Mara and Rana’s First Touches

The video is from yesterday, but we had many many requests to see Mara and Rana’s first touches, and also when the gate was opened up between Rana and Mara. We will work on trying to get the other video done today as well. The videos are on the long side, but it’s because we are trying to share the bigger picture of the little steps that make up each big step.

Right now, everyone here is good; it’s nap time. Mara and Rana are taking a standing nap by the big shade tree at the back of yard two, and Maia is under itchy scratchy tree napping in yard one. Lady is out by the pond in yard four.

This was the first time both elephants touched each other. With all of the excitement and vocalizations from Rana the first night and next morning, Mara didn’t get close enough for her to touch her. They were much more relaxed in the afternoon, and this is what happened. The whole sequence probably lasted about an hour.

To try to head off some questions- the backing up is often submissive, but it is also a way elephants who have known each other for years will approach, no matter where they are in the hierarchy. The urination can also be submissive, but the elephants in TN used to have what we called pee parties. Any time they were apart for more than two minutes, they would come together and vocalize and urinate. There is a lot of information that is passed through urine, and the other elephants will always pay close attention to and smell it. It’s also an excitement response- you will see both Rana and Mara do it. Both girls are rumbling almost the entire time, although Mara’s tend to be the much deeper rumbles. They cause everything around her to vibrate. Mara lifting her foot seems to be a combination of two things- it’s a little bit of looking for approval, but she also seems very tactile with her feet. Some elephants are- Tarra used to use her foot to touch many things, including Bella, her dog.

Everything you see in the video is incredibly positive; it’s textbook perfection.

May 17, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Barb says

    Perfection indeed! Thank you for sharing those tender moments between Mara and Rana.

  2. REPLY
    Leslie C Sodaro says

    beyond beautiful and real

  3. REPLY
    Alex says

    Emocionante…. Um espetáculo de harmonia, delicadeza e gentileza. Parabéns a todos envolvidos nesse lindo projeto. Não os conheço pessoalmente mas tenho orgulho de todos vocês !!!!!

  4. REPLY
    Susan says

    Thank you for posting. One of the most beautiful things I have ever been able to experience. ❤️?❤️?❤️

  5. REPLY
    Julia Mercedes Eden says

    Oh dear Lord God – this has got to be the most incredible exchange of love and reunion between two elephants ?? – I’ve never seen anything like this before. Tears of absolute awe and delight ? God bless you GSE, Brazil, Scott and Kat. ❤️❤️

  6. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    I feel very humbled watching this and I am sure there have been many tears of joy from other supporters, too. Something very special and precious is happening between Mara and Rana. Thank you for bringing it to us and sharing these amazing moments. I am overjoyed for Mara to have found sanctuary and a friend…all in a few days! Overjoyed, too, for Rana.

  7. REPLY
    Debra Moore says

    OM dog. Such patience and concern for each other. Makes me weep. SO HAPPY. Thanks for this one.

  8. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Throughout all the years I’ve been paying attention to elephants at all, they have stunned me with their intelligence and emotional depth. With the complex things they seem completely to understand. They are also desperately adorable. It was probably about 30 years ago, the last time I have ever been to a zoo, and I was watching elephants in a very inadequate enclosure. Despite that fact, they played together and splashed each other in their little pool in a way I knew was cognitively very complex. It was the beginning of real animal, and elephant, advocacy for me. Not like you guys, but I do what I can. I love them, as I always say, so madly. Thank you for bringing me really close to their inner lives.

  9. REPLY
    Carol says

    Thrilling! Moving!!! Blessed!!!?????

  10. REPLY
    Julie says

    Rana’s joy is very evident when Mara first touches her, like a release of all of the pain she has endured to make room for the joy. I hope and pray these two are able to spend many beautiful years together in sanctuary! Thank you GSE! ❤️

  11. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Joy in their hearts and mine too!!!!!

  12. REPLY
    Lynne Russert says

    So exciting!!!! I’m super thrilled for them! Maia ,& Lady, come on, you’re next!!!?

  13. REPLY
    Rachel says

    First time I cried hard tears of heartache and joy watching this video – and I’ve seen many. My spirit was deeply touched. I pray these two will be able to spend many years together, caring for and healing one another as only loved ones do. What a gift to them you have provided. And what a gift to us that you shared this moment between them. God Bless.

  14. REPLY
    Trista Vidovich says

    Thank you for sharing that beautiful, moving meeting of Mara and Rana. The happiness is palpable!! It brought me to tears of joy! I can’t wait to see more of them together….

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