Lady has always been a bit of an enigma. Since her arrival in November, she has marched to her own drum. Lady has shown us that she is comfortable exploring since her first day but still isn’t completely comfortable up close to other elephants (without a fence between them). She often ignores the paths through the habitat and walks through the dense bushes instead. Lady has veered from a trail to walk up a steep hill off to the side. These are her choices to make, and often her decisions make us smile.
She loves splashing and playing in puddles, water troughs, and mudholes, but we had never seen her swimming. Not once. One time, we saw her up to her knees, splashing. We’ve seen her standing next to the pond, soaking wet head-to-toe and looking innocent. We’ve seen her dung balls floating in the pond mysteriously, but we’ve never seen her go all the way in.
Well, Lady spent around two weeks in Yards 1, 2, & 3, and then we saw her paying more attention to the world on the other side of the fence. She seemed to be letting us know that she was ready to go back into that space. The other 3 ladies were in Yard 5, so we decided to close off the gates between 4 & 5. After treatment, we opened up Yard 4 to Lady, and she took off in Maia-style, at a half-run, as if she was late to an appointment.
As Lady sped off, Kat headed back to the barn to gather a few things before bringing Lady her dinner. When going back out, Kat followed the fenceline down to the end and didn’t spot Lady. Since Kat was by the mud wallow and knows that Lady loves her mud wallows extra wet, she stopped briefly to add some water. While Kat was there, she saw a strange movement out the corner of her eye and turned her head – and realized Lady was fully submerged in the pond. She was sitting up, butt on the floor of the pond, rubbing back and forth- in total squishy play mode.
The first clips of her in the pond aren’t included here, they were taken at a significant distance with bushes somewhat in the way. But because we never see her in the pond, we were willing to take whatever we could get so we would have something to share. Lady did get up and out for a minute and then went back in, which allowed us to get closer and get the video we are sharing. It seems that Lady was so ready for a swim she didn’t even bother to hide it from her humans.
We included the clip of Lady climbing out of the pond because it showcases the strength Lady has developed in her time here. There are easier ways to exit the pond, but, in typical Lady fashion, she is doing things however she wants, and we love that about her.
(PS: Since we know we’ll probably be asked – we find it very unlikely that Lady would have bee-lined to the pond and directly gone in if she never went swimming and playing in it before. So this works with our theory that Lady has been getting in the pond all along – it just doesn’t answer the question as to if she was hiding it from us, or we managed to miss her each time)
June 11, 2020