People have asked if Maia is around, and sometimes she is, and sometimes she’s not. All three elephants have access to the full habitat until night feed, so it’s their choice where they go when. This afternoon Maia and Ramba met up.
Ramba is in the foreground, and Maia is coming up from the other yard. You can see that Ramba is more than good with walking up to Maia to say hello. Both girls are fast when they walk, so Scott wants to make sure it’s just their normal speed versus a different intensity. He moves down the fence to get a closer look, and both girls are soft. Maia gently smelled Ramba for a bit, and then they leaned into each other’s head. Ramba was contentedly rumbling and scratching on Maia’s head. Up until this point, everything was soft, and then there was a little shift in Maia. At the very end, you can see her lift her trunk a little, and Scott stops recording.
So no one stresses, nothing went wrong; it was just a small shift. We have talked about how we often don’t look through the camera, which can sometimes lead to elephants shifting out of the screen. This is because we watch them directly looking for any small change so we can try to shift things before they do go in an unwanted direction. In this instance, Maia lifted her trunk to ‘eat’ Ramba’s head. This can be dominant or playful, but Maia’s soft eyes had hardened a touch.
Ramba was still fine with it, but then Maia started putting more weight on her, so Ramba walked out from under her, turned around, and gave Maia her backside. While she was standing like this, Ramba was sticking out her tail towards Maia, which, after a few seconds, seemed to annoy Maia, so she nudged Ramba. Ramba wasn’t thrilled, and they eventually walked away, although they remained close. Fairly non-eventful, but it lends to some of our theories on both of them.
Maia has been reluctant to open herself up to Rana since Guida’s passing. For those of you who don’t know, Maia and Guida were circus elephants together for 40 years and had a terrible relationship. They came to the sanctuary together, and that changed overnight. Their relationship flourished, and they became the best of friends. Guida passed a few months ago, and it has been hard on Maia. At first, there was a feeling of ‘You’re not Guida’ towards Rana. Maia just wanted nothing from her. That slowly shifted, and they have remained in each other’s orbits, but haven’t become close.
With Ramba’s first interaction with Maia, it seemed like she might have a soft spot for Maia. It’s sweet, but we weren’t sure what Maia was going to think of it. Maia has definitely shown more interest in Ramba than in Rana, and it appeared that she let her guard down and opened up at the beginning of the interaction on the video. But it was almost like she caught herself and shut down partway through.
As many of us know, after losing someone we are very close with, it can take some time before we are ready to have our hearts hurt again. Maia is an elephant who feels everything strongly, joy, love, and hurt. So we will take this as a positive baby step in Maia’s emotional recovery and keep an eye on what role Ramba decides she wants to play in it.
October 27, 2019
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