Four Ladies Share One Yard

Because Lady is still spending time in the male Asian yards, we opened up the remaining yards so the other five elephants could roam wherever they wanted to go. During the evening, there was what sounded like a loud Rana trumpet. Just to make sure all was well, Scott and Kat looked at the observation camera and saw Maia and Bambi in Yard 1 and Rana and Mara were heading their way. It was the first time the four of them had seen each other since Maia and Bambi went roaming in Yard 5, which was about a week prior. Everyone seemed slightly tentative and Bambi walked a little ways away from the group.

We weren’t sure if the dynamics would change again now that the four elephants were in the same yard together. Bambi has been attached to Mara for so long that we didn’t know if she’d go back to her old ways and choose Mara again. But Bambi seems to have finally shifted in her mindset. She seems to understand that Maia is providing her with the kind of friendship that she needs right now, but also one that she has never really been the recipient of.

Sometimes the four girls would stand together and at other times they’d be split into their two respective groups. Initially, every time that Mara would move near Bambi, Maia would put herself in a position between the two of them, so she’s apparently feeling protective of Bambi. At one point, Mara moved quickly toward Bambi and Bambi acted as though she was going to leave, but instead just backed up until her bottom was touching Maia’s. Bambi appeared to relax at that point. 

It seems Maia has a sense that Bambi has a deeper emotional need and appears to have volunteered to be there for her. Perhaps she remembers her own initial insecurity and is giving back some of what Guida gave to her. But it was nice to see that the four of them could share space and socialize – though trust issues clearly remain for Bambi as far as Mara is concerned.

P.S.: If you’d like to watch some of the camera footage of the girls together, you can check it out on YouTube:


  1. REPLY
    Jen says

    It really makes me sad for Bambi; she and Mara were so inseparable! Bambi must feel confused, let down, and maybe even betrayed. I’m so glad that Maia has come in with sister support and companionship. And where is Guille during all of this? Everything good with the youngster?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Bambi seems to be doing well and exhibiting happiness with Maia. And Guille is bouncing back and forth between the two groups. She’s just enjoying herself and being her silly self.

  2. REPLY
    Carolyn Clarke says

    This made me wonder if there is any major research happening regarding elephant communication in the wild. We Humans think we have the most advanced form of communication, yet elephants seem to understand each other better than we humans. We think of telepathy as something from science fiction, yet I wonder if it isn’t part of the language of elephants and maybe many other none human animals. (Whales come to mind) Maybe something we lost as our language evolved.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      There’s plenty of research on elephant communication. You can find a whole section about it at ElephantVoices:

  3. REPLY
    Patricia Mitchell says

    Love all the girls! So happy for them to be living a good life!

  4. REPLY
    Lara Anderson says

    These moments you witness and shared are filled with such pure beauty. In a world full of agony and little joy, this is the most joyous scene to imagine. The love, the tenderness, trepidation, yet friendship and bonding. It fills my heart when nothing else can.

  5. REPLY
    Terry says

    You have got to love group dynamics!!

  6. REPLY
    Carolyn Clarke says

    Thank you Sara for that link. I will check it out. I look forward to learning more about elephant communication.

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