Bambi is Surprised by Maia

After her trip across the creek, Bambi headed to the back of Yard 5 for breakfast and morning medical treatment. Maia stayed across the creek for a while before eventually following Bambi to the spot where she was getting evaluated. Maia stayed in the background, which was slightly odd; when elephants are getting looked at by caregivers, there are treats and hay and verbal and physical interaction, so Maia would normally come right away to take part in that, even if at a distance. But she remained in the back, almost entirely in the bushes, during Bambi’s whole treatment. Once Bambi was almost finished, Maia very slowly approached to join Bambi at the fence. 

Scott was with Bambi and gently told her that Maia was coming over. Maia was making noise in the grass as she was walking, but Bambi seemed disconnected and didn’t appear to realize that Maia was coming until she was right next to Bambi. She turned and seemed startled that there was another elephant near her. Bambi took a huge step back, but didn’t make any vocalizations. She stuck her ears all the way out in an alert position, but didn’t walk away. After standing there for a minute next to a very quiet Maia, Bambi seemed to relax. Scott gave both elephants their own piles of hay and they decided to hang out side by side. Throughout the interaction, Maia was very respectful in a way that might be considered atypical when there are treats around. It was lovely to watch Maia handle the situation in the way she did. 

In general, Bambi doesn’t seem to be as engaged in her treatments as she normally does. We don’t know why, but her responses to verbal and physical cues haven’t been the same as usual. She still gets her eye drops and salve for the sore spot on her face, but she’s shown hesitancy for leaning fully into the fence line when asked. We can’t be sure why Bambi seems so tentative, but it may have something to do with adjusting to any vision changes she’s experiencing. We won’t know the extent to which her eyesight will continue to impact her, but it’s nice to know that she has a growing friendship with Maia that can perhaps put her at ease as things shift. 

Photo of Bambi surrounded by greenery


  1. REPLY
    Maureen says

    Sweet Maia, being extra considerate of Bambi. Wondering if Bambi may also be having some hearing loss. That could explain Maia’s caution and Bambi’s still being startled. Growing older is such a difficult thing for all of us. Hoping this is just an adjustment thing and that Bambi is ok and nothing else going on. I know it can be quite the challenge for all of you to know what is going on with the girls. You all do such an amazing job at caring for them!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s always possible that there’s some growing issue with her hearing. We are keeping a close eye on it.

  2. REPLY
    Patricia Mitchell says

    As always, I enoy your updates about the girls. Thanks for all you do!

  3. REPLY
    Tracy H says

    Bless her heart. Poor sweet Bambi. I know you’ve covered all her eye problems but with being surprised at Maia being right next to her is it possible that Bambi is having hearing issues as well? Sending love and prayers that our beautiful Bambino will be back to her old self soon. Love them all so much 🐘🐘🐘

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s possible that there could be hearing issues. But elephants hear with their ears and their feet, so she definitely still has the ability to sense communication from other elephants. We’ll be monitoring it closely.

  4. REPLY
    Lezlie says

    Is it possible that she has some hearing loss and/or is developing some type of dementia?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s possible that she is experiencing some hearing loss, but elephants hear with their feet and bodies – not just their ears. So it’s hard to know at this stage. We’ll be monitoring her.

  5. REPLY
    Charlotte Hansen says

    I wonder if maybe Maia does know what’s going on with Bambi and is offering her moral support to help her get through it?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      I imagine she knows something is going on. Elephants communicate in ways we don’t always understand.

  6. REPLY
    Terry says

    Maia knows. She is there for Bambi, which is absolutely magical!!! Much love and gratitude to the girls and their guardians!

  7. REPLY
    Sheila says

    I’m thinking Maia. Knows Bsmbi is getting fearful and didn’t want to scare her iscwhyvMaia held back in. Bushes then made noises as she approached Bambi@@ its tragic BIG Puppy Bambi is going Blind. I’m VERY SAD?😢😥 I agree Bambi is not so eager to get her treatments. Can Bambi have cataracts removed?

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