We’ve talked before about Rana building relationships with caregivers and how she tends to test them to see how present they will be during interactions. Truth be told, Scott and Kat have never been subject to this, but all other caregivers have trials she seems to put them through.
One of the caregivers has described her doing specific things during treatment that they don’t know how to interpret. Rana won’t display any of these behaviors when the caregiver is working with Scott – even when Scott is standing at a distance. So to try to see exactly what is going on, we’ve had other caregivers record interactions with Rana to see if we can determine what they’re experiencing. They seem to be interpreting it as something less than positive on Rana’s part; it might be, but it could possibly be something else entirely. She’s seemingly trying to communicate something and this caregiver can’t quite get to the bottom of exactly what or why.
This is just one example of how elephants behave differently around each individual they interact with. The girls don’t necessarily replicate certain behaviors around different people. That means that behavior-wise, it can be difficult to determine what’s actually going on and figure out the best way to work with them when those with the most experience aren’t privy to seeing it for themselves.
In the meantime, this caregiver is continuing to interact with Rana, since her behavior isn’t anything drastic or dangerous and she’s still absolutely cooperative. The caregiver is now observing with as much awareness as possible for any other clues. Although this person has a good bit of experience as a caregiver it only shows that we all have more to learn. There will never be a time when you finish your elephant education.
Photo of Rana