Lady continues to take steps forward in getting closer to the other girls. The video was taken after both girls had already been inside for 10-15 minutes. There are a few ‘best parts’ to this. The first one is Ramba was the one inside of the barn first. We let Ramba in to work on her feet, and Lady was close. Always looking to allow for opportunities for interactions when everyone is in a good place, we opened the barn up on the other side so Lady could come in if she wanted. After a few minutes of watching, she decided to walk in.
Her barn door remained open so that she could leave at any point. Initially, she stood watching for a minute, and then when Ramba moved, Lady went to leave. This time she stopped at the door on the way out of the barn. She stood for a moment as we told her it was ok, thought about it, then turned around and came back in. This is another ‘best part’ because this is the first time we have seen her stop and think about what she is doing instead of just responding.
There were a few other times she thought about leaving, but not in a hurried fashion. She went onto the patio at one point, stayed there for a couple of minutes, and then came back in again. This is also the first time Lady has watched one of the other girls get any treatment, which was interesting as well. Lady relaxed right into having Ramba in the next stall. As you can see in the video, Lady continues to eat her palm while Ramba dusts. Ramba ends up being a perfect ‘starter’ elephant for Lady because she’s not pushy with her affection, and she’s incredibly grounded, which allows Lady to feel more secure. And as you can also see, when Ramba steps towards Lady, Lady doesn’t back up or run away. She calmly continues to eat her palm as if nothing has changed.
All in all, this was a really lovely interaction between the two of them. It was all on Lady’s terms; she’s the one who initiated it, she stopped and thought, and ended up being calm throughout all of Ramba’s treatment and then some. Every elephant that comes to the sanctuary is different, and one of the keys to their healing is to acknowledge the individual, listen to what they show you, and adjust accordingly. While elephants like Rana were looking for a friend upon arrival, others will have to work up to trusting other elephants. Lady’s doing perfectly for her. Although being a herd member is an integral part of being an elephant, captivity causes many levels of damage, and this can be one. For her relationships to be healthy, she has to sort some things out, and sanctuary gives her the space, time, and respect to do just that.
Lady is in the far stall, Ramba close. And sorry about the changes in lighting, the camera tries to self adjust at times and goes a little crazy.
December 25, 2019
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