Guillermina and Pocha have been showing an increased interest in interacting with the other elephants at the sanctuary, to different degrees. After their last encounter with Bambi, Mara, and Rana, Pocha spent the following evening searching for them along the fence line. So, when we found Rana in Yard 4, somewhat near Pocha and Guillermina, we thought we would encourage more interaction among the three.
Rana can be passive when it comes to introductions, so it was a fairly easy decision to support the three of them sharing space. She had access to Yards 2 and 3, while Pocha and Guille were in Yard 1. They saw her and walked down along the common fence; there was some initial excitement and a bit of touching – and then the two girls seemed to lose interest in Rana. This seems to be their approach to meeting new elephants: anticipation, excitement, interaction, and then they get a little bored or overstimulated and walk away.
As the day went on, Pocha and Guillermina went to play in the mud wallow, and were shortly followed by Rana. Both girls seemed to enjoy the company and played for a little while at the dirt pile. The energy was light and positive, but there was not much physical touching. At one point, Guille seemed to be trying to walk backward in a circle around Rana but, once she got into the mud wallow, kept sliding back in – so she had to walk out forward. Pocha came over at that point and the three shared some playful energy.
Most meetings are initiated by Pocha, but Guillermina tends to engage more once the connection has been made. Mother and daughter have very different personalities, with Pocha being submissive and Guille being more dominant. Though there were moments during their time together when Rana seemed somewhat unsure of the contrast in their energy, her passiveness was a good match for their sometimes-fluctuating spirits. At times, introductions are fairly uneventful – and that can often be a good thing. As the two elephants continue to interact with the other elephants, their relationship with one another may shift, as their senses of self evolve.