Happy 7th Re-Birthday, Maia!

Today marks seven years since Maia first crossed the threshold from her transport crate and onto sanctuary soil. It’s difficult to fathom that it’s been so many years since Maia and Guida came to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil together. Maia has seen so much change and has lived with great happiness and immense grief at the loss of Guida, something that she’s still working to process each day. 

As many of us know, when you lose someone who occupied such a significant space in your heart, they will never be replaced. There will never be another Guida for Maia. Their relationship is still one of the most beautiful displays of friendship we have ever seen with elephants. But, it is heartwarming to see Maia allowing herself to form bonds with elephants again and seemingly healing enough to decide she is ready to allow someone to partially fill the space that was left empty years ago. 

Since her time with Guida, we have seen Maia gradually grow in incredible ways, expanding her comfort zone and welcoming new individuals into her life. After Bambi’s arrival, Maia seemed a little bit intimidated by Bambi’s energy and became less comfortable with trying to become part of that group. She preferred to stay on the outskirts of gatherings, only slowly showing a desire to be part of something larger than herself. What we see now is an elephant who has opened up to the others and is finding her way back to the more joyous version of Maia. She seems to be navigating the complex dynamics of the elephant personalities that she lives with in healthy ways. She also still enjoys moments or days to herself and has no problem taking the time she needs, which these days seems like it’s coming from a place of self-assuredness rather than withdrawal. 

Some of Maia’s growth can be witnessed in the fact that she’s become a helpful auntie to Guillermina over the last year. It’s possible that she learned lessons from Bambi on how to live with elephants who have big energies, so she’s taking that knowledge and sharing it with Guille. Whatever the reason, we see a more undaunted Maia these days – one who is willing to guide Guillermina while also keeping a sense of play. 

 A new Maia is emerging and it’s beautiful to see. Her relationships with the other girls continue to grow and expand, and she’s living her life on her own terms. She now sees elephants who she once shunned as peers and even friends. And she’s certainly been a gift to Guillermina, in both recreational activities and relaxing moments. Happy re-birthday, Maia. You’re a symbol of what sanctuary can be and an example of how making your own choices can change every element of your life. 

Photo of Maia


  1. REPLY
    Sunny says

    Maia, you have great strength. I love you 😘

  2. REPLY
    Allison says

    Happy Re-Birthday lovely girl ❤️
    Wishing you and your sanctuary sisters a happy day always 😚

  3. REPLY

    Feliz Feliz Cumpleaños a la Hermosa Mara Larga y Feliz Vida.

  4. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Happy Happy 7th re-Birthday Maia you pretty girl! I can’t believe it’s already been seven years since your arrival. Maia has definitely gone through many changes yet she thankfully is able to navigate through those very troubled waters. The loss of Guida was and still is so sad i really do feel for Maia and all the girls its very hard when someone you care so deeply about passes but in true Maia style she’s bouncing back which is so great to see but still one can only wonder what really goes through an elephants mind during such a tough loss they are so deeply connected to one another it is heartbreaking but some how some way they get by with a little help from their friends some take a little longer but she’s in a great place for healing. Love and hugs to you sweet baby girl Maia have a super fantastic day eat lots of yummy goodies you sure do deserve it 🥳😘🐘💞

  5. REPLY
    Zoi says

    Happy 7th re-birthday!!! my lovely Maia, a spoonful of sugar basket is on your way to celebrate this important date in your life. May you continue having a happy and wonderful life in the sanctuary with your beloved friends.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you for the lovely treat!

  6. REPLY
    Norma Hudson says

    Happy Re-Birthday Maia May you continue to expand your horizons and teach Guillermina what she needs to know

  7. REPLY
    Elizabeth says

    It has been beautiful to read about the evolving friendship between Maia and Guille.

    Thank you for all you do!

  8. REPLY
    Sheila says

    Maia. U had such a short time with Guida in sanctuary paradise, after all the terrible circus years. I was so happy RANA was there for you when u lost Guida as she knew Guida for a year before you list ur beloved sister friend. I watched your sadness and grief for about 5 years Bambi didn’t understand ur grief but u must have taught her to calm her exuberant playful self down . Pocha and Guille came an 5 mo after arrival Pocha died. U allowed Guillie to process her Grief by being very supportive like an Aunti as did Rana and Bambi give her quiet time but it appears Guillie, u and Bambi r very close Aunties to Guillie. It’s so beautiful to see u Maia get friendlier to Guillie and Bambi too as u had a very long struggle with Guidas death. I’m so happy Maia u r opening up more to Mara also. More importantly teaching Guillie how to live in a her of ladies as she had 22 yrs of no space, no jungle only a small cave. GUILLE LOVES YOU AND UR HER AUNTI, AS IS BAMBI. SHE NEEDS U AUNTIES as she still has grief of loss if her mother. ❤️ u MAIA. MAY U HAVE MANY MORE YEARS OF THIS PARADISE LIFE!

  9. REPLY
    Melinda says

    Happy Re-Birthday Sweetheart! May many, many more come your way!

  10. REPLY
    Carey says

    Happy Re-Birthday to our huge personality, big energy, water loving Auntie, nothing I can put into words adequately describes you, except I’m so glad to have followed your journey for (has it really been?) 7 years, and massively relieved and happy that you have had this chance to escape your chains. You deserve everything good in the hopefully many years and friendships current and to come, and I thank you for welcoming Guille and helping her through her own big loss.

  11. REPLY
    Wim says

    Happy Re-Birthday Maia. Thank you for giving so much. May your days be filled with sanctuary friendships.

  12. REPLY
    Patricia says

    My precious Maia, I too know grief. It’s wonderful that you have been able to share your great soul with other girls at the sanctuary despite your loss. I love you!

  13. REPLY
    Julie says

    Happy Birthday, Big Girl!!!

  14. REPLY
    JamesMichael says

    Happy 7th Re-Birthday, sweet Maia

  15. REPLY
    Sue says

    Enjoy seeing the outpouring of love for our sweet girl, Maia. Can’t believe it has been seven years! I feel so privileged to have had a chance to watch you grow and see how you handle so many moments in your life. Love seeing your interactions with all the girls and your growth as an Auntie! I feel it is a roll you will continue to fill with grace. Love you so very much!!! Love and hugs ❤️🐘❤️

  16. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Happy birthday sweet girl! Sending lots of love to you!

  17. REPLY
    Terry says

    What an incredible heart felt and insightful write up about Maia!!! Truly rebirth. Paradise for this gorgeous Angel of Love and Grace!!!

  18. REPLY
    Shelley Russell says

    A beautiful and poignant piece of writing!

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