Maia and the Three At the Pond

On a recent day, Maia, Bambi, Mara, and Rana were all in Yard 5. Maia was sleeping by the pond – a favorite activity of hers – and the other three girls came by, which woke her up. She walked away from them, but didn’t go far. 

About an hour or so later, Shirlei was driving by to do an afternoon visual check-in and saw Maia on one side of the pond, just splashing away, and the other girls standing on the other side of the pond, watching her a bit. Shirlei of course did exactly what a person is supposed to do in a situation like that: she drove away. Sometimes human presence influences their behaviors, so she wanted to let the interaction with the four unfold naturally. So, we aren’t sure exactly what the four of them did after that, but it’s clear that the group is navigating their way into a comfort zone.

Photo of Maia


  1. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says


  2. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    It’s not a naturally formed herd, after all. And despite our desires for them all to be one big happy herd, they each have long and mostly sorrowful lifetimes behind them, mostly alone. Just like people, I think they need to get comfortable in their own skin – learn how to “elephant” first, and then maybe the desire to be more social kicks in. I’m so proud of these girls for being brave enough to believe that their lives hav truly changed and begin to bond! ❤️
    And of course, so proud of GSE for letting all this happen on elephant time! Thank you 🤗

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It is definitely a process for each individual. Just as Bambi is continually learning what behaviors are appropriate at what times, Maia is exploring what is means to be vulnerable around other elephants. Much like what you say, she’s learning who she is and trying to put aside her natural defense mechanism – something she relied on for decades to survive. It is very nice to see how they are all beginning to shift their perspectives.

  3. REPLY
    Barb says

    I can imagine what the girls did after Shirlei drove away. Can’t you? Party time :o)

  4. REPLY
    NicoleP says

    I would not be a good candidate for working at an elephant sanctuary…..I’d stop, watch, listen, record, interact! So much control with Shirlei to not act like me!! Note to self love and adore from afar.

  5. REPLY
    Carey says

    Great news, thanks

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