Ingo and Maia Work Together

In this video, you can see Ingo doing footwork on Maia. On Maia’s first day of footwork, Ingo shadowed Scott to see how we do things and observe how the elephants reacted to his presence and his energy. So far, everything has been positive in that area. On Ingo’s second day with Maia (shown here), he was able to do some footwork on Maia, since she seemed relaxed. Scott is holding Maia’s nose while Ingo works. This interaction allows her to communicate to a new person and for us to observe how much he picks up on during the experience.

When working with a new caregiver, it is important to see what that person pays attention to and what needs to be monitored more closely – which is individual to each elephant. We want the elephants to see and feel the level of respect that Ingo gives them. Footwork can sometimes be clinical, so it is important to make sure that you are paying attention to the whole process and the whole elephant, rather than just get caught up in the technical aspects. All of this is part of Ingo getting used to the GSE philosophy of holistic care. 


During the video, you can see that Maia is getting sleepy, since this was after breakfast, which is one of her favorite nap times. She will start to doze off, then wake herself up to pay attention, but then start to fall asleep again. That is a good sign that she’s relaxed with Ingo, which made him quite happy. (It also made Scott happy as well, since footwork can be physically taxing, and he now has some help with this major task.)


Since this video was taken a few days ago, Ingo has done footwork on Lady, Mara, and Rana, and hopes to work with Bambi soon. Until then, enjoy this moment of a small bond being established between Ingo and Maia.


  1. REPLY
    Tammy Nelson says

    ooooolaalaa Maia looks so relaxed just loving the attention I know I would what girl doesnt like getting a mani-pedi? Good for her she deserves all this pampering! 😙🐘💞 welcome to the family Ingo you are a great addition to the Sanctuary or as I think of it “Heaven on Earth” and I know the girls are happy too! 👏👏

  2. REPLY
    Beji says

    Ingo looked like he was working. Hard. Whew! Again, Ingo has the coolest veterinarian name since Dr Doolittle.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Ha! We’ll let him know you think so. Footwork is labor intensive but, luckily, Ingo really enjoys it.

  3. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    She has the wright idea take a nap smart girl

  4. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    Footwork is so important! Glad Scott will have help with this task, Mason info forward. You’re going to have lots of elephants there in the next year or so! Ingo (aka Dr Doolittle 🤗) has a lot of work ahead of him. So glad he’s fitting in!

  5. REPLY
    John says

    Your videos are interesting and wonderful! I always love the look into their eye(s). So amazing. Thank you!

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    Anita J says

    Such a nice footage!! A real pleasure to watch. A question please if I may. Will the girls always require that work because of their damage obtained from captivity? Is this the life long legacy and life long damage? I know Lady’s feet are still in dreadful condition and will be so, till the day she dies. But what about other girls? Now with long walks on beautiful grasses and muds and sand will the feet recover on their own and they won’t need so much extended work any more in the future? It is amazing to see the skill and care Ingo displays in that footage. And there will be two strong young men now to do this work…:-)))) Very, very nice to watch your videos and read all the comments. Thank you!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We will always monitor their feet, even though they now have a proper substrate to walk on. Having natural growth underfoot does go a long way toward helping feet maintain themselves, but it can’t undo damage that’s already been done. Some elephants need minimal care and we do maintenance-type footwork, primarily during the rainy season. Others have damage to their feet that need more frequent monitoring (though none of them to the extent that Lady does).

  7. REPLY
    S Capobianco says


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