Rana: The Leader of the Pack

While we’re not entirely sure why, it seems that Rana has stepped up into a leadership role within the group of three: Bambi, Mara, and Rana. Rana has a soft energy most of the time, and tends to be comfortable being the last elephant as they travel from place to place. Currently, she appears to be keeping a watchful eye on her friends and the dynamic among them has shifted some. 

This change in their group relationships appears to show Rana taking a more of a stringent director role, something we haven’t seen in a while. Multiple staff members witnessed her taking actions that made it clear she was definitely leading the group. Now when the elephants walk somewhere, she is in front and no one dares walk before her. At one point, Mara seemed ready to head to dinner with both her and Bambi interested in heading towards the barn. But Rana was between them and the barn, just standing there. She gently put her head on top of Bambi’s head and stood there before walking about five steps back. Rana started walking slowly to the barn at typical Rana speed, which often means stopping for explorations along the way. Bambi was right behind her for a while, but then hung back and let Mara walk in front of her. 

Once the three got to the barn, everything seemed to be okay. After dinner, Rana often likes to stay near the barn, looking for extra food that her friends may have left in the yard. But on this day, when Mara and Bambi decided to walk back into the habitat, Rana went with them, staying in front and blocking the other two ladies from passing. 

We can’t know exactly what happened, but there is definitely something going on within the group that has changed a bit. It is most likely not permanent; it could just be Rana reminding Mara and Bambi that she is not a pushover and she still has the ability to get them in line if she wants or feels she needs to. We will be watching to see how it evolves and if Rana continues to rein in the other two a bit and keep a tighter watch.

Photo of Rana


  1. REPLY
    Alana says

    She’s a so sweet & smart. I’ve often wondered if in the wild she wouldn’t be the matriarch.

  2. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    Wow! Interesting! I guess I’ve always viewed Rana as the unofficial elephant-caregiver because she seems to have a calming effect on the others and seems to be the one that greets the others first upon arrival at Sanctuary – generally. But that role is not always the same individual as the leader role. It will be fascinating to watch the dynamic evolution – especially when Picha and Gigi arrive! (I just love that nickname! 😊)

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We’ll spell it Guille, but it definitely is a cute nickname. And, don’t worry, we know you meant Pocha!

  3. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    Argh! Pocha! Darned autocorrect!!!

  4. REPLY
    Julie says

    So interesting! I have a feeling elephants only consent to leadership when it is good leadership, and I believe Rana fits that description. Thank you for the update.

  5. REPLY
    Lynn Herrick says

    Could Rana be prepping the two for a further integration of Maia into the group?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      I suppose it’s always possible. It may be that there was some small disagreement within the group and Rana was trying to assert her role. We can’t know for sure.

    • REPLY
      Debbie Sides says

      Bless Rana I saw her as the tie that binds. She is a good leader as well. All the girls seem to like and respect her.

  6. REPLY
    Carol says

    It’s so interesting…

  7. REPLY
    Carey says

    I remember you said some time back that she showed leadership qualities, but her trunk on Bambi’s head is quite a signal for normally un-confrontational Rana, looking forward to updates. Thank you!

  8. REPLY
    Tammy says

    It’s so interesting very enjoyable hearing these stories about how the girls are changing evolving in their roles within the herd, thank you!

  9. REPLY
    Carmen Lucia Souza says

    Beloved Rana, you have a matriarch soul!

  10. REPLY
    John says

    The Days of Our Elephant Lives. Stay tuned for more.

  11. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    I wonder if Rana is trying to get things in order for Maia to be able to spend more time with them, comfortably, for all? Rana is such a sweet, but seemingly knowing girl, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s wondering when those crates will return with even more elephants? She’s so smart, and so sweet, and yes, deserving of respect from the girls for all she has done and tried to do for them all. I love that girl. Well, I love them all of course, LOL

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Anything is possible, but only they know for sure.

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