The elephants and their behavior showed us there has been some sort of tension between Maia and Bambi, but we’ve never been sure exactly why. No one has witnessed any direct aggression between the two, but Maia has seemed more insecure around Bambi than around any of the other elephants here at the sanctuary. Normally, if Bambi approaches Maia, Maia walks away. However, lately Maia has become increasingly comfortable with the others and confident in showing more of herself to them.
While keeping an eye on the girls a couple of days ago, we took note of Maia and Bambi facing one another, with Maia calmly staying in one spot. While we didn’t anticipate any aggression, we decided to watch how the interaction played out between the two of them, because of their past uncertainty with each other. The interaction between the two is slightly tentative at first, but it becomes a gentle act of reaching out and smelling one another. Both elephants stayed composed and eventually began to flap their ears and relax.
There are a couple of moments of stillness that could have been signs of Bambi trying to figure out Maia’s place in the herd. Bambi walks back for a moment and lifts her head slightly, which can be a small test of pecking order – but Maia isn’t interested and doesn’t feed into the situation. After that, the two stood side-by-side for a short while, putting their trunks in each other’s mouths and smelling each other before eventually walking away. Throughout the interaction, both remained peaceful and quite calm.
We haven’t witnessed this type of communication between the two of them before. It’s possible that they have been interacting more in the evenings when we don’t see them. But, based on what we’ve seen from the two of them in the past, this was a significant positive experience. They were both cautious and poised, but very gentle throughout the interaction.
Rana, largely unconcerned with the goings on below her, which is another good sign, has stopped by the water trough for a drink. As we attempt to film around her, you can hear her drinking throughout the video.