Maia continues to share space with Mara, Rana, and Bambi during the day. She spends time in various areas of Yard 4, but isn’t going close to them most days.
In previous posts, we have detailed some of their earlier encounters. There was yet another day that Maia decided to come close to the three, but the results were similar to what we’d already seen: shortly after her arrival, Maia decided it was time to go and left the area quickly. The gates between Yards 4 and 5 were open and she could have left, but instead she stayed in Yard 4, near the square, facing the direction of the other ladies. Later on, Mara and Bambi headed through the open gate, into Yard 5, while Rana remained in Yard 4. Since we know Maia and Rana have a good relationship with each other, we closed the gates and allowed them some time together.
When we came back for night feed, Mara and Bambi returned to the barn. Upon Mara being let into the chute to eat, Bambi started with her deep calling rumbles, presumably to Rana. Once Mara and Bambi were set with food, we went to the back of the yards to see if Rana was close. She came walking up to the square, so we opened up, allowing her to join Mara and Bambi for the rest of the night.
In an attempt to try something different that might make the girls more comfortable, we decided to see if shared time in the smaller yards, with a fence between them, would help Maia to feel more secure. This would allow Maia to come close, touch, and socialize, as she has done in the past, knowing there is the safety of a fence if she became nervous. In typical elephant fashion, the girls were in different places at different times. Maia would be near the barn and the others were farther away, or the others were around, and Maia would be on the other side of the habitat when they came close. Just before dinner, all four did end up near the barn together.
Maia was in Yard 2, and the three were in Yard 1. Bambi was close to the gate, eating hay, and Maia walked up and ate some bananas about 20 yards from her. They both ate calmly, with Maia looking like she was going to leave at one point, but then choosing to finish her food. When she was done, she started to walk away at a normal pace, towards the back of the yard. When she was a little distance away, she picked up her pace, and quickly left the area.
Interestingly, Lady was also nearby when everyone was close. When she saw Maia run away, she decided to run off as well (she was in Yard 3 by herself at the time). She didn’t go very far, but did move much more quickly than normal. The condition of her feet generally makes her much more of a mosey kind of girl.
Why Maia isn’t settled being near Bambi is somewhat of a mystery at this point. Although we probably won’t ever know, we will continue to give the girls opportunities to improve on their comfort and their relationships. Since Maia and Rana have a strong bond, we plan to let them have some one-on-one time while Mara and Bambi stay together in a neighboring yard. Similar to what we did with Bambi and Rana, this time will allow Maia some close elephant time, which is a positive. Hopefully, this will increase Maia’s comfort when near all three again, knowing Rana is there for her if needed. We will look for an opportunity to facilitate this when everyone is in a good space physically and emotionally.
Photo of Maia in Yard 4, enjoying a watermelon snack.