Lady Has an Elephant Visitor

Last week, before Lady began spending time in the male Asian habitat, Kat was taking her some extra snacks in Yard 3 at the end of the night. While Kat was standing there, she heard another elephant close – just on the other side of the fence. So she gave Lady her hay, but saved a little for whomever was nearby.

After leaving the habitat and driving around the corner, Kat could hear the elephant approaching. Since it was already a little dark, it was initially difficult to see who was, but the elephant’s leg swing quickly gave away that it was Rana. That was a little surprising, since Rana had been with Bambi and Mara just about an hour before that, by the pond. The girls that generally break off from the group after dinner are the fast ones, Maia and Guille, because they’re always game for more exploration. So it was a little out of the ordinary to see Rana standing there in that moment. Kat gave her a little bit of hay, said hello, and left her to go about her evening as she so chose. 

Late that night Kat and Scott heard a huge to-do, with Bambi putting out a loud call. Mara was also making her typical “err” noises, so most likely it was in response to realizing that Rana was nowhere to be found. After a few minutes Rana called back, so she must have decided to make her return to her friends. We could hear soft rumbles, as the group of girls talked back and forth to one another.

Ultimately, we’re not sure why Rana felt drawn to visit Lady that night, but their ways of conveying information are complex and beautiful. It’s nice to know that she perhaps felt in some way curious about Lady – or simply wanted to say hello to an old friend. We’ll never know, but we never stop being impressed with their seemingly infinite ways of communicating. 

Photo of Rana


  1. REPLY
    Suzanne says

    A beautiful story indeed! Wise Rana…. so happy for Lady & Rana too. Hopefully more in the future <3

  2. REPLY
    Melinda says

    I really hope it’s the beginning of Lady making a close-up and personal friendship with Rana! I feel that she needs other ellies in her life.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s always possible that will happen! Though it’s important to remember that what we want for them isn’t always what they want for themselves. It will be interesting to see how things progress or if Lady seems interested in more time with others.

  3. REPLY
    Melinda says

    I hope Lady can make some friends! Do you guys know about Happy in the Bronx Zoo? Zookeepers there claim she WANTS to be alone, and are refusing to release her to a sanctuary where she would be among other elephants (a lawsuit is ongoing). This sounds outrageous, but Lady seems similar in temperament. What do you experts think?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      In a situation like that, it’s hard to know what the answer is. It’s possible that Happy does want to be alone, but unless given the choice that she would have at somewhere like sanctuary we’ll never be able to tell. Lady was given the choice and, while she has spent time sharing space with others in the past, seems to prefer her own company most of the time. She still communicates with the others, so she’s not totally alone. We have known many zookeepers who truly want the best for their elephants and don’t understand the impact sanctuary can have until they see the elephants transformed in a sanctuary setting.

  4. REPLY
    Patricia Richardson says

    Thank you for sharing their nuanced world with us, truly wonderful to heart and spirit!

  5. REPLY
    Johnny says

    Oh my! Who knows what could happen next!

  6. REPLY
    Charlotte Hansen says

    This is so exciting! Hurray for Rana for reaching out to Lady! (or whatever she was doing)

  7. REPLY
    Melinda says

    The terrible tragedy, of course, is that these wonderful beings have been so traumatized and harmed by captivity., that we will never know what their true personalities and potentials might have been.

    I’m just so grateful that GSE exists and is helping many to recover and experience the joy of just being elephants again.

  8. REPLY
    Alana says

    Magnificent Rana doing her thing in her gentle way.

  9. REPLY
    Raven Black says

    Just like precious Rana! Going to check on Lady and giving a little how’d do?
    She truly is sister to all.
    Hopefully it’s a step closer for Lady to feel like she can join the “Supremes!”
    Would love to hear her singing along with the other ladies! 😍

  10. REPLY
    Maureen says

    Rana is such an amazing and insightful Elle. Who knows why she felt drawn to be near Lady that evening? Possibly Lady just needed to know someone was close by and that may be just enough for her, which of course is perfectly wonderful. The beauty and joy of Sanctuary is that it’s always their choices and they know that now!!! Thank you for sharing such a sweet encounter.

  11. REPLY
    bo says

    i’m going for option ‘Rana visiting friend’ .
    guess it’s no surprise that Mara and Bambi, maybe Guille as well, wanted to know what Rana was up to, where she was.
    so sweet, the herd way 🥰

  12. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    It is always heartwarming to think that Lady will make a friend, and enjoy some social time with the herd. Maybe this is a start. Just maybe Rana knows something we don’t, and they may have been communicating and visiting before! So many times we wish we knew their thoughts…….this is another one of those times. 🐘❤️

  13. REPLY
    Sheila says

    Dear sweet Matriarch Rana has been in a large yard a few times with Lady last yr I believe. Rana does not go close to Lady. As Lady has never touched any of gals! I believe Rana was missing seeing Lady in her yard and was looking for her thus calling out and finding her in the MENS area. Nice that Lady and Rana connected. Shows that Mara and others were concerned about Rana also. Such a beautiful herd of ladies all concerned about each other. JUST LOVELY!

  14. REPLY
    Carey says

    We won’t know the half of how and with whom they communicate and whenI guess – but always fascinating to hear that it’s ongoing, and love the autonomy and natural way their lives pan out and reveal themselves to us. We are very lucky

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