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.
SPACE AND TIME TO MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS
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.
BRAVE REMARKABLE LADY!
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.
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. ❤️