When talking about different elephants, there is always a fear of sounding like a broken record, talking about how amazing each one is, but it’s the truth. As we talk about each elephant, describing what we know about them, how each is unique, it has given us an understanding into parents swearing they don’t have a favorite child, that they are each wonderful in their own way. That said, people usually connect with one elephant in particular. It doesn’t make any of the others less special, it’s just something about them that you identify with, they draw you in and find a place in your heart. These two elephants are no exception.
Sandro and Raisa are both around 42 years of age, but couldn’t be any more different. Sandro is the very muscled tuskless Asian male. His smile absolutely steals hearts. He’s active, cheeky, smiley, and would do phenomenal in a setting with space to explore and vent his energy. With the personality that we saw coming through, he might be a bit of a spitfire, but sanctuary is all about allowing elephants to express who they truly are. Sandro is the type of elephant that people would love because he makes it impossible not to smile when you watch him- there’s just something about him that warms the soul.
Raisa steals your heart for a different reason; she gives the impression that she has lived a very hard life. Her face appears much older than her true age. Raisa was incredibly stiff when we arrived, barely bending her joints as she walked over to her barn and stepped inside. Her movement improved somewhat while we were there, but her discomfort is grossly apparent. She stood in her sand pile for most of our visit, absently dusting; her body and spirit deserve more out of life. Raisa’s body would benefit enormously from being able to walk long distances and climb up and down hills, strengthening unused muscles in her body and lubricating her sore and stiff joints. Such simple things, along with therapeutic supplements can make a huge difference in the life of an elephant. With developed muscles, the bones aren’t just resting on their frame, the strength of their muscles adds support, taking weight off of their joints and easing the pain they’ve felt for decades. Raisa’s tired body would find relief in a life of sanctuary.