In Memory of Ramba

Rescued October 18, 2019
Died December 26, 2019 at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil
Necropsy determination- Died from kidney failure (after 7-year battle)
Approximately 63-65 years old.  Ex-circus elephant.

It breaks our hearts to have to share that Ramba has passed away. Our stubborn, beautiful, and larger-than-life grandma didn’t have the strength to battle her kidney issues any longer. Her passing doesn’t come as a tremendous surprise. When Ramba was diagnosed with kidney disease 7 years ago, our biggest hope was to get her through the year. One year miraculously turned into seven, and her strength allowed her the chance to come to the sanctuary. It seems that elephants have this inexplicable profound knowledge; Ramba was told time and time again that she would go to the sanctuary and she fought to ensure she got there. Once here, she found tremendous joy, was able to explore in ways she had always wanted, discovered what true friendship was, and maybe, in the end, that was all she needed. She started living, but in the process, it seems she stopped fighting. She was tired.

Early on Thursday morning, December 26th, Rana and Maia were at the barn without Ramba. This happens: Ramba likes to explore more than Rana, and sometimes, Ramba returns to the pasture for an early morning mud bath while Rana stays close to the barn in anticipation of breakfast. We drove to find Ramba and found her in one of her favorite spots, the fourth yard across the creek. She looked like she was sleeping. It appears that Ramba’s passing was sudden, as the grass all around where her body lay was untouched. Just a perfect elephant, lying in a beautiful pasture, her eyes gently closed and her sweet face looking as calm as we have seen.

Uncertain if Rana knew what happened, we walked her back to her sister. It seemed Rana did not know because when she stepped very close to Ramba and her eyes widened as she took several deep smells and then repeatedly let out low quiet rumbles.  She smelled and touched all over Ramba, seeming to try to understand what happened. After several minutes of this, she became quiet and stood next to Ramba, grazing. This is where she spent the rest of her day, grazing and standing over her friend.

A little later in the day, Maia was also brought over to see Ramba and to say her good-byes. She too touched and smelled, but then she stood over the top of her, the way she used to do with Guida, making sure her belly rubbed against Ramba’s. This raised Rana’s attention for a moment and she seemed to want to protect Ramba from Maia’s belly, but she calmed when she saw Maia’s intentions were gentle and loving. Maia’s visit was shorter, by her own accord, as we let them decide what they need – and when she was ready she walked away. Although her visit was brief compared to the time she spent with Guida, both Maia and Rana displayed a delicate reverence for their responsibility to honor their friend.

Ramba was special. There was something about being in her presence that brought you back to center and made your heart smile at the same time. We fell in love with her seven years ago, and she was part of the reason we dove into moving forward with a sanctuary in Brazil. There was no leaving her behind or forgetting about her, once you met her, that was that. And it seems it wasn’t only humans that felt this way. Ramba had a grounding effect on Maia, Rana adored her, and even Lady seemed to relax and trust in her presence.

We had said that each day Ramba was at the sanctuary was a gift, not only for her, but for everyone who spent time with her and who was touched by her. Although we always wish every elephant had more time at the sanctuary, we are so grateful that she made it here and found her joy.

Tributes to Ramba

Please leave your thoughts, wishes, emotions or whatever pours into this Memorial Page for our beloved Ramba.