Earlier this morning we let the girls in with each other after having them separated for the night.
With their arrival being after dark, we didn’t want to move forward until the next morning. Maia and Guida, along with being on chains, were separated by hotwire. We were told by their keepers that Maia has pushed Guida down in the past, so they were not kept together at the farm.
This morning we opened up between them to let them be together. The plan was to also let them into the habitat, but we wanted to make sure Guida was comfortable first (trying to avoid a chasing situation in a larger space.) They did great together, with Guida often initiating the interactions between the two. When Maia would approach or go to walk through the stalls, Guida did not move away or back down. From what we saw the night before, they both truly enjoyed being able to touch and be close.
Once the girls were in together for a bit, we opened up access to outside. Guida went first and instantly started grazing and walking through the habitat. She would gather some grass and rumble, put the grass in her mouth, then rumble. She continued down the hill this way for at least a half hour.
Maia came out about 5 minutes after her, immediately went over to Guida, they spent a minute together, then both went grazing their own way. We took photos with them in the habitat, surrounded by green with the hills behind them and that’s what we were going to post, but then the girls did this.
Please forgive the human vocals on the video. One of the most important things we do when elephants first arrive to sanctuary is encourage them to communicate. Often, captive elephants are discouraged from doing so, if they show they are displeased they are corrected, if they let someone know they are unhappy, sometimes they are punished and often times when they do communicate something, it doesn’t have an impact. We want them to know sanctuary is different and one of the easiest ways to encourage all forms of communication is to first start encourage vocalizations. So, sorry- it’s painful for me to listen to quite honestly. 😉
This sort of interaction between Maia and Guida is more than we would have possibly hoped for at this point. Guida is being very confident and is extremely comfortable with everything that goes on between them. The vocalizations are super positive for being here less than 24 hours after only hearing one small rumble before their departure. We will have much more to share, we just wanted to quickly post this and let everyone know just how lovely they are doing.
You’ll need your volume on to hear their vocalizations. Guida is on the left, Maia on the right.