Lady, Rana, and Mara Sharing the Same Yard!

Today, Lady came back to the barn. Lady is the elephant that is further away and in the bushes at the beginning of the video. Mara and Rana are the two nearby elephants eating hay. Lady is in the same Yard as Mara and Rana!

Lady is being absolutely exceptional. She came back to the barn this morning during Rana’s morning treatment (on her eye papilloma). Once Rana exited the barn and reentered the yard with Mara, Lady entered the barn for her foot soaks. Lady spent a lot of time smelling all the smells of Mara and became curious. We gave Lady the option of walking in the Yard with Rana and Mara, and Lady did. She has entered and exited the yard with them several times. Mara & Rana are also very curious. Lady is not ready to interact with them, and is still keeping her distance, but is doing exceptionally well and sharing space with them.



We’ve received lots of comments, questions, and messages about Lady the past few days. One of the core elements of Sanctuary is autonomy and giving them a space that, for the first time in their lives is truly their space. It’s their space to make their own decisions on their own time. It’s so easy to put our human desires on them, but it isn’t about us – it’s about them.

Lady is totally fine being off on her own. We were actually planning on filming a video with Lady in the habitat today, just to show how happy she is and discuss how it is her choice to stay away, but then, before we could, she showed up at the barn, surprising us all.  🙂 Sanctuary is about honoring what they want on their own time. So much of their lives have been about human desires and what humans want. Now, Lady is on her time. This beautiful relationship between Rana and Mara also isn’t what it’s all about either. It’s about choice. The most important thing we can do is honor their choices.

Lady has been watchful and curious. There have been soft, sweet rumbles between the three elephants, and a few squeaks from Mara. When Lady feels ready and brave, we see Lady come closer. When it gets to be too much for her, she steps away.

In general, Lady’s feet are looking amazing. Likely, we will begin trimming them again this afternoon. Her movement and muscles are all looking great – all the exercise she is getting is helping her feet improve as well.

Rana and Mara continue to look tired – they are continuing to be very active side by side, which is very sweet.

Lady goes deeper into the bushes during this video (of course – Lady loves standing in bushes!), so you cannot always see her, but she is there. Maia is around but in a separate yard. Maia spent most of yesterday with Mara and Rana.



With Lady being so brave, we do not want to add in another elephant to overwhelm her. If they were all four in the same yard, with Lady’s insecurities, it could cause her to be very fearful. To force a scenario would not help her build that self- confidence, and it betrays her trust in us. Lady is being very brave, and it is important to honor that.

It is very remarkable what Lady did today. We know that everyone wants them all together, but, again, that’s the human element of what we want for them, but it may not be what they want for them. Lady shows us today that she wants more, but that she just isn’t ready. She needs more time to build more trust. The most pivotal part of Sanctuary is letting them lead us through.

What happened between Mara and Rana was very fast. We need to honor the process of life, and honor their recovery – each one is so different and must be approached as such.

For those asking if they will become a herd, it is possible one day – but we do not know if it will happen. The damage done in captivity – the isolation, the lack of interaction, all the trauma, being stolen from their families at such a young age – all that damage runs very deep. It is up to them to decide what happens next, and that is a beautiful thing. ❤️

May 21, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    I am so proud of Lady. I can’t wait to see how it all continues to develop, but the most important thing is that all of them find their own best lives. That is all I want for them.

  2. REPLY
    Wim Diepeveen says

    It sure is a great honour to watch all the Ladies together or not. They show their talents all the time. Wonderful timing in the daily ‘buzzing’ Elephant lives. You can feel the peaceful recovered freedom from afar.
    Be safe and joyful together. ??????

  3. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Way to go sweet Lady – you be you and you’re now in a home that honors that. Scott, you remind me of a counselor. A very thoughtful and wise man who looks at the big picture and due to years of experience, does not allow human emotions and desires to eclipse what’s really important here – the blossoming of the individual elephant. By providing respect and dignity for how they prefer to live day by day, you honor their distinct personalities. And with Kat by your side doing what she does so expertly, well, these elephants truly have a sanctuary to call home. My spirit is filled with joy for each of them. Just like you, I continue to try to express my gratitude but sometimes words are not enough. I’m in awe of all of you. “Chow”.

    • REPLY
      Jean Tryon says

      Indeed he is. As a retired therapist [for the human kind], I can see that Scott is such a good therapist for the elephant kind. Holding each in the highest regard, allowing them to tell him what’s on their mind, rather than asking them, “And how did that make you feel?” Ick! I never asked my clients that!! He is a keen listener… an elephant whisperer!! His wondrous response to an elephant’s question is always, “I hear you. I understand. It’s all strange right now, but you are safe.”

      • Rachel says

        Jean – you’re my kind of therapist ❤️

  4. REPLY
    Renee says

    You mentioned that Maia is really sensitive. Isn’t there a risk that she feels increasingly excluded by being separated? I know it’s for a short time but wouldn’t she possibly think that these bonds are being formed when she is separated?

    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      Maia has also spent time with Rana and Mara. This post from the day before yesterday has a video of a portion of their time together.

