Lady Continues to Gain Confidence


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



asian habitat ver 2


  1. REPLY
    Julia Mercedes Eden says

    It’s such brilliant news reading this positive update about precious Lady. It’s a huge credit to you there that you’ve enabled her to feel so comfortable and that she’s growing in confidence as she is. To whoever wrote this article, I love the way you have with words. Sending the elephants at GSE and the humans very much love and thanks on the lady’s behalf ❤️????❤️

  2. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    It is truly a miracle when one considers that Lady was never allowed to make any decision on her own. A human was always there with a bull hook to tell her what to do, and when to do it. It is wonderful to watch and read about her development into a free elephant that can make even the smallest decisions on her own. I cannot imagine what it would take even as a human to be a slave the entire life with no mind of my own, then to be able to make the smallest decisions…..where to turn, where to walk, even to drink or eat. Then to be able to make these choices must be overwhelming at times. Thank you GSE for your patience and understanding, and guiding these beautiful souls to be free mind, body and spirit.

  3. REPLY
    Barb says

    Such an exciting update on Lady’s interactions with her ele sisters! I especially love how Rana and Mara seem to recognize Lady’s emotional state and act accordingly. As always, we are grateful for any news you can share with us.

  4. REPLY
    Barb says

    Oops, I forgot to mention how I so enjoy seeing the habitat map (but then you’ve heard me say this before :o)

  5. REPLY
    Wim says

    Delighted with the progress of our Fair Lady and the other girls. They are forging their circle of Sisters. How strong natural forces work together.

  6. REPLY
    Julie says

    It doesn’t surprise me that Rana and Mara are so intuitive about relating to Lady. I’ve never heard of a bad elephant, only elephants reacting to bad people. I also want to tell you all how you all encourage me to keep hoping all of these elephant victims in South America can live out their lives in sanctuary. Thank you!

  7. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin(Sandy) says

    La actitud integradora de Ranay Mara hacia Lady emociona,aunque sea por curiosidad,llevara quizas ,lentamente a una posible amistad,y donde caben 3 caben 4. Que dificil para las 4 bellas administrar la libertad despues de la esclavitud,y empezar a verse reflejadas una en la otra como elefantas,sin restricciones y dentro de un marco natural,pero con la presencia de humanos que las respetan

  8. REPLY
    Sallie says

    Every day is progress. Bravo, dear lady! Keep it up, and soon you all will be bosom buddies! Yippee!

  9. REPLY
    Alana says

    All I can think to say is EXCELLENT!

  10. REPLY
    Paula says

    A veces pienso que el dolor que sufre Lady en sus pies, es la causa de que ella se sienta algo incómoda o vulnerable ante la presencia de otros elefantes. Ella es valiente y las damas amables, probablemente ellas saben que Lady está adolorida y la respetan.
    Seguro ellas ganarán mayor confianza mutuamente con el tiempo.

  11. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    I often think how hard it must be for abused elephants (or any rescued animal), who have had no freewill to do what they want, to suddenly find themselves in sanctuary. I know that I would be wondering when someone was going to jump out from a bush and hit me with a bullhook ! It takes time to heal and I guess some adapt better than others as we have seen at ESB.
    It is joyous to read even the slightest progress any of the girls make but it is fuel for the heart to hear of all Lady Bug’s steps on her journey. It is very encouraging to know how she has been with Rana and Mara….and what stars they are to let Lady have he space when near them. Amazing! I think of elephants as old souls, walking this Earth. To be cherished. Teachers. We humans can learn so much from them.

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