A journalist and photographer were here last week, working on an article about the sanctuary. While we do most interviews using audio or video calling, it’s helpful for reporters to come here and see the property in order to grasp the bigger picture.
As guests, they are always supervised and given strict rules about where to stand and their behavior. They don’t approach or interact with any elephants. We also ask them to keep their voices down around the elephants to respect their space. After all, the sanctuary is a home for elephants, not humans.
Lady doesn’t usually like having her photo taken. She isn’t aggressive, but her body language changes when we start taking pictures or videos. After a short time—usually under three minutes, she gets a grumpy expression on her face and glares at us. Interestingly, when this photographer took photos, Lady didn’t seem to mind. She completely ignored them and was smiling, and carefree. Scott and the photographer were able to stay outside of her area and take photos of her for 15–20 minutes. We joked that Lady must’ve known this person is a better photographer than us for her to have enjoyed her portrait session so much. She trusts us in so many ways, but she must not trust us to get her flattering angles.
The reporter also rode out with Scott into the habitat. We can share videos and maps that show how large the sanctuary is and what the elephants have access to, but nothing compares to seeing it. What sanctuary offers isn’t best exemplified by smaller spaces or during medical care; real sanctuary is in the wilderness with no borders in view. Reporters tend to be excellent communicators; it’s what makes them good at their job. After chatting the entire tour, Scott and the reporter were in Yard 4 and came upon Maia grazing in Yard 5. The reporter fell silent for the first time.
Maia has such a strong and powerful presence. It can intimidate new people, but this reporter was so captivated and mesmerized by Maia that she had no words. Once they left the habitat, and Scott asked her what she thought. The reporter remembered she had her camera to take photos, but was so overwhelmed by the beauty of an elephant at peace at sanctuary, she completely forgot to take a single image.
Photo of Maia.