The cameras have been giving us a bit more insight into the elephants’ lives. They’ve also confirmed a few unsurprising things – like the impressive amount of time Maia spends as a pond blob.
The pond is shallow around the edges for ease of entering and exiting but is deep in the middle. Maia spends a lot of time lying along the side, where it’s shallow. When she’s along the edge, she doesn’t have to put any effort into swimming, staying afloat, or even poking her trunk out of the water to breathe. Maia props her trunk up in the mud and sleeps deeply. It’s a great spot for her when she’s extra-lazy. She gets the best of both worlds – she’s partly submerged but doesn’t need to expend effort to breathe (her laziness is continually impressive).
We recently saw her on camera in this position with Rana and Mara nearby. Rana looked sleepy but was lazily watching Maia. However, Mara was watching Maia more closely. It wasn’t with intensity, she was grazing leisurely, but also watching Maia with rapt attention. We would love to know what Mara was thinking, watching Maia-the-pond-blob, and her level of comfort and abandonment in those situations. About two hours later, the other two had wandered off, but Maia was still in the same position. She was up and elsewhere for dinner, but the following morning, when we checked the cameras, she was back to being a pond blob. By the time humans showed up at the barn for the day, Maia was at the barn, ready for food. Now that we know more about her very early morning behavior, we suspect she hears the team arriving on their motorbikes, and that’s when she starts heading down for breakfast.
We do also see Maia standing up at times. We recently checked on the cameras and saw Maia, Rana, and Mara grazing almost in a line. Everyone was a little spread out, but everyone was an equal distance apart. This was encouraging because Maia and Rana weren’t close with Maia keeping a distance. It shows us that Mara is becoming more comfortable, both with stepping away from Rana and with being casually closer to Maia. It’s nice to see the three of them moving around, grazing, and just relaxing.
Photo of Maia.