On a recent morning, Scott had woken earlier than usual – just as a gorgeous, orange-pink sun was beginning to crest over the horizon. (He and Kat’s house, “The Treehouse,” is ideal for watching sunrises.) It took a few minutes for the light to shine down into the valley but, when it did, he saw Maia grazing in the pasture.
With Ingo at sanctuary, there have been many discussions lately about autonomy and that having what we call “fences of freedom” creates massive amounts of safe space for elephants to roam at all times of the day and night. Ingo recently made the point that this is the first sanctuary he’s worked at where elephants are left to make their own decisions at night, rather than have their time outside dictated by humans.
It is almost never the norm for captive elephants to be able to roam freely at night. Most zoos have schedules for times when animals are inside and outside; other sanctuaries around the world might bring elephants in at night for security restrictions or other reasons, unable to allow them to wander the habitat, under the moonlight, when the rest of the world quiets down and a whole other natural world wakes up. When you zoom out to look at the big picture, so many captive animal schedules are loosely based on the human work time clock.
But here, at first light, Scott saw Maia grazing in the pasture, and it truly punctuated the type of mind shift that elephants experience when they have autonomy over something as simple as their own time; there will not be any time clock for them to adhere to. When no one is around, the elephants can do what they want; that is profound, impactful and, unfortunately, rare.
This photo of Lady was actually taken at sunset, but she is headed off to an evening of freedom.
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Tracy H saysMarch 17, 2022 at 3:11 pm
Both sunset and Maia are absolutely stunning! Sanctuary has changed their lives forever!
Rachel saysMarch 17, 2022 at 4:14 pm
Beautiful – and a perfect reminder of the true meaning of freedom for these now fortunate elephants. Soooo very grateful to be able to pause and read posts like these in these heartbreaking days of war…
Carey saysMarch 17, 2022 at 4:54 pm
When we know that elephants are so active in the cool of the night in the wild, this is a great thing for them, I’m so glad you are able to allow them this freedom
Katie Howard saysMarch 17, 2022 at 4:58 pm
This photo truly encapsulates the autonomy the elephants have in possibly one of the most splendiforous places on our planet! Thank you so much for sharing. ❤️
Suzanne Eaton saysMarch 17, 2022 at 6:30 pm
The bells of FREEDOM ring at GSE.
So much love for our sentient beings.
Thank you for sharing.
Angie Gibson saysMarch 17, 2022 at 6:38 pm
As it should be…she is free and safe. Even better than the wild regarding current key issues worldwide: Protected from poachers, human-ellie conflicts, overdevelopment . I wish this for all animals! Maia is captivating in this beautiful sunrise shot❤️🐘❤️ This sanctuary is such an incredible blessing —here’s to never-ending spectacular sunrises and sunsets over GSB🙏
Tammy saysMarch 17, 2022 at 9:40 pm
Wow, very nice that’s a gorgeous picture and one that has to be in next years calendar for sure! 💗🐘💞
Wim saysMarch 18, 2022 at 3:11 am
Totally perfect nothing can beat nature.
Barb saysMarch 18, 2022 at 12:58 pm
“Special effects” sky just for marvelous Maia!
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Maia at Sunrise: A Symbolic Silhouette