It’s a treatment day for Maia and Rana, and they were both far from the barn. We try to work with their choices to the best of our abilities, so we decided to do their treatments along the fence line to disturb their day as little as possible. Especially since the two were hanging out close to each other and being social. That’s a relationship we are happy to help evolve when possible.
We fed them breakfast in the habitat, by the pond, and took care of Lady in the meanwhile. When we were done with her, we went out to do the other girls. By the time we went out into the habitat, Maia had already been swimming, and Rana had left the area. Maia was happy to come to the fence and receive her extra morning treats. Once done with her, we went to go find Rana for her eye treatment.
Rana was near the back of yard 2, which is near where Lady was (different sides of the fence, of course). To try and encourage Lady to have some elephant time, we did Rana’s treatment by the square where all of the yards meet. Lady seemed intrigued as Rana walked over, so we threw her a flake of hay to see if she wanted to hang out and watch Rana be taken care of.
Hay makes a good snack because it’s pretty portable when you have a trunk. Offering hay gives her the freedom to pick it up and eat very far away, or a little further away, or just in a different position with a different view. It offers another way to gauge her comfort. Lady chose to stay where she was, about 20 yards from Rana, and watch Rana’s morning treatment while enjoying her bonus snack.
Lady has seen the other girls have treatments in the chute before, but she’s never seen it happen in the habitat. Lady seemed fascinated by it at times. Her ears would go out, and sometimes she would be so engrossed she would stop mid-chew and watch with a mouthful of hay sticking out of the side of her face. Rana seemed to appreciate having an audience. She would look back and forth with her eyes, from Lady to Kat and Scott, with an excited expression as if to make sure they noticed that Lady was RIGHT THERE.
After about 15 minutes, Rana’s treatment was finished. However, everyone still seemed happy, so we walked over to Lady and threw her some treats to see if she would come closer.
There was no hesitation or thought, Lady just casually walked closer like it wasn’t a big deal. We gave each of them a palm. Without trying to convince her, we just threw some treats to see if Lady wanted to come even closer, and she did! She was close enough that she could’ve almost touched the fence if she leaned just a little bit.
Rana responded with incredible restraint. While she would love to become friends with Lady, Rana seems to understand that Lady isn’t there just yet, and she seems willing to respect that. So while Rana was showing her excitement about Lady’s proximity, she also didn’t move towards Lady or do anything that Lady could’ve found threatening. Everyone seemed super calm about it. Once Rana finished eating, she left the area first. With their location in the yards, and the direction Rana went, Lady could’ve walked along the fenceline after her, but she didn’t. She just watched Rana walk away and then later went up to the fence, moving her trunk along the bars, smelling everything.
We don’t have any photos of how nonchalantly close they were – while we know everyone wants to see (& we want to share!), we have to put the girls first and their needs. It was more important we were mentally present and engaged in what was occurring rather than taking a mental step back and viewing things through a camera.
This interaction was another step in the right direction. Lady seems to be figuring things out, while Rana is developing a deeper understanding of patience. Again.
Photo of Rana.
January 31, 2020
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