Rana will sometimes “share” Mara’s food, but in a very respectful way. When we hand something to Mara that she doesn’t want, she will hand it back to us or drop it. Sometimes, once she’s done eating the “good stuff,” Mara will go back and eat the food she dropped. Occasionally, Rana will walk over and innocently stand next to Mara, taking the food that Mara lets fall to the ground.
One recent day during dinner, Mara, Bambi, and Rana were lined up in that order along the fence. Rana finished eating first and walked toward Mara, which involved walking past Bambi. Bambi saw Rana walking her way, grabbed as much grain as she could in her trunk, and then tried to hold onto her bucket as well. Bambi couldn’t quite figure out how to grab her bucket with a trunk full of grain, so she stepped on her bucket instead. Squishing her bucket wasn’t our favorite choice, but so it goes. Bambi’s behavior didn’t deter Rana, who then tried to take a bit of grain cradled in Bambi’s trunk on her way to Mara. Once Rana made it to Mara, she was very polite and respected Mara’s boundaries by only taking what Mara dropped.
This was Bambi’s first experience here (that we have seen) with another elephant trying to “share” her food. Rana, of course, isn’t aggressive about it, but is an opportunist. While Bambi still has a clear preference for Mara, she will occasionally walk away from Mara to graze, hang out in a different area, or be closer to Rana. Bambi and Rana’s relationship continues to deepen, and they seem to be very comfortable around each other. While Bambi still is observant of Mara, she tends to let go with Rana, and the two get silly together at times.
Photo of an innocent looking Rana, with Mara on her left, and Bambi just behind her.