As many of you know, Rana has an old injury to her left elbow. From what we know, it happened when she was five years old. That joint is completely fused, and sometimes she doesn’t bend that ankle either, but she can and often bends that joint normally.
This kind of injury or ‘compromise’ is something that can cause doubts in certain facilities. They question if an elephant would use space, is capable and comfortable with movement, and in some instances, these kinds of injuries have been the impetus for discussions on euthanasia. And Rana is here to tell you that’s nonsense.
There’s so much to love about Rana, but we definitely get that proud parent feeling when we see her exploring and venturing up, down, and through the creek beds. The reality is also Maia is incredibly impressive when she moves through them, and we are not easily impressed this way. It is effortless, her movements are quick, and her muscles are prominent- she is a tank. Rana has to work a little more, but her body and face don’t show any struggle, only signs of enjoyment. We do keep a bit of a closer eye on her when she is in harder to navigate areas, making sure she’s not acting like she is concerned. But we’ve never seen any signs of distress, only pride and joy. And yes, sometimes she really does seem proud of herself.
Rana is a lesson in how dangerous it is to think ‘If that was me,’ when you look at an elephant. They are so much stronger, both emotionally and physically, than we are. She doesn’t waste time being concerned about her leg, she just goes, and it’s beautiful to watch. Every elephant teaches us lessons along the way, and this is just one of Rana’s.
Although branches are blocking some of Rana’s face in this photo, we chose it because of her leg. The photo shows her coming down one of the trails into the creek bed. She has no problem using her leg and not thinking twice about it. This picture shows her strength.
September 14, 2019