Mateus, Rana, and Elephant Autonomy

Because of her minor ankle injury, Rana has been getting oral medication and liniment on her ankle as part of her morning check-up. Recently, caregiver Mateus was asking Rana to come into the chute for her treatment, but she didn’t seem interested in coming in. This is uncommon, but Rana seemed to want to be in the yard, close to Mara and Bambi. After feeding breakfast, Mateus called over to Rana to see if things had changed, but she still seemed much more content to stay with the other Powerpuff Girls. 

As we say about Lady, there’s no need to push the issue when an elephant decides they don’t want to come in for minor care. There’s almost nothing that can’t wait until a later time or another day. So Mateus decided to let the issue go so that the elephants could do what they wanted, as we don’t want to interfere with their natural routines. If she wants a break, she gets a break. She almost never says ‘no’, so if she does, we assume there is a reason that we humans aren’t privy to.

Later that afternoon, Mateus went to check on everyone and ended up shifting the Powerpuff Girls into Yard 2. At that point, Rana was more than willing to enter the chute. Like Lady, Rana reacts really well to caregivers who show her respect, so she’s excellent with treatments almost all of the time. 

Some would see an elephant not doing what you ask as a negative thing, but since we see choice is one of the most important things you can give to captive elephants, we don’t feel that way. For us, it was nice to see how Mateus has embraced the philosophy of providing actual autonomy for the elephants. His understanding of how to work with the girls has grown over time and will be beneficial for all of the elephants to come to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil.

Photo of Rana


  1. REPLY
    Sheila says

    Oh Rana. Was likely having a great chat with her lady friends!! And Needed more time. 💖 RANA IS A VERY SWEET MATRIARCH🐘 LADY. Mateus. Knows her well and has great respect for her I’m sure.

  2. REPLY
    Patricia says

    I am so grateful you all recognize the ability of these super smart animals to do some analytical thinking! Sending lots of love!

  3. REPLY
    Carey says

    The master communicator and wonderful friend. I just noticed she will have lived this new life with you for 5 years in December! Again I’m feeling grateful that she met some humans who try to give her a better life. It’s hard to imagine her avoiding human contact and lobbing objects to try to communicate – only about food. The loneliness she must have felt on top of everything else is difficult to imagine.

  4. REPLY
    Vicki V Bowen says

    Bless you, Mateus. And bless your Heart, dearest Rana. Bless you All.

  5. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Mateus you are such a huge part of the success for the girls to become true elephants again the way God meant them to be so thank you very much for all your hard work and dedication we appreciate you more than you know! 🙏 🤗

Post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.