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Mara – A Health Update

Observations from late Thursday evening, March 18:

Mara continues with her “two steps forward, one step back” process of dealing with her current gastrointestinal issue. After her initial two days of improvement, the next morning her progress changed direction. The distention in her abdomen was slightly larger, her discomfort more present, and her appetite waned. It’s in those moments that you are reminded how fragile elephants are, even in all of their strength and resilience. 

After initial reluctance, she entered the chute to allow us to poke and prod. Elephants do seem to form connections with sometimes uncomfortable things we need to do to them, causing them to feel better after the fact. It’s a realization that helps elephants like Lady grow in their trust of initial footwork and care. Mara is a little more stubborn about things, but it is one of the charming parts of who she is.

Toward the end of her treatment, she began to perk up a little bit, although the day as a whole was not as good as the one before. We discuss our elephants’ health with elephant vets from around the world, taking advantage of the different experiences and vast knowledge that many will readily share. One of the common denominators with Mara’s condition since things first started is the phrase “it just doesn’t make sense,” and we’ve learned that is also part of who she is. Her behaviors, symptoms, and responses to medications don’t generally fall into the norm, so there is always a little bit of an extra challenge involved with her.

Thankfully, we saw Mara on the camera bright and early, waiting to be let into the barn area, with a belly that didn’t look as distended. She generally only comes that close when she is ready to be fed, so both were a good sign. Her abdominal distention has decreased a bit and is also not as tight as it has been. It has also traveled further down, which we are also choosing to take as a good sign. Her appetite was better, although what she wanted was more specific. She did discover her oral medication in her cooked pumpkin the other day, so she has now decided that pumpkin (at least temporarily) is heinous. (Bambi appreciated her leftovers.) So now, she is stubbornly searching everything that is offered to her for contraband. So it goes.

As we mentioned before, Mara isn’t out of the woods yet. On her bad day, she wasn’t just low energy; she seemed tired to the core. That moment has passed, but we know that these episodes can be really rough on sweet grandma elephants. She is still fighting to get better, so we will continue to support her. We have just noticed that she is banging on the chute gate to be let in – which means, even though it’s 30 minutes early, Miss Mara is ready for dinner. Gotta love her.

Comments(26)

  1. REPLY
    Nannette Stone says

    Awe Mara, it must be so uncomfortable for you. I hope it all settles soon and you can enjoy your pumpkin again

  2. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    MARA TE AMO CON EL ALMA,desde que te fuiste de Buenos Aires a tu libertad ,al mejor lugar del mundo en el que podes vivir,te sigo ,cada paso tuyo es amor y te mando la mejor energia de SANACION💚🐘❤

  3. REPLY
    Nancy says

    I love the choice of adjective “heinous”. It exactly describes my dog’s behaviour on unearthing a pill – I’m sure she and Mara could exchange stories on the transgressions committed by food providers. Thank you so much for your insightful and often humorous updates – they make my day! I am so happy to have discovered ESB….. and all it offers to creatures big and small….

  4. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    MARA TE AMO❤🐘💚PIDO ARCANGEL RAFAEL SALUD PARA MARA,ILUMINA CON TU RAYO DE LUZ VERDE A MARA PARA SANARLA Y CALMAR SU DOLOR🙏

  5. REPLY
    Nicole says

    Mara is so blessed to have you all, who love and care for her so much! Much love and reiki to you!

  6. REPLY
    Alana says

    Extra thoughts & prayers for this sweet grandma. May her problems pass ASAP

  7. REPLY
    Audrey says

    Sending lots of ❤️ and healing thoughts for our darling Mara ❤️ 🐘

  8. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Bless her and so glad she’s there with you all to help her. Gentle hugs to Mara.

  9. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    Ai Marita, we need to discover the acupressure points in an ele that makes the gases find the way out… Fennel tea? We brazilians give that to babies.. I know you are all talking to experts but we can’t help in sharing our grammas home remedies 😬 Mara don’t be finicky with the suspicious food.. ❤️

  10. REPLY
    Sue says

    Oh, the old hide the medicine in the food try was discovered! Yes, my dogs in the past have also been very similar and you had to keep trying different rotations of treats!! Too nad they dont make a fruit loop flavored medicine 😉. I have been thinking about Sweet Guida. Didnt she have some gastro issues as well. I can remember her lying dow with Sweet Maia watching over her while she tried to rest. It has to be one of the most difficult aspects of caring for these Girls, trying to figure out and help them when they are having trouble. Sending continual prayers to all that she will feel better. Love and hugs to all!

  11. REPLY
    SabineBrown says

    I love reading your articles! It’s great getting to know these big babies and how they deal with life.

