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