  5. REPLY
    Debra Moore says

    Patience is golden, even for elephants! Love seeing Miss Lady, and so happy for her coming to the barn and BEING there with the others. Everyone being so soft and sweet with each other, I am impressed! Time to sit back and relax and see what happens next! I cannot wait to see how this all comes together in whatever ways that makes them all happy with their freedoms. THANK you so much

  6. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Dios los bendiga por cuidar y ayudar a que las chicas puedan a su tiempo disfrutar de su nueva vida y sin Dios lo permite puedan olvidarse un poquito de tanto trauma y tanto daño…No todo está perdido, ustedes son la prueba…de todo corazón gracias!!

  7. REPLY
    Claudia says

    Thank you for taking the time to make these wonderful videos for all of us.

  8. REPLY
    Renee says

    I know. I guess i was asking if Maia feels left out when she is closed in one yard while a) Mara arrived and forged such a fast bond with Rana and b) when Lady came back. Does she feel like she’s missing an opportunity to bond first and thus gets scraps. Or maybe I’m putting too many human processes on them.

    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      The reality is we take all of the girls into consideration when it comes to introductions, who goes when, who’s where. The girls don’t always come to say hello. Sometimes it’s that simple. The first day the fence introduction was Rana and Maia at the same time. We did not prioritize who was who at that point because they were both close and we thought it would be nice for both of them to be able to say hi. On Mara’s second day Maia was across the creek in five, and Rana was close. So Rana got to come in. We did not know that it was going to go as it did. But because it was going the way it was we gave them the day together. Maia was in within the next day two days after that. There was only one day where she wasn’t in with them and it was because she was on the other side of the habitat – by her choice, not ours. we didn’t take her away. When Lady came by Maia was all the way out by where Guida is buried. She did come by in the afternoon and we gave her a choice whether she wanted to go into yard four or whether she wanted to come over close to the girls. She chose to go over into four. Walked out into four and right into her pond.

      So a lot of it has to do with choice, a lot of it has to do with prioritizing. Maia had already had two days with the two of them. The reality is our choice would have been to just leave Lady in, but we do also want to see how Maia reacts, and how that affects things, but she was more interested in going into another yard than she was in with her hanging out with them. And that is her nature since Guida passed away.

      So yes, it is going to be people putting on their own things. Whether it’s somebody who was picked last for kickball, or who was the third wheel for two best friends, or whatever happened in their past that affects how they judge what goes on with the elephants. It’s not just people from the outside, caregivers do it, too. It is the hardest part of getting people to work with elephants and putting their own stuff aside – and seeing what is really going on for what is going on versus the emotions they put into it. So yes, there is always a possibility that someone can feel left out when it’s this sort of thing, but it’s not something you really see in elephants. When there’s three if they all want to be close, they are close. It’s that simple. But right now that’s not what it is, but who knows how it will evolve.

  9. REPLY
    Sallie Robbins-Druian says

    GLORIOUS MISS LADY, You have a wonderful group of companions! I am so happy for you! And you have a wonderful sense of camaraderie that will forge your friendships Forever! I am so happy for you. Take your time, give a little distance, give a little love . . .

  10. REPLY
    Rita Iordanides says

    When you shoot video please let us see all of the elephants. You shot mostly video of the bushes where Lady was, which we could only see initially. After that all I saw was a tree and bushes. I wanted to see Rana and especially the new elephant Mara. Mara was almost never on screen. We want to see her! Thanks. I’m not worried about Lady.

    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      It’s about all of our supporters and all of our elephants. There are many people that want to know how Lady is doing so we tried to show her yesterday. We do Live Feeds to try and keep everybody connected but there’s essentially no other organization that does this. Every video that we do is somewhat of a gift to our supporters for being there, for helping to create sanctuary, to allow supporters to stay connected to the elephants. This isn’t a zoo. Animals aren’t available for peoples’ viewing pleasure. Sometimes they are deep in the bushes. Sometimes they are away from the barn and deep in the habitat, and all you get to see is a little glimpse of a butt in bushes – and that is part of sanctuary.

      • Rosie P says


      • EleComposer says


      • Tammy says

        We are so very lucky to get videos of the girls when possible and do understand the sanctuary is just that it’s all about the Elephants not humans who are the cause of all their emotional and physical suffering so thank you for keeping it as natural as possible they deserve to be left alone to enjoy their new found life of peace friendships and true happiness ???

      • EleComposer says


  11. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    If I ever needed a reason for supporting ESB (other than to give captive elephants a better life, which goes without saying) then this is it! Allowing them choices, in their time……..for, after all, this is their time. Watching the video of Lady joining the others on her terms, quietly grazing,is truly captivating. It is we humans who are now held captive in the magic that is ESB!
    From a young age I have wished for a world where all animals can be free of human exploitation. ESB is that little piece of a perfect world on this planet!
    Not only do you treat the ellies and all other animals at the sanctuary with empathy, compassion, respect and great love but you also share so much of their daily lives with us, too.
    “Thank you” can never be enough.

  12. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Lady is feeling FREEDOM for the first time in her life ! I am sure of it, this is probably one of the reason she needs to be alone
    in the sanctuary. She is happy being alone right know, but I believe will want to be with her sisters as she ages. Yes, I believe Mara and
    Rana know each other from their past! This exchange is wonderful to hear and see.
    Thank you GSE for being a sanctuary for elephants!!

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