This morning, just after breakfast, we let Maia into yards 1, 2, and 3 with Mara and Rana. The video begins just after we opened the gate. For those that don’t know Maia, she’s a big girl with big energy who is sometimes lovingly referred to as a bulldozer. She’s not mean, she’s just not the most gentle of elephants. But if reminded, she knows to soften.
When Maia walked in, she came in at her normal speed but slowed down. She stopped for a moment, but then walked right through and away. A few moments later she did another pass. This time she tried to walk between Rana and Mara, who weren’t having it. When they didn’t let her join in that way, she walked away again. Maia went and got a drink, came back around, and walked on by.
Maia is very sensitive, she’s big in every way. We didn’t want her to feel rejected, so we brought her in and did a little tick check and eye washing. This allows her to get treats (she loves her food), feel a sense of accomplishment, and hold someone’s hand for a bit. It may sound silly, but it’s something she likes. She didn’t care for it in the past, but several months ago she decided she enjoys it. After her little session, Maia seemed a bit more relaxed.
The girls circled through each other’s orbits for a few hours, then all three ended up in yard one down by the mud wallow. Initially, Maia stayed at a distance, but slowly she approached Rana and Mara. This time, instead of trying to go between them, she turned and went in butt first. She stood for some time with her backside touching both Rana and Mara’s. After a bit, she turned to face them, touched along Mara’s back, and then stood by Rana’s side dusting.
They all did very well, it was nice and relaxed with just a few quiet Mara squeaks. After about 20 minutes, Maia walked away, in search of food. The yards remained open all day, with access to yard 5 as well. Right now, Maia is in yard 3, Rana and Mara were briefly in 5, but now look like they’re heading back into yard 1.
All in all, a good introduction for Maia who is essentially walking into a pair of elephants who already seem to share a deep bond. We are very proud of Maia for being patient, gentle, and not giving up.