Lady has been showing interest in spending time in Yard 3, which has grass that she enjoys snacking on. So, to give her a change of scenery, we opened up all of the small yards for her to explore for a day or so. In the meantime, we gave Maia access to Yard 5, where Lady usually hangs out. Maia seemed to be wanting some time to herself, as she occasionally does. We try to listen to and respect what the elephants appear to be communicating, so we offered her a yard to herself. She immediately started to wander the area she hadn’t spent time in lately.
Maia was in Yard 5 for about a day when she seemed to want to roam back into Yard 4 with the other ladies. We were a little surprised to see this, as she often seeks more time to herself. However, she seemed excited to return to the other girls and, in return, they showed enthusiasm when Maia appeared again.
Bambi was attached to Maia all morning, even though Maia had just been in the neighboring yard for a day. Caregiver Shirlei heard lots of rumbling and trumpeting from Bambi, who was in close proximity to only Maia; no other elephants were around. So it seemed that Bambi was especially excited to see Maia again after her short excursion.
It’s lovely to witness how these bonds among the elephants are developing and deepening. You might not always find them standing side by side, but friendships appear to be strengthening. Even if the ladies are spending time in close proximity to one another and not in a close group, they enjoy the companionship and, clearly, celebrate the return of a “missing” friend.
Photo of Maia back in Yard 4