Settling into a Lovely New Normal

Rana and Mara

Rana and Mara are still best friends and overjoyed by life, but they are starting to figure out a new normal. These small shifts are them developing boundaries and forming a more in-depth relationship.

In the beginning, Rana was so excited with her new (or possibly old?) friend, that she fell into an older sister role. In the beginning, when Mara was reacting to birds and tapirs, Rana would lead the way and protect her. Rana, who typically ignores them, would throw up her trunk and blow in their direction to make sure that her friend was safe – or maybe just to make sure her friend felt safe. Regardless of her motivation, it was charming and lovely to watch Rana in this role. Now that Mara is more settled, Rana seems comfortable letting Mara worry about the birds.

In the beginning, Mara didn’t care much about mealtime. She was so overjoyed by the ability to graze and also having Rana, that she didn’t care what else she ate during meals. When we would deliver meals, Mara would stop eating every few moments to squeak and touch Rana. Now Mara seems to remember that hay is delicious, so she likes to grab a few flakes of hay from the piles with her trunk and walk a few steps away to eat it. Rana seems happy about this change as well – Rana is beginning to feel more like, “you are a wonderful friend, but we don’t have to share everything.” They are now each eating from their own piles of food (most of the time). If Mara gets distracted and starts to walk to Rana’s dinner, we can toss a few bananas on top of Mara’s food, and she is happy to stay with her food.

When it’s mealtime, we have them follow the four-wheelers briefly until we arrive at a safe distance to be able to put their food down. They have settled into a new normal where Rana follows first, and Mara is second. Along the way, Rana will inevitably stop for a mini touching party. At that point, Mara takes the lead and follows very quickly – she’s faster than Rana – and doesn’t seem to mind how closely Rana follows behind. (As we said above – Mara has remembered that she likes food ?).

In the beginning, they wouldn’t be more than a few steps apart and would need to stop and touch each other often. They are still doing that, but now they are comfortable being 40-60 meters apart. They are still always within sight of each other, but it’s nice to see them feeling confident enough in their life and their relationship to feel safe being apart.

They are still cute, wonderful, soft, squeaky, and happy – but it’s also really great to watch them develop balance in their relationship.

Photo: Mara is on the left and Rana is on the right.

May 29, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Sherry says

    I know Rana and Mara are friends from their past lives and now they are settling down more and becoming more comfortable
    with each other after a very long absence. I am soooooooo happy for those two! They had the good luck to meet up again
    in their lifetime!?

  2. REPLY
    Lila Nieto says

    Friend stories are just like love stories. I melt!!!

    • REPLY
      Wim Diepeveen says

      When two are really one that’s when miracles becomes visible. They can share everything and even give the other total room to breathe.
      What a magical relationship. ????

  3. REPLY
    Heidi says

    Finally a New Normal that I actually enjoy reading about!

  4. REPLY
    Margaret Chalmers says

    Is Mara still eating the bananas whole, or has she started peeling them again? Maybe you know things are “normal” for her when she goes back to eating her bananas peeled? ; )

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      No, she only did it for the first couple of days. Often times it’s a manifestation of boredom in their former life. When they don’t have stimulation for most of the day, they find ways to make simple tasks take more time or become more interesting. Right now, she’s not that big on bananas anyway, she would rather eat cabbage or apples and leave the bananas for Rana.

  5. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    These two girls!! The newness is gone, but their sistership just keeps getting stronger. Happy girls, happy life!!

  6. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    They’ve obviously been absolutely overjoyed to have found each other again and had a lot of hugging and catching up to do ? It’s been amazing hearing and seeing them together, hearing Rana’s huge excitement when she realised Mara was there, nights out together, Rana showing Mara around and being inseparable. It’s fantastic for them. It’s like a happy ending to a love story. So great they are settling into a new normal and confident to be a little further apart. They are amazing and beautiful and wonderfully special ❤️?????

  7. REPLY
    Paula says

    Dulce Rana ?
    Sin dudas es el Ángel de la guarda de Mara, ella tuvo un papel crucial en la adaptación de Mara a su nueva vida?
    Querida Mara, más de dos semanas que está viviendo entre los suyos!?
    Ahora sí, ella posee bellísimos recuerdos de sus días para soñar cuando duerme!????
    Gracias Scott y Kat ❤

  8. REPLY
    Barb says

    What an incredible story! They are truly Golden Girls! Thank you for bringing us these moments.

  9. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Mara and Rana’s friendship is evolving into a beautiful relationship. Settling in! Easing in!Mara is realising her new home is not a dream. She is learning that every day can be like this from now on. How sanctuary has changed the lives of both these incredible giants reinforces the need for sanctuary for all captive elephants.
    I read the posts with joy every day and often visit the GSE site many times to get my fix of this Heaven on Earth. I spare a thought for all the hard work that goes on to give these girls a life they so deserve. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  10. REPLY
    Carey says

    Its really lovely to know of their developing relationship.

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