Since rainy weather means footwork season for all of the girls, Mara was in the barn recently having a foot soak, when Lady walked over. The footsoak chute exits into Yard 3, where Lady was hanging out at the time. For some reason, Mara was startled by Lady’s presence in the yard, and she took a step back to watch for a moment before returning to her foot soak. Lady stayed for a few more moments, just watching quietly. They were both a little uncertain, but also a bit intrigued. In scenarios like this, another elephant might reach out to touch a friend that’s nearby – but that’s not Lady’s style. So, she just watched and ate some hay before walking off. Still, Lady was very curious about Mara and what was going on, even if she kept her boundary. She tends to be more inquisitive and interactive when she feels safe and secure, and she seemed to be in that kind of emotional place that afternoon.
It was interesting to see Mara be so hesitant around Lady, since Lady is hardly an intimidating presence. Mara comes across as so confident around Bambi and Rana, but is less so around Maia and Lady. There are definitely times when her insecurities peek through. Sometimes, elephants, like Rana, become more confident the longer they are in sanctuary. Others need longer, or will always require space, like Lady. Because Mara was sick with her gastrointestinal issues for many months, that hampered her social growth a bit, since she needed to concentrate on her own wellness.
Insecurity can be a hard emotion to resolve, and we saw two elephants that struggle in that area interact with one another, and eventually settle into a comfortable place. As always, things evolve over time.
Photo of Lady in one of her happy places