Recently, while Lady was grazing in Yard 2, Scott headed out on a 4wheeler to open a gate for her, giving her access to Yard 4 (where Rana & Mara were). Lady lazily headed in that direction.
It isn’t a gate that Lady usually uses, but once she realized Scott was opening it, she picked up speed. Once Scott saw she was immediately heading for Yard 4, he tried to lead her into some lovely shade trees since the sun was intense. Lady had other ideas and started walking down Middle Road instead. A little later, he checked on her again, and she was still on the move in Yard 4. When we saw her again, early in the afternoon, she had just gone swimming. Scott found her standing next to the pond, soaking wet, covered in dirt, and seeming light.
Shirlei went out to feed dinner, and Lady had returned to Yard 2. She looked super bright, but also a bit worn out. It’s no surprise Lady looked tired – it was a lot of walking in a short time for her! Walking dynamically over varied substrates is one of the best things for her feet and body. When she spends a day wandering like this, there are so many reasons we are excited. ❤️
While Lady seems very comfortable sharing space with Rana and Mara, we suspect that she comes back for a little alone time and an opportunity to recharge. We let it be her choice. If she is in a yard with others at the end of the day, they all get access to the same multiple yards overnight. If she is near the barn by herself, we will usually close up. That night, Lady spent the night by herself in Yards 1, 2, & 3.
Lady slept very well that night. In fact, the next day, Lady was the only elephant that appeared well-rested. She was the most active elephant that day, including spending lots of time playing in the mud wallow. Maia, Rana, and Mara all appeared to be super tired. Sleepy elephants in the morning are common this time of year. The sun is intense during the day, which means the elephants tend to be active at night when it is cooler. Then, they sleep in the mornings when it warm.
What is nice is that Lady is learning how to regulate herself. It’s incredible that, when she is fatigued from her adventures, she chooses to come back into yards she feels more comfortable to get a good night’s rest.