Bambi, Mara, and Rana are now sharing space. We first opened up between them while everyone was inside the barn. Bambi was in Stall 1 while Mara and Rana were in Stall 2. The three had been very vocal all day, but they became very quiet once they were all in a stall together. Bambi briefly stepped outside for a few minutes, presumably to take some space. After 2-3 minutes, she re-entered the barn, and at that point, the vocalizations began.
Mara makes a squeaky “errr” noise, which you can hear a few times in the video. Bambi loves that noise and is very responsive to it. She usually comes over and trumpets, and it seems to be her favorite thing. The three seem to cycle through the same pattern – they are noisy and silly, with head shaking and ear flapping, followed by a few minutes of calm. Then they start again.
At one point, Mara left the barn, and Bambi followed. Bambi tends to be speedy, so she followed very quickly. Rana had to follow them, of course. They spent some time outside, but overall, they preferred the barn’s shade during the day as it continues to be very hot. After dark, their preference seems to be outside.
They are spending a lot of time together but are still walking away at some points. It’s vital that Bambi can walk away for any reason at any time. If she feels overwhelmed or wants to take some time out to process, she can step away without being followed or chased. She can decide when and how she wants to return to socializing. It seems so simple, but it is something that she didn’t have in her life previously. Her understanding of her ability to walk away helps her trust level in terms of interactions with other elephants; it helps her feel safe.
Everyone seems to be doing well. We separated Bambi from Mara and Rana last night at around 10:30 pm to ensure that everyone had an opportunity to rest. We will eventually allow them unrestricted access. This morning, they were in good spirits and happy to share space again.
The video begins with an early interaction, inside the barn, followed by two clips outside, a little calmer, but still generally excited by life. A vital part of sanctuary is choice. It already looks likely these three will continue choosing to spend their time together for the foreseeable future. They are certainly not a quiet bunch, regardless of where they are or what they are doing.