Identifying the Elephants: Learning About Maia

We continue our ongoing series on ways to identify each elephant this week with Maia. She is the longest resident of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil and is very distinct in many ways. She shares some characteristics with Guillermina – like their fuzzy hair – but once you learn to recognize Maia, she’s hard to forget.

Maia has a unique figure – rotund and almost triangular in shape – and her tail is about half the “normal” length of other elephants. Her right ear has a scar that looks almost like a bubble and is roughly the size of a human hand. You may notice in some videos that she has a tendency to flap her ears individually, or one at a time. 

Make sure to keep up with the other girls from past week’s posts: Bambi, Lady, and Guillermina!



  1. REPLY
    Polly Kaczmarek says

    With a shorter tail, is she at a big disadvantage when trying to swat flies away?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It doesn’t seem to impact that. Generally the motion of the tail is enough to keep insects away.

  2. REPLY
    Carey says

    I don’t have fav’s (promise haha!) but I love Ms Maia, appreciate her journey, feel for her and appreciate her great resilience. Maia and Guida were the first GSE elephants I got to know and I’ll never forget witnessing them both at their former place, chained on opposite sides of a fence because Maia had attacked Guida and was known as the bad girl, and Guida so lost in stereotyping. And they came to GSE and became inseparable and endlessly solicitous of each other. Guida and Maia both made incredible strides forward, Guida loved to challenge herself physically though to me she looked frail and so much older than Maia (she wasn’t) she revelled in walking all over the sanctuary and became and it was beautiful seeing these great friends together. Then Maia lost Guida way too soon, and Maia separated herself and spent many months alone only really coming back slowly slowly as Pocha and Guille arrived seeming to like Guille’s young boisterous energy, and now she’s back with the herd in her own space and being there for Guille . She’s wonderful, and she makes me laugh!

  3. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Maia is just adorable especially her fuzzy head it’s the cutest thing ever! We learn so much from doing this many things we wouldn’t otherwise notice and we get an education on why too so thank you for that! Happy Valentines Day everyone! 💘 💞 💖

  4. REPLY
    Patricia says

    I still have a Maia and Guida tee from the time that Guida was still with us. God bless Maia’s fuzzy little head. She has been through so much, and I love her with all my heart. I came into my time with ESB just before Guida passed. I can’t imagine Maia naughty, unless she is one of the #naughty list #worth it animals I particularly love. Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves. And to you dear humans who make this all possible.

  5. REPLY
    Johnny says

    I’m just so happy there are elephants in this world!

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