Bambi is doing well. As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, for a few days after Mara decided not to share space with Bambi, Bambi kept to herself in Yard 5. She had access to Yards 1 & 5, but she chose to stay a little further away from the other two. She seemed disconnected the first day, but, after that, she seemed okay. It’s positive that she took the time to process rather than just continuing to try with Mara. It’s very similar to what we saw with Rana when, shortly after her arrival, Maia and Guida rebuked her.
It’s worth noting how different her life is now than it was before. While having other elephants around is undoubtedly very exciting for Bambi, there’s a lot more for her to focus on. She has grass for grazing, mud, trees, natural ponds, and space. Her care team listens to her and respects her needs. All of those things are very new. Even if the friendship aspect isn’t ‘perfect’ in the moment, there is still so much here for any elephant to embrace. While we humans tend to fixate on one thing, elephants generally don’t do that. When one thing isn’t going well for any elephant, they tend to focus on something else. It seems easy for an elephant to do that, especially when those other aspects are new, exciting, and beautiful.
A couple of days later, Bambi returned to Yard 1 and began interacting with Mara through a fence again. Those interactions have continued to happen regularly.
Bambi and Maia have also interacted along a few shared fences during this time. As we know, Maia has two speeds, and we are beginning to learn that Bambi may be the same way. When they both are sleepy, they are both sweet, touchy, and mellow along the fence. Other times, Bambi is super spunky. She still approaches Maia submissively by backing up most of the time, but on her spunky days, the two play with their trunks, each trying to place theirs on top of the other elephant’s trunk.
Bambi is thrilled to explore everything growing now that it’s the rainy season. She spent several hours in Yard 3, sampling leaves on saplings and eating vines. When we check on the elephants at night (10:00 p.m.), we frequently see Rana, Mara, and Bambi interacting along the fence, touching, and loudly rumbling to each other. The three seem to enjoy spending that time at night together, all seeming relaxed.
Bambi seems to still struggle with understanding when to approach and when not to approach. It sounds so simple, but when elephants have been alone for decades, understanding another elephant’s body language can be very challenging for them. Bambi tends to be so happy to approach that she just approaches without stopping to observe and decide if it’s appropriate.
Based on what we observe along the fences at night, we plan on allowing the three to share space in one of the larger yards – like Yard 4. That way, if Mara decides she needs her space, Bambi can walk further away and truly give them space. We aren’t sure when that will happen. The timing will be based on what we see between the three. It will also depend on where the other elephants are – Maia has been quite content in Yard 5 the past few days, and Lady has been happy in Yard 4. As always, we will keep you posted as things develop. For now, we are not concerned about Bambi – she is handling everything quite well, just like Rana did.
Photo of Bambi.
October 23, 2020