Lady Goes Swimming!!

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


Asian habitat graphic map


  1. REPLY
    Bobi StaySee says

    Wonderful! Wonder full. Caught this first on YouTube, it hadn’t made it to email yet. Here in email happy to view a third time, and there’s a map!! This all says so much as to how enormously content and happy Ms. Lady is in Sanctuary. Me thinks she knows her way around that pond for sure. Your stealthy filming is greatly appreciated. Sweet.

  2. REPLY
    Heidi says

    Wow that is one happy girl! I love how she slaps and splashes the water like a little kid. Better get her some bath toys!

  3. REPLY
    Gramma Tammy says

    Love Love Love it especially watching her having fun blowing bubbles and that smile on her face is just priceless! ?????

  4. REPLY
    Wim Diepeveen says

    Sensational footage from an over-happy bathing party. Such an intimate view in a GIANTS life. She truly is adorable. Maybe Lady SPLASH is a fitting name. ???

  5. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Wow – how heartwarming to see the Lady enjoying a peaceful, soothing pond spa. She deserves every second of it. Right now there’s a wild rabbit outside my home office window, relaxing in the shade under an ash tree. I can’t help but look around my computer every so often to see it relaxing – now on its side which I don’t see often. I love all animals. Elephants and dogs are at the top of the list, but these rabbits grab my heart too. Thanks for the lovely video.

  6. REPLY
    Julie says

    She looks so healthy and strong. When you have your health, life is beautiful. I wonder, is the Yard 5 pond much better than the Yard 1 pond? Maybe she just likes variety, and she’s been swimming in all of them all along. Oh well, mystery and magic are the spice of life for Elephant Keepers. ?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      In this video, she is in the yard 4 pond. Yard 1 only has a mud wallow, not a full pond. The pond is 5 is smaller than the pond in 4, although they can submerge in both.

  7. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    Wow, thanks so much for sharing this it’s wonderful to see. Lady is so enjoying splashing and playing, what a waterbaby ????❤️

  8. REPLY
    Lynn says

    Lady is such an independent girl. I love all the girls but Lady is a heart favorite. It’s so nice to see her happy. She is taking to her freedom with gusto. She’s my hero ?????

  9. REPLY
    Bertica Valdes Suárez says

    To feel the water all over her body, all around her skin, to float off her feet, and let her forget fear little by little. Her humans, lovely thing to say, might find She’s making a trail to the pond since no doubt she uses it often. Beautiful girl, brave.

  10. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Lady is changing and the world is changing! Change is good!??

  11. REPLY
    Barb says

    Fabulous! So happy to see Lady splashing and enjoying the pond. I think she has been “hiding” it from you but today graced us with her water ballet. Precious!

  12. REPLY
    Christine Strickling says

    Makes my heart happy to see Lady enjoying herself so much . You go Lady!

  13. REPLY
    June Ross says

    My heart is singing after watching our Lady in the pond! Amazing and I loved seeing her so very happy..

  14. REPLY
    Jennifer says

    Lady is slap happy in the pond! Love seeing her this way❤️?❤️

  15. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    A joy to behold! Our sweet Lady having a pond party of her own…lost in the moment of pure bliss! How can anyone fail to be uplifted by this….an animal who has lived most of her life denied of the simple pleasures now enjoying what should always have been hers for the taking.
    A happy elephant makes me a happy human! Thank you Kat for capturing this special moment for us. Magical!XXXXXXXXX

  16. REPLY
    Paula says

    Eso es estar en el lugar y momento correcto !? Que gran regalo te dió Lady❤
    Maravilloso, hermoso y feliz momento en la vida de un elefante! Como ama el agua esta dama!
    Muchas gracias por compartir este “secreto de Lady”!
    Nos llena el corazón su alegría! Que más le podemos pedir a la vida?❤?

  17. REPLY
    Lynne Russert says

    So wonderful seeing her have so much fun in that pond!?

  18. REPLY
    Dee White says

    I took my blood pressure after cleaning the kitchen, 148/83.
    Then I watched Lady swimming and retook it, 123/72!
    Thank you Lady! The Global Sanctuary for Elephants is good for our health too!

  19. REPLY
    Carol-Ann says

    Lady! Your skin is shimmering with contented bliss.
    Thank you for sharing this image…my heart is full knowing that Lady has found joy.
    I feel reinvigorated and grateful.

  20. REPLY
    JamesMichael says

    Lady is having a ball! This is absolutely precious …glorous…

  21. REPLY
    C says

    one of the best videos I’ve seen of Lady, she does look so toned! Great filming, thank you!

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