Lady recently expressed an interest in going into Yard 4 while Rana and Mara were currently there. We don’t know if she knew that they were in Yard 4 when she ‘asked’ to go into the area.
When the three have shared space close to the barn, Rana and Mara have repeatedly demonstrated that they are incredibly respectful of Lady and her desire for space and boundaries. Additionally, Yard 4 is one of our larger yards (40 acres/16 hectares). With this knowledge, we decided to let them in together. It’s been wonderfully anticlimactic.
They’ve been relatively close at times. We haven’t seen any direct contact, and there have been no changes in behavior that indicate that they have had any direct contact.
We are letting them do their own thing in their own time. Sometimes, the three graze near each other, and at other times, they are on opposite sides of the yard. Lady is coming back to the barn for her foot soaks many days, and then frequently returning to a shared yard.
This is part of creating social opportunities for all of the girls. After a few days, Rana and Mara joined Maia in Yard 5 while Lady headed closer to the barn. Then, it shifted, and Mara, Rana, and Lady were all back in Yard 4 again. The next day Maia, Mara, and Rana had yards 1, 4, & 5. There is no set schedule; it will continually change based on what we observe everyone’s desire to be.
These yards were designed with flexibility in mind, and we are using that flexibility right now. Everything changes each day based on where each elephant is, and where we see them expressing an interest in going.
We haven’t been able to get a photo of the three together in the yard, so we sent out the drone to get an aerial view. In the picture, Lady is the arrow on the left. On the right, Mara is the lower arrow; and Rana is closer to the pond (Yard 4).
June 17, 2020