  12. REPLY
    Andy Ingram says

    I am glad Mara is doing ok. Would love to know how Lady is.

  13. REPLY
    Julie says

    I hope she keeps fighting and gets better. I also hope the best for all of you who love and care for her. It cannot be easy for you all when they are not feeling well.

  14. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    It must be so hard to have things with Mara be even extra confusing than may be usual. I was watching a veterinary show that had footage of a horse with colic, and I couldn’t help but give great thought to Mara’s situation. That’s probably why the title “Mara’s Health Update” gave me a start at first. Still, I’m thankful you share these things, and I’ll be wishing and hoping the best for improvements for Mara.

    Bless her, I will take it as a good sign that she has the spunk and spirit to search for, and turn her trunk up, at her oral medications hidden in her goodies. I confess, seeing the words Mara Health Update scared me, so I will take her continuing, returning appetite and attitude at some things in good stride. Thanks again for all you do, for all of them.

  15. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    I will also keep her in my heart and my prayers that she can get over this. She is lucky to be where she is, in your loving care.

  16. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    Oh Mara…Your tummy is such a mystery. We so want you to be happy, healthy and enjoy Sanctuary. ❤️

  17. REPLY
    bo says

    cuddlehuggles for all the elephants but especially for darling miss Mara, you sweetheart of us all (even though i suppose it is not a good thing for a human, to cuddlehuggle an elephant, i guess virtual cuddlehuggles can’t do any harm)

    can it be as simple as an allergic reaction to something she is eating or something ? or is that too hopeful to hope for ?

    crossing trunks (instead of crossing fingers) that she will feel and get better!

  18. REPLY
    Terry Feleppa says

    Sending a loud trumpet and an infinite amount of healing to eliminate Maras gastrointestinal issues and ask that she gain her strength, health, and appetite now and always! Love and Light ❤

  19. REPLY
    Wim says

    Wonderful adorable Miss Mara utterly hope you keep stepping towards full recovery. Must be a difficult process for you to keep on fighting. Sending you lots of healing vibes. 🙏🐘💚

  20. REPLY
    Deb says

    I’m sure the angels are doing their best to watch over Mara & help her the best they can.
    I’m very thankful for all of her careers who obviously have worked tirelessly to heal her.
    GOD bless her & her careers.

  21. REPLY
    Sallie says

    Miss Mara, you are indeed a “Trooper”! Sweet, Tough and willing to do what you must to be strong and well. I know very few humans, who have what you’ve got – and the guts to fight for good health. You are so admired and loved. Hang in there, Girl! We all LOVE you to bits!

  22. REPLY
    SHEILA says

    OH SWEET❤️ SMART 🐘MARA. YOU JUST HAVE TO GET BETTER MZ LADY! ❗️IM WONDERING IF ITS POSSIBLE TO GIVE MARA AN “ ⚠️ENDOSCOPY”❓.THIS IS A TUBE WITH A CAMERA ON THE END THAT TAKES PICTURES IN THE STOMACH OF A HUMAN! SHE COULD BE SEDATED FOR A VERY SHORT TIME AND HE CAMERA TUBE PUT DOWN THRU THROAT INTO THE STOMACH! I THINK THERE IS SOME SORT OF OBSTRUCTION ITEM IN HER STOMACH THAT CAUSES THE BLOAT AND PAIN THUS NOT EATING!
    I SO WANT MARA TO GET BETTER SO THIS IS MY SUGGESTION👍 ( I HAD THIS DONE AND IT WAS VERY EASY AND IN 8 MINUTES IT WAS OVER)
    IM PRAYING FOR U MARA🙏🐘🙏

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Not without sedation, which we would not do to her in this state. And the endoscopes that do exist for elephants (specialized and only a couple) generally don’t reach as far as would be indicated for what her symptoms are/were. Right now she is eating fine, it’s her general strength.

  23. REPLY
    Beji says

    You’re dedication to sweet Mara is so touching. It’s so cool that you can talk to experts around the world about you’re unique situation. Good and healing vibes for all of you!!

  24. REPLY
    Ann-Marie Jacobs-Brown says

    I think my original comment got lost. This is a much shorter version. Love to you and Scott, all the team and, of course, to Mara. This is an anxious time but I feel sure Mara can sense (perhaps even see) the love surrounding her and the huge will coming towards her to help her fight this horrible condition.

  25. REPLY
    Tammy says

    I really wish some company out there in this great big beautiful world could make a machine that could accommodate these girls for scans it would also greatly benefit many other large animals in sanctuaries and zoos too if we can send a man to the moon…..🐘🙏💖

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