This video was taken yesterday when Lady decided she was interested in Mara and Rana. The initial plan was to do Lady’s foot soaks and then let her into an adjoining yard to let her see Rana and Mara with a fence between them. Lady showed us she was ready for something different, so we listened. After she was done with her foot soaks and went into the second stall, she showed a lot of interest in the smells of stall one, where Rana and Mara had been. As she was smelling through the gate, she let out a soft, deep rumble. With this, we decided to let her into the first stall so she could smell around. Because of her curiosity, we also opened the inside gate of the patio, so she could step out and get a closer look at Mara and Rana in the yard.
After smelling around the stall for a while, Lady walked onto the patio and began sniffing in Mara and Rana’s direction. Lady was comfortable, confident, and even smiley as she did so. Because of what has been typical for her in the past and that she was clearly being more forward and brave, we decided to open up the gate at the end of the patio to see what she wanted to do. The choice was hers; she could back up into the open barn, go into yard one (where Rana and Mara were) or walk into yard two.
Lady took a couple of steps off of the patio and stood watching Rana and Mara for about five minutes. Mara gave a little squeak, and Lady kept on watching. It was quite charming; everyone was calm and relaxed. After a few more minutes, Lady decided she was done staring and quickly stepped into yard two. But she didn’t go very far. She walked a couple of steps into yard two and started eating some hay while continuing to watch the other girls.
All three girls spent the day with access to yards 1, 2, & 3, and towards the end of the day, yard 5 as well. They spent a lot of time about 15 yards apart, quietly watching each other while grazing or dusting. This was huge for Lady because at no point did she run and hide or go somewhere that she could avoid Mara and Rana. And is also excellent in regards to Mara, we all know Rana is great with boundaries and being patient, and it seems Mara is very similar in personality. This will only help Lady’s comfort around other elephants, and maybe watching Mara and Rana together will show her how wonderful friendship can be.