Three Lovely Ladies Hanging Out Together

Maia, Rana and Guida

Our three lovely ladies hanging out together. Guida up front, Rana on the right, Maia on the left.

When the girls were heading out towards the pond, Rana was in the lead. She noticed this and got wide-eyes, looking around with a combination of excitement and also as if to see if it was ok that she was in front. The girls were fine with it although Rana let Guida pass about halfway to Piqui.

They continue to do well together, and we continue to try to give them the space to let them figure things out at their own pace.

March 1, 2019


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Remembering How Far They Have Come!


We have many new followers recently who have been asking about Maia and Guida’s history. For ThrowBackThursday we figured we would share their two-year re-birthday video from October of 2018. It shows a tiny snippet of their past but also gives a visual reference to the physical and emotional healing they have undergone since their arrival.

Maia and Guida’s relationship didn’t develop overnight, but they were willing to put the work into getting it to the caring and loving place it is at now. They also have shown they are willing to work on their newest relationship with Rana.

For those who already know our first two lovely ladies, it’s a chance to enjoy the video again. We’ve certainly seen it more than a few times, and it still makes us a little teary and so proud of how far they have come.

February 28, 2019
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Some Footwork for Maia

GuidaToday was another Guida and Rana morning. After no one showed up at the barn all day yesterday, Guida and Rana arrived together early today. The two were nice and calm, no nudges.  Maia showed up about half an hour later, so we took advantage and did some footwork with her.

Maia and Guida’s feet are in pretty good condition, and nature does a great job with caring for them, but we do know that as layers wear away, some of the issues from their past may be uncovered. Six years on chains, standing in their own waste didn’t do their feet any favors. This time we found a couple of spots where the pad was a little softer than the rest, nothing that looks major, but something we’ll work on over the next couple of weeks when she comes back to the barn.

Elephant footwork is a bit of an art form and over trimming can cause more damage than doing nothing at all. So while it would be nice if we could just fix all of the issues by trimming everything out, it doesn’t work that way. So we trim, let the body heal a bit, then trim again.

The photo- cheeky Miss Guida

February 27, 2019
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Guida and Rana Grazing Together


Guida and Rana

The rarely photographed Guida (left) and Rana (right) spending time together, lazily grazing, by the pond. We understand that people like seeing the girls together, but we’re still trying to find the balance of leaving them be, so they continue to enjoy their time together or getting closer and taking a photo. When this photo was taken, we were already close when they came into sight, so we took advantage.

This photo could be seen as ‘uneventful’ and it is, but that’s what makes it so lovely. Guida and Rana aren’t staying close because of food, the barn, humans and any other stimulation. They are choosing to be this close just grazing, even though they could be eating grass anywhere. They’re not being silly; they are merely being elephants and doing so with each other.

February 25, 2019
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Drone View of the Female Asian Habitat


Most swimming photos and videos are of the girls in the ‘pond in 4’, pond Beleza Na Vida. We do have a second manmade pond in the female Asian habitat, and this is it. There isn’t usually video to share because on the left is a giant dirt pile that they love to dust in. On the right is another berm, that is a favorite napping spot, mostly for Guida after swimming. So it’s hard to get decent video from a safe location.

This pond was built closer to the barn for elephants who have a hard time getting around initially. It is much closer to the barn than the other pond. This video, along with showing what a lazy floating day looks like, also offered an excellent opportunity to show the layout of the habitat. It is split into 5 yards: 1 through 3 are smaller (a couple of acres), 4 and 5 are much more expansive. This is all done keeping elephant issues that could possibly come up in the future, in mind. While it’s much easier to build just one large yard, it’s also not practical if you have more than one elephant.

The smaller yards are good introductory yards for elephants, but they can also play a role in intensive care of sick elephants. It keeps them close to the barn for monitoring and treatment, without taking away their natural space and the freedoms that help define sanctuary. Each of the small yards (1, 2, # 3) is connected to a different exit way from the barn. So if elephants need to be separated, they can be inside or outside without having to interact or go past each other. This allows tremendous flexibility with training, treatment and other times you would have elephants inside. Our elephants don’t need to come back to the barn, it only drops into the mid-50s about 3 days out of the year, so the barn is usually empty.

Yards 4 and 5 are divided by a fence, which also allows the separating of elephants if needed, while still providing them with vast space, which could be needed for long-term socialization issues. It also allows us to shift elephants in an emergency or to permit maintenance work on fences or the habitat to be done safely. Everything at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil is designed from decades of experiences with the elephants in Tennessee and the flexibility required when working with such large and complex beings. We plan for the worst case scenario and hope for the best.

All five yards can open up to each other, which is how we have it right now and the way we would always like to keep it. But we are also reasonable in knowing we need to be prepared for if that is no longer the case.

This video was taken last month but was lost in the shuffle. It was when the girls were still spending most of their days apart, which is why you see Rana in yard two. Yesterday was another Maia and Rana day- tomorrow we will post a very pink photo. 

February 23, 2019


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Alternating Time With Each Other

We are a bit overdue for a Maia photo, so here is the lovely lady.

The girls are doing very well and still seem to appreciate alternating time with each other. One day Maia and Rana will spend a lot of time together, and then Maia will find Guida at dinner. Other days it’s Guida and Rana, and sometimes all three. The other morning Guida and Rana showed up at the barn together while Maia stayed across the stream.

When the four-wheeler drove up, Guida and Rana were relaxing side by side. As they saw Scott pulling up, Guida gave Rana a little nudge, Rana made one of her grunting noises and then both girls started to rumble. While Guida rumbles quite often, Rana does not- she makes about every other noise in the book. 

Scott opened up the barn so Rana could receive her vulva wash and treatment (it looks healed, but still feels a touch thickened some days) and Guida went in first. Scott closed up behind her and she went to the divider with big rumbles waiting for Rana to come in. We laugh because it seems they may not have the most typical elephant relationship, but there was no denying that they both wanted to be with each other and were enjoying their time together.

When we were in TN, Shirley and Tarra had a big sister/little sister relationship. Tarra would try to steal Shirley’s food and Shirley would somewhat let her, but casually be watching for an opportunity to eat her head, bite her butt or something else along those lines. It was never aggressive, always playful, and Tarra would respond with her happy barks, stick her tail in Shirley’s mouth and they would both be wearing huge smiles on their faces. It was delightful to watch.

They were the only two that had that kind of relationship. Clearly, they adored each other, but there was a playful roughhousing that would take place- Tarra never pushed back. It may be how Rana and Guida end up. Although Rana is the older elephant, it seems the ‘big sister’ in this twosome may be Guida. Or at least she would like to feel like the big sister, and Rana seems content to allow her to be.

February 22, 2019


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