Maia has been enjoying her time in Yard 5, spending days on the far side of the creek, about as far into the habitat as she can go. Recently when she returned for dinner with the group, Bambi was extra attentive to her, walking right over, smelling her, and being super curious. Maia responded with what we call a “head waggle,” which can mean excitement on her part or just a big emotion. But afterward, Maia got quiet and just relaxed by the fence. We wondered for a moment if she might decide to get silly, but instead she went to a more reserved place.
It was very interesting to see how curious Bambi was about Maia and where she’d been. Bambi is not normally quite so forward, especially with Maia. This is a bit of an open window into the elements of their relationships that we rarely see. The elephants often behave differently when we are not around, which is part of why the observation cameras are so important. It shows us a different view of what goes on among them and the dynamics of their relationships. Sometimes we only get glimpses of those evolutions here and there. This might be a breakthrough in their friendship or it could just be a moment of time in their days.