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.