Lady has been continuing to gain confidence.
Initially, when Lady shared the larger yards with Rana & Mara, we were curious if she truly knew they were already in the yard when she’d enter. When she was sharing the smaller yards (1-3), we were confident she knew, because they would be in view. In the larger yards, of course, she can’t see who is there when she enters.
A few times recently, she has seen Mara & Rana in Yard 4 and still goes into Yard 4 without hesitating. To us, that demonstrated that she isn’t intimidated by them anymore. We never know if she’s heading into Yard 4 to go to the pond, or hang out in some of her favorite trees, or have parties in different bushes. Whether she’s in a Yard with them for two hours or two days, it’s nice to see her so comfortable entering those spaces, knowing it means she is putting herself closer to other elephants.
That isn’t the only aspect that we see her confidence growing. The other morning, we were having a “three elephant” morning – Lady was near where Yards 2, 3, & 4 meet. It seemed like Lady wanted to go into Yard 3, either for alone time or to go to the barn for foot soaks (and buckets of fruit). Mara and Rana were between Lady and the gate, at a nearby trough. Shirlei was offering them water through the hose and planned on leading them further down the fence for breakfast so that Lady could head into Yard 3 comfortably.
Surprisingly, Lady just walked by them along the road. She passed about 4-5 meters (10-15 feet) away from Rana and Mara. Even Rana stopped, seeming a little surprised, and then ended up following Lady down the path. After a bit, Lady stopped walking, and Rana caught up to her. When Lady saw her, she startled for a moment and took a few quick steps before slowing to her walking pace. She tends to have these moments of “I’ve got this! I’m brave! I’m comfortable!” followed by moments of “Oh wait a minute,” She seems to be able to remind herself that it’s okay without human encouragement or reassurance. Those moments where she gets nervous are happening more rarely and are passing more quickly.
She goes back and forth between comfort and discomfort. She seems increasingly comfortable pushing her boundaries, which is how the best growth occurs. At the same time, Mara is also becoming more comfortable in general, as well as a little more curious about Lady. That morning, we fed them near to each other. They remained tranquil while watching each other, but it was a friendly sort of openly curious watching and not a negative type of watchful. After Mara finished eating, she walked over between Rana and Lady. Mara seemed interested but kept her distance.
It’s incredibly positive to see how they are developing more comfort and confidence in their own time and space. It’s also encouraging to see how Mara and Rana are sensitive to her discomfort. They are watching Lady’s body language and communications and respecting her needs – which should hopefully help her feel more confident.
Photo of Lady.
July 31. 2020