Female Asian Elephant
ELEPHANT IN NEED
This is Maison, she is currently living at Zoo at Ribeirão Preto, where Bambi once was housed.
Maison was confiscated from the circus and given to the city, where they developed an enclosure for her. She is an interesting elephant. Before meeting her, the staff at the zoo talked about what a good elephant she was, but what we saw had us forming our own opinions. She was compliant, but demanding, and had a look in her eyes that was not relaxed; she was somewhat on edge.
The staff was open to talking with us about Maison’s care and, at one point we started talking about the qualities we saw in her; even if a facility was to completely disregard our opinion, for our own conscience, we have to let them know our concerns. We talked about her intensity and how we interpreted some of her behaviors, and her keepers thought what we were saying helped make sense of some of her past behaviors. The “good elephant”/”bad elephant” labels are really a hard thing for us to accept. So many elephants come with labels from their past that don’t remotely represent who they truly are. But, even beyond that, those labels create a false sense of how someone should operate around that elephant, because of who the keepers think they are.
By no means is Maison a “bad elephant,” but some adjustments should be made to ensure those dealing with her remain safe and bad behavior isn’t encouraged.