Guillermina and Maia spent the afternoon in the mud wallow together recently. Scott was there for a few minutes, so he went over to take a photo; he was quiet and just walked over to the fence without speaking. After taking the photos, Guille saw him and started moving toward him. He didn’t want to just turn around and walk away, so he stayed to greet her.
Immediately, she started “talking” the way she used to when her mother Pocha was around. Guille trumpeted really loudly and put her head down to tap it against the gate. She and Pocha both did that, because they seemed to like the noise that the gates make. Guille vocalized some more and then trumpeted again before squishing her face against the fence. It was very sweet and charming. And it was the first time that she has been this kind of vocal and silly on her own, the way she once was only with Pocha.
Guillermina will vocalize with the other elephants at times, but it’s normally just a little chirp and mostly her “raspberry” noise. At breakfast and dinner, she will occasionally chirp some when she’s ready to eat. But this is the first time we’ve seen some of what we once saw her do with Pocha since her mother passed away. She seemed to have closed that part of herself off in some ways, so it was encouraging to see it emerge. We’ll be curious to find out if it will continue as Guille becomes more confident in herself and realizes it is ok to show happiness this way, even after such a significant loss.
Photo of Guille