was forced to be I just ran away as soon as I could (so I feel you Lady) – I’m super delighted at this news – ‘ go Lady’ love you all at Sanctuary

    • REPLY
      Kelejan says

      Nancy, you are like me, as we can identify with what Lady is going through. After all, we as humans seldom take instantly to another human, it takes time to become close.

      • Nancy jordan says

        Thank you Kelejan. What you say is true. But I can also remember hating being out around even my closest friends when I was so depressed – and I expect on top of Lady’s fear and anxiety there must be an element of depression too – Lady is doing amazingly well

  7. REPLY
    Cassie Raymond says

    I’m so amazed at the thoughtfulness, contemplation, and decision-making of elephants. They’re so complex and it always saddens me when people make comments like, “It’s just an animal.” It pleases me greatly that as years go by the treatment and consideration of people towards animals has gotten increasingly deeper and better. I’m 70 and it’s taken humanity a long time to get to this point. I’m sure I won’t live to see them removed from all meals, but I do believe, that in time, that, too, will happen. Thank you for all you do for the elephants. I love watching your videos and reading your posts. It’s great to keep up with everyone. And I’d like to also add my congratulations to Brave Lady and Patient Rana!

    • REPLY
      Rosie P says

      I couldn’t have put it better myself, Cassie. They are never “just animals”. The world is changing…very gradually, but there are many humans who feel the same way as we do. I never thought I would see veganism become commonplace in my lifetime. I became vegan in the 70s and came up against a lot of criticism then…..but that simply made me stronger!!! LOL!
      It warms my heart to be part of this ESB family, knowing these beautiful beings are treated with such respect and empathy. Truly, this is the way foreward for all animals on this planet.
      Much love!

      • Cassie Raymond says

        Thank you, Rosie. Much love to you!

  8. REPLY
    Muriel Servaege says

    Wonderful pair.

  9. REPLY
    Angelina Souren says

    Thanks for sharing. And thanks so much for stepping into Lady’s shoes and seeing the world from her perspective.

    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      Hi Angelina, thanks so much for letting us know about the channels! And yes, we intentionally post the smaller videos as Unlisted. Thanks, Angelina!

  10. REPLY
    Carey says

    wow, what a huge leap forward, that is so great!

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