Relationships Continue to Evolve

MaraWe’ve written recently about the ongoing relationship shifts that are emerging between Bambi and Mara. Because there seems to be some underlying tension between the two, Bambi has been spending more and more time with Maia and Guillermina. Some days it seems as though Mara opens the door a little for some interaction with Bambi, but then closes it, causing an increasing amount of confusion for Bambi. For now, she’s being very watchful of Mara and Rana and has been distancing herself from them, instead opting for time with elephants she seems to find comfort in these days. 

It’s possible that something could have transpired between Mara and Bambi during the evening that we don’t know about, but we didn’t hear any vocalizations and aren’t seeing any signs of an altercation either on the elephants, in the dirt, or on camera. Last week, Scott witnessed Mara, Bambi, and Rana together and there were lots of small rumbles, tiny trumpets, and a little bit of talking. That sort of interaction, which used to be the norm, doesn’t seem to be happening much these days. 

While we don’t want to necessarily read too much into situations like this, we still have to monitor each elephant’s physical and emotional security. Relationships ebb and flow and we take that into account. But we must still be watchful to ensure that all of the elephants here feel safe, while allowing interactions to play out without much interference from us. One of the many things a spacious habitat offers is the ability to walk away. So if Bambi chooses, she can put significant distance between herself and another elephant.

Right now, Bambi might need some space. We don’t know the genesis of the issue between Bambi and Mara, although Mara also had issues with Bambi for a short time a few months after Bambi’s arrival. But afterwards they seemed to be fast friends. Since Bambi had walked away from Rana and Mara, we decided to allow Bambi to stay in a different yard for the evening; that way, she could relax instead of feeling as though she needs to keep an eye on everything and everyone around her. She shifted into Yard 5 with Maia for the night, hoping that would allow her to get better rest. So everyone had a night to themselves. From here, we’ll let the elephants guide us to let us know what they need as the days pass. 



  1. REPLY
    Samantha says

    I wonder if Mara is hurt by Bambi spending more time with Maia and G. Maybe Mara is displaying that hurt as aloofness when Bambi comes back. Bambi is so sweet. I hope they figure it out and it’s not related to anything serious.

    As always, thank you for the updates. I love the relationship updates. Love to all the girls!

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      bambi spending more time with guille and maia was a direct result of mara shutting down to her. mara was definitely bambi’s priority, but mara made it clear it was not reciprocated. mara may now not necessarily understand why bambi isn’t acting the same, but they are intelligent, and she should be able to recognize the results of her actions. it is something elephants do tend to need to learn at sanctuary, but she has been here for a while and should technically have that awareness already.

  2. REPLY
    Sue says

    It is hard not knowing the underlying reason but appreciate your keen observations and how you allow the Girls to work things out whenever they can. Maybe something occurred when Bambi had her incident lying down that day. It is a never ending learning experience reading your observations about the friendships and relationships between all the Ladies and how you always try and ensure that they feel safe. Just as complicated as in our own lives, I’m sure!! Thank you for your updates, I always look forward to them. ❤️🐘❤️

  3. REPLY
    Fatima Zeevat says

    I’ve just ask if you never had an elephant that seriously attacked another elephant??

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We’ve never had that happen here. It’s happened at other facilities and it’s something that requires a lot of observation to try and avoid.

  4. REPLY
    Jeanine says

    I wonder if she may be having flashbacks from her previous life? Maybe something is triggering her which you would have no way of knowing I guess. I hope Bambi will be ok eventually.❤️

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Mara sometimes struggles emotionally to connect. It’s impossible to know why they’re taking a break, but Bambi seems to be happy to be building friendships with Maia and Guille.

  5. REPLY
    NANCY LOGAN says

    You are amazing. If only we could get the world to understand and know the nuances of interactions. This update is so enlightning.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you so much.

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