Mara’s first meeting with Rana and Maia last night was a little unexpected – Rana was by the fence for a while, and Mara wasn’t acknowledging her, even though she was clearly in her line of sight. Mara ended up getting reasonably close before she put her ears out, and her eyes got wide, and it was clear she just noticed there was an elephant on the other side of the fence. Rana was the only one there initially, but Mara joined them shortly after. There was a lot of smelling that went on, but Mara stayed in yard 2 for a while.
After a bit, she crossed over into yard 1 and got closer to both girls, but still no touching. Two elephants at once is a bit much, and obviously not planned, but we also don’t want to deny Maia the opportunity to see her new sister as well. So we let all three spend some time nearby, and then it was time for dinner. The plan was to feed either Maia or Rana along the fence, so they could be in the vicinity, but not right on top of Mara, allowing her to choose how close she wanted to get. Both Maia and Rana followed away for dinner, and Mara went back to the itchy scratchy tree. As we were about to go back up to the house to go over legal paperwork, Rana showed back up at the square while Mara ate at the tree.
While we were up top doing paperwork, we heard a bunch of trumpeting, so went down to the barn to make sure everyone was still happy with the situation. Mara is still separated from the other girls, but it’s still nice to see what is going on. Funnily enough, all of the noise was Rana; she was so excited. They had been close for a couple of hours earlier, but it seemed something clicked that caused Rana to go over the top with excitement. Mara stayed close, about 10 feet away, returning Rana’s vocalizations with loud rumbles and mini bellows, but from what we saw, the two never touched. We haven’t seen Rana this way ever. The closest was when she had her ‘Rana Rana Dance Party’ shortly after her arrival, but this was different. We stayed down with the girls until things settled, and Rana walked away a bit. It has been quiet since, but we’ll be curious to see how tomorrow goes. We will also be going back down in just over an hour to do our nightly check-in and see how they are all doing.
The first parts of the video are when Mara was first in yard 2, and then came closer into yard 1. We didn’t have the good phone with us, sorry. The dark clips are from Rana’s vocal party at night. You can see her submissively put her back foot up at one point, that is the metal banging you hear- she kept putting her feet up. You can also see her trunk for a moment. To say Rana was very excited is an understatement. 😉
May 16, 2020
UPDATE: We are getting a lot of questions as to whether or not Mara and Rana know each other (for good reason!):
The chances that elephants might know one of the others is fairly decent because most of the elephants that were imported into South America came from the same place. A lot of the elephants came through the same zoo in Europe. Mara was moved from there along with two other elephants to South America. One of those elephants was Merry who was supposed to come to the sanctuary but sadly died before that was possible. The other elephant went to Brazil but the name is unknown. Often elephants are held together in a place before being shipped off, so you get a bunch of elephants who end up in these places with a lot of other elephants. Sometimes it’s for a very short period of time; sometimes longer depending upon demand. Some of the circus elephants in South America have been kept with other circus elephants for short periods of time during wintering-over, or when not on the road, or during the off-season. So there’s a decent chance that at least someone is going to have crossed over with someone before. Of course we are never going to know who it was. We had been told that Rana had been with Maia and Guida for awhile, but it’s hard to know which stories are true – and we hear a lot of different versions of the stories. But yes, there is a chance that somebody along the way is going to have known somebody else. And as you have heard from last night’s video, it is possible that we have two right now.