While Rana, Mara, and Bambi are inseparable much of the time, they are still individual, independent elephants.
As we’ve mentioned, Mara comes back to the barn most nights for dinner, with Bambi close behind. Rana sometimes stays behind when they make their brisk walk. Bambi can be a high-speed elephant, but when it’s about food, Mara is just as fast. When getting to her meal is the goal, Mara is focused and doesn’t seem to want anyone, even her close friend, to get to the “finish line” first.
The two will spend around an hour eating. Mara still seems to prefer having her dinner in the chute, enjoying her meal in peace. Since her appetite is excellent, she doesn’t need to eat in the chute, but she not-so-subtly asks to do so, and we let her. As soon as they finish their dinner, Mara exits the chute to eat some hay. When there is just one flake left, she grabs it in her trunk and leaves just as quickly as she came, with Bambi once again trailing in her dust.
While Rana loves her food, she doesn’t feel the need to sprint to the barn for dinner these days. She knows that no matter what, she’ll still get her food. When we deliver her meals out in the habitat, we usually find her contentedly cleaning up scraps. As we were putting down her dinner one recent night, she continuously rumbled upon our approach and while eating. Her vocalizations demonstrated that, even though she was alone, she felt just fine where she was.
Besides, Rana seems content with her alone time. She is a secure elephant who knows her friends will be back, and doesn’t feel the same urgency to rush as Bambi and Mara do. That doesn’t mean that their reunion isn’t a reason to party; their vocalizations ensure everyone knows when they have met back up again.
Photo of Rana, enjoying her dinner and a gorgeous sunset