Elephant Nature Park’s newest mother ‘Mae’ Sri Prae is a bit on the cautious side to say the least! Since Navann’s arrival the pair have spent most of their time in the shelter with the occasional outing at the end of the day. Navann is so curious and over-excited to explore everything and everywhere, he often takes off running ahead of Sri Prae and grandma-auntie Mae Kham Paan. This, of course, causes them to panic and charge after him.
More often than not, Navann is rushing towards other elephants, either with the intention of introducing himself to them or sometimes out of confusion, wanting to take refuge under their bodies — forgetting that the females who are expecting that kind of behavior are actually BEHIND him!
These situations can lead to chaos and unexpected harm, possibly to Navann. Trying to stop an overexcited, healthy, robust three-month-old bull elephant on a mission is no easy task!
Sri Prae has become accustomed to the boundaries of the chain-free shelter and knows Navann is safe to run as he wishes when in their space, but the outside world is a different story! When released it can sometimes take a while for Sri Prae and Mae Kham Paan to relax and enjoy themselves.
The mud pit has been the destination of choice on the most recent outings.
There is hardly an elephant alive who does not love a good romp in the mud. A mud wallow can transform even the most stodgy, old elephant into a playful youngster, bringing out their inner child. We have all been waiting with great anticipation for Navann’s first full-on mud bath.
Feeling like proud parents ourselves, we were dying to document the moment, so that we could share it with YOU, our loyal followers. Their first visit was short, but sweet.
Sri Prae was really aching for a good long scratch so she spent most of her time doing just that. She felt that a wallow in the mud would do her some good, but she had her reservations as to whether it was going to be a safe activity for her little Navann or not. The trio did get into the mud, but mom and auntie vocalized constantly in a mixture of concern and excitement. They just could not let go of their worries and really have fun. In no time, Sri Prae decided that she was ready for the safety of their shelter.
On the evening of February 12 Navann, Mae Sri Prae and grandma Mae Kham Paan were back at the mud pit. Once again, they were initially overly cautious and the females vocalized their distress, with a mixture of excitement. After only a short time, Sri Prae made ready to return to the shelter, but before they could get going in that direction, the mahouts were instructed to try to lead them to the river for a bath.
As can be expected, Kham Paan and Sri Prae have been avoiding this activity as well, though the river is extremely shallow at this time! Since we did not want to force the trio to do anything that was stressful, the were allowed to veto our suggestion and retreat. But — before heading home –they had second thoughts about the mud bath and decided to go in once again.
For whatever reason, the veil of mystery and danger had been lifted and this time was the moment we had been waiting for! Sri Prae cast her worries aside and it was pure joy … no stress, just rolling and romping, mud slinging and rubbing. Navann sludging around under foot, dove into the mud head first, at times almost unrecognisable as an ‘ele-infant’ so caked in mud was he!
Now that the boundary of worry had been broken, it was difficult to get them OUT of the mud pit and they stayed in for well over 30 minutes. By the time they exited, all were satisfied, including the elephants and the observers. Three muddy, mighty, mini-mammoths trundled homeward, the youngest almost asleep on his feet. Little Navann slept well that night after such exciting play, most likely dreaming of mud!