Date of Birth: 1980
Place of Birth: Africa
Where Now: PAWS Wildlife Sanctuary
Loxodonta Africana For photos and information on Mara see: PAWS (See PAWSWEB Video links of Mara below.)
Mara the elephant has had quite a few human friends in her young life. First there was the “Friends of Mara” group who organized and came forward with a $20,000 check to save her from a life as a circus elephant in Mexico. At the time the young elephant had been living, not necessarily happily, at the Happy Hollow Zoo in San Jose, CA, where she spent the “first few years” of her life.
But it wasn’t her time to arrive at the Performing Animals Welfare Society (PAWS) just yet. First she would have to go to the home of a millionaire in Florida. It seemed that Arthur Jones, of the “Nautilus exercise equipment” fame, fancied elephants and on his “rambling 600 acre estate” in Ocala, he had collected a herd of over 80 of the pachyderms.
It was barely a year before Mara was “facing the auction block again,” just days away from a life in another circus, as the millionaire “began selling off his herd”. Again Mara, needed real human friends and that’s when the late Pat Derby and Ed Stewart came to her rescue (this after having been alerted to her fate through the “Friends of Mara” who got word from directly from the estate.)
By this time Mara, still under the age of 10, had become used to all of the change and the separations. When she was just a baby elephant in Africa, after she was born, Mara was separated from her mama after a government ordered culling took place. Mara’s mama lay dead and now the elephant calf was an orphan.
In no time little Mara, given no choice in relinquishing her freedom, was whisked away from Africa to an unknown life in America. She was forced to begin the life of a captive elephant; thus, another separation.
Finally the day came, relatively early in a captive elephant’s life, that our elephant Mara was rescued by PAWS. It was 23 January 1990.
Now, she may not have remembered a little female elephant named 71, who had already been rescued from the same million dollar Florida estate (sometimes money does not buy elephant happiness). But once they reunited at PAWS’s Galt, CA Sanctuary, with loud “trumpets” back and forth, they instantly remembered each other again.
Mara and 71 soon came to share not only “the same habitat” but also the same sense of elephant fun! They would “run from one end of the habitat to the other, swim in the lake, spar with each other, toss tires, and push logs”.
They loved the sanctuary and the freedom they felt there. They loved the food. They loved the accommodations. They loved the humans that cared for them. For many years the two elephants shared that happiness together at the PAWS sanctuary. Sadly, Mara lost her comrade when 71, “the sickly elephant” passed away in 2008.
(Journalist Carly Nairn of The California Report once described the trio of elephants: “There’s Mara, who has lived in private reserves most of her life, and takes on the role of matriarch, Lulu, a shy transplant from the San Francisco Zoo, and Maggie, described as a bossy princess, reigning over the best mud ponds.”)
And as girls will be girls, it never hurts to turn on the elephant charm to bring that extra attention your way. Mara has without a doubt, become an expert at that. (See her interrupt a phone call Ed Stewart is having with Bob Barker on a PAWSWEB video!)
Good girl, Mara.
Like they say (or should say), happy elephant, happy life. Happy life, happy elephant!
See information at PAWS on how to Adopt Mara
credit: public domain drawing of elephant
PAWSWEB YouTube Videos below:
Video 1) Good close up of Mara
Video 2) See Mara wanting some attention after Ed takes a phone call from Bob Barker
Video 3) Rainy Day with Mara, Lulu and Maggie at PAWS Sanctuary
Video 4) Close up of Mara’s elephant eyelashes and her trumpeting in greeting to Lulu and Maggie