Mara Heads into Yard 4 and Doesn’t Look Back

Rana & Mara

As we recently mentioned, after dinner, Mara & Rana have been heading out into Yard 4 for the evening some nights. One recent evening, as Rana and Mara finished eating their supplemental meal (and as Scott prepared Mara’s second dinner), Mara headed out into Yard 4 at a fast pace. She didn’t look back, so she was clearly in the mood for grazing in larger pastures. Grass should make up the majority of her diet, so we were happy to see her make that decision and put away her additional buckets of food.

When we went down that night for their 10:00 p.m. feeding, we heard a lot of bellowing as we approached. Bellowing isn’t a common noise for most elephants to make. It’s a vocalization that usually means something huge is happening. Although Mara and Bambi tend to bellow (which is like a roar) more than any other elephants we have worked with, we still take bellowing seriously. Once we heard bellowing, we headed directly to check on the girls instead of preparing their evening snacks. We found Bambi on one side of the fence in Yard 3, Rana on her side of Yard 2, and Mara was not around. We assumed the dramatic noises were Bambi, but we were a little surprised to realize it was Rana. Of course, Rana making over-the-top vocalizations encouraged Bambi to make even more dramatic – and louder – vocalizations of her own. Scott tried to record it, but they calmed down as soon as he started recording.

Sometimes, elephants can get separated from their friends in the habitat, and rather than looking for each other, they stay where they are and vocalize for each other. Scott headed to prepare their late-night snacks while Kat went to make sure Mara wasn’t “lost.”

Kat stopped outside of Yards 2 and 3, and shut off her four-wheeler (ATV) to hear if Mara was making noise. Bambi and Mara headed over to Kat. Rana backed up and put her hind foot up on the fence for Bambi, who started smelling and touching her. The two began to vocalize in ridiculous, over-the-top ways. They were all positive vocalizations, but they were very loud. As Kat only has human ears, their party kept her from hearing anything else – including if Mara was calling for her friends. As many of you know, we speak to the elephants in conversational ways, so Kat turned to Rana and Mara and said, “Shh, I’m trying to listen to for Mara!” In response, they both went silent, stood utterly still, and put their ears out. Kat listened and heard Mara moving in the distance. It sounded like she was heading their way.

Kat turned the four-wheeler back on to help Scott prepare their late-night meal. As soon as the four-wheeler turned on, Bambi and Rana became so excited again, vocalizing in silly ways. By the time Kat made it back to the barn, Mara’s squeaking had joined the party at the fence.

Based on what we observed and heard, we believe Mara was napping by herself when Bambi and Rana started quietly calling for Mara to wake up and join them. Like the silly, dramatic elephants that they are, it seems like they became louder and louder – and sillier and sillier – as they egged each other on with their vocalizations and play.

Photo of Rana with Mara in the background playing in the mud.


  1. REPLY
    Suzanne says

    Wonderful post! So glad to read the ladies are having fun, staying spunky & active – and so cute that they understand human conversation! Merry merry.

  2. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    Lol It looks like the 50 First Dates.. every time they meet is like the first one ❤️

  3. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    I just love the way you tell your stories of how these lovely elephants behave. They are so intelligent that they know that you are helping them find their missing friend.

  4. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Happy times had by all really warms the heart I love it!

  5. REPLY
    Sue says

    Love seeing and hearing about the evolving dynamics and friendships in this amazing group of girls!! I love how much they ‘talk’ to each other and wonder about all that we aren’t able to see and hear! ❤️?❤️

  6. REPLY
    Patricia Aguilar says

    I can’t help but think that this is the random behavior of elephants who feel perfectly safe.

  7. REPLY
    Shannon McKay says

    What a delightful post! Silly, Dramatic Elephant Girls bring me great joy!

  8. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    MARA SE SIENTE MEJOR?????????LA MEJOR NOTICIA!.Marita y Bambi y ahora se sumo a la orquesta de tromperas y errrs tambien Rana.Son tan hermosas!!!!

  9. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    It’s nice that they look out for each other as sisters do.

  10. REPLY
    Carol says

    Thank goodness there was nothing serious going on!!! I was nervous!?????

