Maia Says “No Passing Allowed”!

These days, you can see Maia evolving back into the spunky elephant she once was – perhaps just a bit wiser. She has become a regular part of the elephant herd, not always tentative and on the outside as she once was. 

We often see her spending time with Pocha and Guillermina, sometimes in leadership mode, though Guillermina doesn’t always pay attention when others are attempting to take charge. That seemed to be the case one afternoon when she was leading Guille and Pocha in a line along the fence. Guillermina really wanted to walk ahead of Maia, but Maia indicated several times that there was to be no passing. Besides, because of the bushes around them, there really was no space to pass, unless Guille was going to bump into Maia. 

Guillermina got impatient a couple of times, which caused Maia to turn around and give her the elephant equivalent of “knock it off.” Of course, Guillermina doesn’t take well to authority and went racing through the bushes anyway; Maia cut her off and did a loud vocalization, the likes of which we’d never heard before from her, then bumped Guille in the head as a warning. Guillermina took a step back and followed Maia for a bit longer, giving her some space for a few minutes before looking for another opportunity to pass. 

Eventually, Guille got her way and found a small, open area and walked past Maia at a quick pace. Maia then slowed down and walked with Pocha at a more leisurely pace. Once again, Guillermina is showing her childlike side and beginning to test the patience of her elders. Nevertheless, she seems not to pay any mind and continues to play on in her own way. 

Photo of Guille peeking out of the bushes


  1. REPLY
    Melinda says

    GiGi doesn’t understand the concept of NO, but she’s gonna have to learn, lol! I’m sure Pocha is happy for Maia’s help!

  2. REPLY
    Katherine says

    Troublesome daughter!

  3. REPLY
    Kenneth B. Newman says

    Well, Guille has MORE energy as a younger elephant. Frankly, its time for GSE to reconsider their policy of NOT having any potential breeding and to bring a male elephant of similar age to GSE so Guille can have some male companionship. Its bad enough that Tamy NOW is alone, with NO date yet announced for his rescue and bringing him to his FOREVER home, and to his wife and daughter. Even if all of Tamy’s yards are NOT finished, the current finished male Asian yards would be far better for his life and home than the current state of his home at Ecoparque Mendoza………… MORE Asian male elephants ARE needed for GSE than just Tamy, and if there are some Asian male elephants in various zoos or other situations across South America, they should be given the opportunity to live their lives with female companionship.

    I also would like know if planting some apple trees, other trees/ plants with fruit that elephants eat, would be a good way of providing some home grown food and maybe save GSE some money. While it might take a few years to get the fruit off of young trees, in the long term, it could save some money.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We explained our policy on breeding and certainly will not be reconsidering. We would lose our accreditation if we were to do such a thing. We don’t know when more Asian male elephants will be in need of sanctuary. That is not something we have control over. If the opportunity arises and things work out, we will be thrilled to have another male to be with Tamy. And we do have fruit trees that feed our sheep and goats. They eat what falls from the trees. However, we it would not produce nearly enough to fill the need we have. Additionally, we don’t have the manpower to maintain or to pick fruit for animals in that large of quantity.

  4. REPLY
    Deb says

    This made me laugh out Loud!!
    The author of this post has real comedic talent !
    Love you all & the girls 💕😍

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thanks so much!

  5. REPLY
    Julie says

    Elephant relationship problems appear to be very similar to people relationship problems. I guess it is just a blessing the ESB Ellies have the opportunity to be with other Ellies and have these things to deal with. Even the best life is full of problems to be dealt with.

  6. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Wow, I’m surprised Guille didnt get the message and heed Maias authority signs hopefully things should sink in for her soon so next time she will easily follow direction it’s so new for them all….kids these days I tell you ☺️

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Like most teenagers, it will probably take a few lessons for things to sink in.

  7. REPLY
    Wim says

    Good teaching Miss Maia. There must be some order in the herd.

  8. REPLY
    NANCY LOGAN says

    Kenneth B Newman sounds like you have all the answers to open your own sanctuary. Nothing like telling someone else how to run their business.

  9. REPLY
    John says

    Nancy, I couldn’t have said it better. I am in awe of what a great job the GSE is doing.

  10. REPLY
    Jenny says

    I’m sooo glad to see Miss Maia’s spunk and sass return, That brought tears to my eyes and made my whole day! I’m also proud of the patience she shows Guilli. She has shown a lot of growth. Bravery too, brave enough to take the time she needed to be with herself and learn who she was without Guida. Then brave enough to come back out of herself and allow herself to be vulnerable with the whole crew who arrived while she was figuring things out. I really enjoy hearing about her and Guilli interactions, the younger one who doesn’t believe in the word No, and Maia whose sure she’s still the fastest girl in town. Of course she’s supposed to be in the lead.

  11. REPLY
    Pam says

    Is this fairly common behavior for an elephant of Guillermina’s age? Or is it primarily due to the conditions of her upbringing, with Pocha being lenient of her behaviors and not having other herd members to help in raising her? Thanks for your insights.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s likely a bit of both. She’s in prime “teenage” years, as far as behavior is concerned. But, yes, some of her more aggressive behaviors may have resulted from Pocha’s leniency in such extreme captivity.

  12. REPLY
    Carmen Dalziel says

    Oh how I wish you had video of this discipline to show us! I am so happy for Maia to be getting her spunk back! Perhaps it’s because there’s a youngin involved. Was Maia ever a Nanny in her previous life? Maybe she’s taking on that role? I’m sure Pocha is happy for the help with her undisciplined teen 🐘😍

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We don’t know if Maia has ever been around young elephants before, but she seems intrigued by this young, spunky girl.

  13. REPLY
    Jane says

    I agree you are doing a wonderful job managing this Sanctuary. I would say you are doing “God’s Work”. And thank you for these blogs. They are more important to some of our lives than you know. We love these girls from afar. The blogs are an island of hope as we’ve been bombarded by so much negativity on the world stage. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you for such kind words. And thank you for following!

  14. REPLY
    Lynne Russert says

    Kids will be kids! 😂 She’s testing authority!

  15. REPLY
    Laura says

    I think Maia is enriched by Guille’s presence. Like in the wild, it is normal to have elephants of different ages interacting. And, Lady likes these the newcomers too! Just a marvelous development for all. Thank you for sharing!!

  16. REPLY
    Carey says


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