Over the past few weeks, Mara has been consistently doing a little better in terms of eating. She is still not eating a “normal amount,” nor is she eating enough to maintain her current weight. Although her weight loss continues, we are pleased to see her eating more—and more consistently.
Late nights are still when we see her best appetite, and she’s eating pretty well at night recently. That said, elephants should eat for 18 hours a day (mostly grazing), which is not what we see with her. She is eating a greater variety of foods throughout the day than we’ve seen over the past few months. There are many things that she hasn’t eaten in a long time that she is now eating again, such as carrots.
She is still not taking oral medicine consistently. Her new treatment regimen includes a daily pain medication injection. It’s a gentle drug that is safe for long-term use. She does great for the injections. We ask her to come over near a fence and offer her one of her favorite treats. While she eats, we clean the area and give her the shot on her rump, which she generally doesn’t seem to mind. It’s hard to know for sure, but we believe she is associating the “pokes” with feeling better. Elephants tend to link actions with feelings, which can backfire when they don’t feel well. We think this is the reason for Mara’s limited diet, and whenever she doesn’t feel well, she blames the last thing she ate. That same line of thought is working well for her injections; they make her feel better, so she leans in for them without us having to use the medical chute. This behavior means she can continue to wander the habitat and receive her injections along the fence.
Despite our persistent work with world-renowned elephant veterinarians, we don’t have a diagnosis for Mara’s issue. This lack of a diagnosis is due to the limited diagnostic abilities for elephants. Even diagnostic equipment (such as ultrasounds) that work on other large animals cannot penetrate an elephant’s abdomen due to their massive size.
We will remain vigilant with our round-the-clock care, “bonus” meals, affection as solicited, and everything she could need. We continue to monitor her health closely and will share regular updates about her health as we are able.
Even though we can’t state that she is better, we are still pleased to see and share that we observe some improvement in her condition. Emotionally and socially, she is still doing well, and it is evident that she finds joy in her life here, especially her friends.
Photo (left to right): Mara (with a watermelon snack), Rana in the middle, and Bambi furthest away.
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Sue saysJanuary 20, 2021 at 4:22 pm
I hope she continues to do a little better with her eating and feels better overall. I had no idea it was so difficult to get a diagnosis on these gentle giants, but with their size, it is understandable. I love hearing about all the treatments and work you do with them and am so appreciative of all the care you put forth, day after day, to make their lives as comfortable and happy as possible. Love and hugs! ❤️?❤️
Carol saysJanuary 20, 2021 at 4:48 pm
Julie saysJanuary 20, 2021 at 5:11 pm
Precious Mara! Thank you for the update!
Alana saysJanuary 20, 2021 at 5:29 pm
That’s great news, may she continue to feel better.
Marcela saysJanuary 20, 2021 at 6:10 pm
Qué felicidad me produce saber que se encuentra mejor. Ojalá mejore del todo. Y gracias por procuparse y cuidarlos tanto. Un abrazo a todos los integrantes de Global Sanctuary for Elephants♥️
Beji saysJanuary 20, 2021 at 6:54 pm
Oh my goodness! It’s so obvious you are agonizing over Mara. I so hope she gets better. As far as late night snacking. I’ve been known to wander to the fridge at 3:00 AM and have a bite or ten of some Ben & Jerry’s. A girl’s perogative….
Tammy saysJanuary 20, 2021 at 10:46 pm
Sweet Mara heres hoping and praying for you to have a healthy happy new year with many exciting fun years ahead with all your sisters now and to come, hugs and kisses to all ? ? ?
Katie Howard saysJanuary 21, 2021 at 12:26 am
Okay, Mara, keep eating girl! Rana loves you, we love you, and we all want you to be well and happy and to enjoy the benefits and joys of Sanctuary for years to come! ❤️
SHEILA saysJanuary 21, 2021 at 12:37 am
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR UPDATE ON ❤️SWEET? MARA.s ILL ESS!! SHES QUITE A CASE WITH THIS INTERMITTENT FASTING AND. VERY SELECTIVE EATING!! I WONDER WHAT PAIN INJECTION IS FOR❓ IF SHE HAS AN INTESTINAL TUMOR I THINK PAIN MED IS GOING TO HELP HER! I GUESS HER STOOLS ARE BEING WATCHED AND NOTHING ABNORMAL! BLOOD AND URNINE NOT SHOWING CANCER CELS❓ WELL SHES A MYSTERY AND I GUESS ! I PRAY SHE WILL OVERCOME THIS ILLNESS THAT IS DROPPING HER WEIGHT. I M SO HAPPY TO HEAR SHES JOING RANA? AND ?BAMBI ALOT MORE! I PRAY MARA RECOVERS VERY SOON?
Sallie saysJanuary 21, 2021 at 2:03 am
Dear Mara, I know you are persnickety, and make your own decisions about the what and when re food sources . . . just hope you continue to snack your way into better health! Feel better soon and keep that weight ongoing! We all love you to bits and want you well in this New Year! Your Gang of Girls need you! XOXOX
Rosie P saysJanuary 21, 2021 at 4:09 am
It’s good to read that Mara has improved a little and is eating more of a range of foods again. It has to be so difficult for you as carers not to be able to get a firm diagnosis. What I can be thankful for is that she is cared for so well and loved unconditionally at ESB. Imagine what many poor elephants go through in the hands of abusers who care little for their welfare and continue to make them work when they are ill.
I am so thankful for and grateful to you Kat and Scott and all the amazing humans at ESB for making Mara’s world a better place, for helping her and being there for her and the other beauties. Bless you all. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Debbie Sides saysJanuary 21, 2021 at 10:18 am
Prayers for Mara to be okay and her tummy issues go away. Lots of love sent her way.
Ercie saysJanuary 21, 2021 at 6:09 pm
I know you’re probably already been all over the property but is there any chance she is getting into some toxic plant
Kat Blais saysJanuary 22, 2021 at 2:58 pm
Elephants and other wild animals are generally very good at avoiding toxic plants, even when not in their native lands. In TN there were poisonous plants, grasses, and trees, but the elephants did not eat them. Mara’s condition has been going on for some time now, without any cumulative effect, which would be expected with toxicity. Unfortunately, for her, you could see (before she started her new pain medication regimen) when she would get visibly crampy.
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Mara January Health Update