  11. REPLY
    Bo says

    Hope they were indeed enjoying themselves, having a party and that nothing was upsetting them or had been upsetting them.
    So good of them to help Kat and ssshhhussshh so Kat could have a proper listen!

    Elephant party = THE best party!
    Any way to get an invitation? 🙂

  12. REPLY
    Lois Steinberg says

    Love this! Thank you so much! Life at the sanctuary is so, so over the top wonderful I start to tear up as I write. For these elephants to hold onto their lives when they were suffering beyond compare and to finally be rescued and taken to paradise of the Global Elephant Sanctuary is absurdly, awesomely, wonderful for them.

  13. REPLY
    Barb C says

    I love these posts written in such a way you feel like you are actually with them ♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️♥️

  14. REPLY
    janet stone says

    Just love to read your stories of all these elephants….its so nice to read and see some happy stories instead of the non=stop dread of cruelty…..Thanks again an always looking for more tales of the ellies……

  15. REPLY
    Wim says

    Can we agree all the girls love Mara and keep a giant eye on her whereabouts. Maybe she thinks where can a girl have a decent nap these days without being woken by the fire brigade.

  16. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    This is all so great. I don’t think I’ve read about this much silly bellowing and squeaking and being generally lively and having this much fun since stories of Maia and Guida. I’m hoping Mara was feeling well, and everyone had a good time. I have to LOL at the post, I can tell there is a bit of mistake with keeping the names straight in the story, and that is fine, as a good time it seems was had by all.

  17. REPLY
    SHEILA says


  18. REPLY
    Beji says

    The picture of them is so sweet. I just want to rub their fuzzy heads and scratch them behind their big, very big ears. Hakuma matada, ladies. Also, they need a very big Santa hat!! Jingle all the way…

  19. REPLY

    Oh to be a fly on the minds of these magnificent Golden Girls. Party of 3 coming up! These posts take me there; thank you, Kat! For you to say they were LOUD, I can only imagine. What joy to read this! Sanctuary=ellies doing ele things on ele time & at Lee terms. Y’all ever think of writing a book? You’d only have to publish your blog posts alone for some GREAT, fun & heartwarming & truly informational content. Would do wonders for ele conservation.

  20. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Wonderful post. I am filled with joy reading this as I think of the lives they have led and now what it must be like to be free to socialise, explore and simply do their own thing. The humans they now have contact with are there for their well being and not to exploit them. And it that wasn’t enough they have supporters all around the world who love and care for them and want the very best for them. It makes my heart sing! I can only imagine what it must be like to hear those ellie rumbles, roars and bellows across the distance of the sanctuary. Music to those fortunate to hear the sounds but related in such a glorious way in these blogs that we hear them, too!!!! Thank you!

  21. REPLY
    John says

    Ahhh……. the language(s) of elephants. Very cool.

  22. REPLY
    Crystal Alexander says

    Regarding Mara, Read your post regarding her health. I realize not all attempts are listed. But curioys if she might have a UTI? Has her urine been checked? And, again, is she constipated? I saw an elephant vet use a hose to unblock a poor backed up elephant. Just wondering. A urinary tract infection would make someone cross their legs and that’s a big sign I imagine that she’s trying to give. ? What about flavored amoxicillan cherry or bubblegum like for babies? In a turkey baster? PS love the ornaments, i gifted them to family and friends for Xmas and the calendars are gorgeous! I always buy on SMILE AMAZON but notice they are not giving the full amount of donations that I purchase they are suppose to be donating. You may want to ask them what’s going on there? Or I can.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Glad you love the ornaments and calendar. We were really glad to be able to put that together this year. Mara’s urine is one of the first rounds of testing done, and it came back clean. For elephants, crossing of the back legs is common with GI discomfort. And no, she is not constipated, at least not up until this moment. But things change from day to day. We have tried all sorts of flavors from the compounding pharmacy and she is having none of it. Unfortunately, a turkey baster or syringe doesn’t work when the trunk is dangerous and won’t give you access to the mouth. As for Amazon smile, it is supposed to be a percentage, but we don’t see individual gifts. So if you think there is an issue, you would need to be the one to reach out to them. Thanks for finding multiple ways to support our girls and their home.

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