Rana was at the hotel for 6-8 years before coming to the sanctuary, and they were good to her there. Before that, she was a circus elephant and to get there, she was captured from the wild.
We are unsure of when Rana suffered the injuries to her trunk, but they are substantial. In the second photo, we have circled the outside scar on her trunk. It essentially goes through and through and runs a few inches on the outside of her trunk. This scar we saw immediately, it’s the holes on the inside of her trunk that we didn’t see until later on. The third photo has an area circled where you can see the light coming through. It is a small hole, further back from that hole is a much longer hole which you can’t see.
Rana is the first elephant we have worked with that has such a significant amount of damage to her trunk. When we first started working with her, she was reluctant to put her trunk in your hand, even just to hold it before giving her food. She worked through that very quickly, but the more relaxed she became and the longer she held it in place, the more we were able to see the scars of her past. These scars further support how vulnerable she has allowed herself to become and how phenomenal she truly is. She doesn’t let her past define her, like most elephants that are provided a safe space, she has opened up and grown by leaps and bounds.
We have posted the video below these came from. Rana was actually being charming and putting her nose on the phone the way she does with our hands. Completely gentle, rumbling and a total love. Did we mention she’s remarkable??
April 17, 2019
This is the video we mentioned above. We wanted to share it because it helps to show how gentle Rana is. She’s adorable with her quiet conversational rumbles as Scott talks to her, but you’ll also notice she’s never grabby. At the very end, she exhales, and you will see she actually dips her ‘finger’ on her trunk down when she does. This is a show of manners for elephants, most know it’s not polite to just blow in your face, and those who care will generally blow down and away from you.
Rana is still coming in for treatment, although we don’t bring her in, if she shows up at the barn, we open up and see if she wants to come in. She doesn’t come back every day, but she does most days. Her vulva issues seemed to heal fully about a week ago. The thickening that remained completely subsided and things seem ‘normal’ now. We will treat for a couple of weeks to make sure things are truly resolved, and then hopefully she’ll be entirely done with that.
At this point, because Rana had never received any positive reinforcement training before the sanctuary, there is still a lot we will continue to do with her. We can work on extending the time she allows for work to be done on her front feet and then start on the back feet. She still needs a bit more conditioning for a blood draw, although we could probably get it now, we want her to be a bit more comfortable before we try. The more time she spends with Maia and Guida, the less she wants to come by the barn and be around humans, which is the way it should be. While she’s still coming around, we will try and make daily progress. When she does decide she is done with the barn, we also have areas in the habitat we can work when needed.
April 18, 2019
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