Time to Start Doing a Little More


Now that Mara is more settled into sanctuary life, it is time to start doing a little more.

We take things step by step at sanctuary – as always, an elephant’s comfort is of the utmost importance. It’s usually better to let an elephant find a certain level of comfort before we start adding new routines to an already new life. With Mara and Rana’s immediate bond, we also needed to make sure that Mara adjusted to temporarily separating from Rana before increasing the separation time with treatments. Even though they can still see each other, we want to make sure we minimize stress when possible.

Not only is Mara now comfortable being separated from Rana inside of the barn, but she is also more comfortable with her new team of humans. Knowing this, we felt it was time to start foot trimming.

As our habitat is vastly different from what she had in her previous enclosure, the pads of her feet and nails wear much differently here. Not only is she walking more and encountering more hills, but she is walking on different substrates and using her feet to dig. Combined with how much time she spends getting her feet wet, her feet are already changing on their own, but it’s helpful for us to support these changes by trimming her pads and nails. Even though she had regular footwork at the EcoParque, it’s still different here, so it’s best to start with the basics.

We have bars at a few different heights in the chute, but there is one bar we generally use for footwork. There is another bar above it, so it ends up being a little square that the elephants put their foot through. When we first asked Mara to present her foot, she couldn’t quite find the hole with her foot. Rather than gently feeling for the spot, she forcefully tried to find it. We call this ‘crazy foot’ and it’s fairly common. Of course, that didn’t go well, and she loudly banged the bars with her foot as she tried to find the right spot. It didn’t hurt her, but it was pretty loud. Once she got it in the correct location, she settled right in. After she figured out where her foot went, she found the exact position on the first try after that.

We did a small amount of trimming of her both of her back pads, and she was fantastic. Similar to Maia, she was happy to leave her foot up in the position for a couple of minutes at a time. She was gentle and receptive the entire time. Mara continues to impress us with how seamlessly she has fit in here – it seems like she’s been here forever. Her being so stellar with footwork reinforces that feeling!

Once we finished and told her she was all done, she didn’t anxiously rush out or leave the chute. Of course, once she backed out and rejoined Rana, they had a little party.

Photo of Mara drying off in the sun after getting her feet (and the rest of her body) wet.

July 15, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Those elephants are smart. They can figure it all out quickly. They know you are helping them. They say Thank You, Sanctuary.?

  2. REPLY
    andrea simonetti says

    it is wonderful to follow your reports each day. thank you for the beautiful work you do!!

  3. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    She’s fabulous, such a sweetheart and clever and has fitted in perfectly. She was meant to be there with you all. She looks like a soft VELVET elephant in the photo ?❤️?❤️??

  4. REPLY
    Wim says

    Looking fabulous Miss MARA. You must be happy now you’ve found the bar with proper service and high qualified personnel.

  5. REPLY
    alana says

    Cutie Pie

  6. REPLY
    Paula says

    ¡Solo pasaron dos meses!
    Mara lo está haciendo muy bien, ella aprende rápido… y ella entiende todo ❤
    Miren el rostro de ella…¡Mara brilla como una estrella, ella está radiante!
    ¡Gracias por los cuidados amorosos para ella y las demás!

  7. REPLY
    Sallie Robbins-Druian says

    It is always uplifting to read about all the Girls andMiss Mara, especially during these crazy times . . . reading about her angst with getting her foot into the right pew, reminds me of women in a shoe store cramming a shoe on for size! Instead of hysteria, it was absolute calm! It was a perfect fit, and we could all tell how proud she was of herself! I felt calm myself!

  8. REPLY
    Bernadette says

    Is it my imagination or does Mara and lady look younger. Have they put on more muscle/padding. Especially Mara. She looks fabulous. It must be love

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Mara is definitely building muscle mass. 🙂

  9. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    Mara is absolutely beautiful with the sunlight shining down on her. I would love to stand close , look directly in her eyes and tell her what a lovely soul she is, and how she is loved by so many humans.

  10. REPLY
    Sheila says

    very smart sweet ❤️?mara has certainly been a great gal and just melded into jungle freedom life so well with rana! just amazing how endearing she is tries to please carers so well with feet! very great she had foot treatments in argentina! betting mara comes very willingly ever day for feet work treats! she just beautiful and amazing this big sweet mara❤️

  11. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Wow can you imagine all those years of who knows what horrible things being done to you living in fear never knowing what the next day would bring and then you’re surrounded by natures splendor being left alone to be free to do whatever your lil heart desires knowing you’ve got love all around finally able to actually be with your own kind to feel safe secure cared for in ways you’ve never dreamed all because of that life changing day when they were each given back what was sadly stolen from them years ago the chance at life the second they took that first step onto sanctuary soil the first day of the rest of their beautiful lives thanks to two amazing people Scott Kat and their wonderful team of caregivers for all their hard work and dedication was this made possible ???

  12. REPLY
    Julie says

    I love that description, Tammy! Beautiful pic of soft and sweet Mara!

  13. REPLY
    Irene Olson says

    Omg she is really beautiful! She looks so healthy and extremely happy! Sanctuary life! Perfect!?♥️

  14. REPLY
    Carol Anderson says

    What a cute picture of her. She looks like a young elephant.

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