Update on Bambi’s Vision

As you may remember, Bambi has an old cataract in her left eye and appears to be getting one in her right eye as well. Both eyes get drops and are monitored as part of her morning treatment process. But, there are some small things happening that seem to suggest that Bambi’s eyesight may be getting worse. 

Recently, Bambi didn’t come up to the fence when it was time for breakfast, which is not at all normal. She did follow Guillermina to her pile of food and shared that with her. Of course, Guille was fine with this. She adores Bambi and would likely give up all of her food if Bambi asked. When they were done eating Guille’s food, the two elephants walked over to Bambi’s food and finished hers together. It was a little out of the ordinary for them to eat that way, but at least everyone got their meal. 

A couple days later, something a little similar happened; Bambi didn’t seem to recognize where the caregivers were putting down her food. Scott suspects that Bambi is starting to lose more vision in her right eye, which is causing her to miss some things. We could do another eye exam, but it won’t really tell us more than what we already know, which is that she has two cataracts and at least one seems to be progressing. 

When the wildlife veterinarian was here, we took a set of photos of both of Bambi’s eyes. The cataract in her left eye, which has been cloudy since before she came to the sanctuary, actually looks more transparent than in her last set of photos. So it’s possible one may be improving while the other one gets worse. It’s impossible to know with such a short observation window, but it’s something we’ll be monitoring closely in the days to come. Even if it’s getting harder for Bambi to see, she has both Maia and Guillermina at her side to help her navigate her days at sanctuary.

Photo of Bambi and her right eye


  1. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    Oh my. Wishing and hoping the powers that be to stabilize Bambi’s cataracts so they do not diminish more eyesight. So thankful for her friends at GSE, her human and elephant sisters. 🐘❤️

  2. REPLY
    Carol says

    We are all aging😏😃

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      That’s the truth!

  3. REPLY
    Heather Caroline Parsons says

    I’m sure with all your years of experience you will figure out a way of signalling where the food is, even if it means building a cattle manger to lift her food off the ground so that it is at a good trunk/eye height.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Her sense of smell is still working fine, but her sisters will also help her when she needs it. We’ll make accommodations if and when the time comes.

  4. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says

    Lovely Picture

  5. REPLY
    Terry says

    I’m thinking both Guille and Maia know her vision challenges much more clearly and are much more aware than we could ever be. They certainly will watch over Bambi. I just hope Bambi slows down enough so when she gets excited she won’t hurt herself.

  6. REPLY
    Wim says

    That’s horrible for Bambi. Hopefully her friends elephant and human can give her some additional support.

  7. REPLY
    Sheila says

    Oh dear Bambi, I believe now Bambi was trying to ask Mara for direction or to follow Mara for help and Mara ignored her about 2 wks ago. This hurt Bambi’s feelings alot. I’m happy Guillie is eager to guide 🐘Bambi. I pray🙏🏻Bambi can get her cataracts removed. It would be a shame if she goes blind 🥲

  8. REPLY
    Diane Kastel says


    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It has been done, but primarily on younger elephants. Bambi is nearly 60 years old, which is not ideal for surgery purposes.

  9. REPLY
    Diane Kastel says

    Is the issue subjecting “Bambi” to anesthesia?

  10. REPLY
    Sara says

    It is incredibly risky to do anesthesia on elephants. There are only a couple of teams in the world that are willing and capable of doing it because it’s so dangerous. Young, healthy elephants have died. The situation could potentially be dire if surgery is the only option. Needless to say, for many reasons, Bambi is not the right candidate.

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