Another question we have received about Rana’s rescue is how long will the drive take and do we let her out to stretch her legs. The drive should be between 4 & 5 days, (less time than the Toronto elephant move-for those who watched that one) but this will ultimately be determined by Rana, how she travels and how she is feeling. Rana was a circus elephant for at least 40 years, and generally circus elephants travel pretty well.
As for letting her out of her crate during the trip, that will not happen, she stays inside the entire trip. You won’t find a rescue to sanctuary in the Americas that allows the elephants to leave the trailer. Many people are familiar with rescues in Asia that happen in open top trucks with pit stops on the side of the road. That is due to a different culture, different upbringing for the elephants and different legalities.
Elephants in Asia live a much different lifestyle, from the way they are controlled, their exposure to crowds and strangers and the way they are perceived. No one blinks at an elephant on the side of the road in many places that have elephants in Asia. If we were to stop on the side of the road and let an elephant out, it would cause a traffic jam with people wanting to stop and take a selfie. Aside from that risk factor, Rana could simply decide to walk away and not go back into the trailer.
Although she will not be able to leave the trailer, it is designed specifically for elephants to be able to lean and take the weight off of their feet. It’s not the same as lying down, but you have to remember, sadly, many elephants go years without lying down in captivity. So a few days standing in a truck will be ok. And we have support straps recessed into the floor, so if for some reason she needs additional support, it is already in place and ready to go.
Rana will be tired when she arrives, and because of this, Maia and Guida will most likely be closed out of the area we give Rana access to. Depending upon the time of our arrival, if late, Rana will probably only have access to the barn so she can rest without the excitement and stress of meeting elephants for the first time possibly since she was a baby. This may be a little disappointing to some, but it’s about what is best in the long run for Rana and the beginning of her new relationship with Maia and Guida. All elephants arrive tired, some quite cranky, so we give them some time on their own to get their feet underneath them and feel a bit more like themselves.
December 12, 2018