Sanctuary Memories: Scott Catches a Special Moment From Above

Guida and MaiaA while back, Kat shared a memory of the first time she saw Maia stand over Guida up close  when Guida was asleep. Today, Scott shares his sanctuary memory of the first time he saw this behavior, through from a different perspective – literally.

When Elephant Sanctuary Brazil first got it’s drone (lovingly called Wall-E), Scott decided to test it out by flying over the valley and down into the habitat. Maia and Guida were the only elephants at sanctuary in those days and, as Scott says, “We had been watching their relationship evolve over time and then become lighter and softer, and much more social and connected.”

But, even though you see those signs, you never really witness intimate moments between them when they are first becoming comfortable with those emotions. Though he couldn’t tell which elephant was lying down from such a high distance, he saw one of the two lying down and the other standing over top, as a protective gesture. “It was really a moment of realizing how far they’d really come,” he remembers. “When you are around elephants up close, you often observe behaviors that indicate a degree of intimacy, but when you see something like that, it really punctuates that they are truly a bonded pair.” Only elephants that are true friends exhibit that type of behavior. “This is a very protective, very nurturing thing to do, so you know that elephants have a very dear friendship when you see that,” Scott said. 

With this being Scott’s first time to really see these behaviors from afar, he knew he’d witnessed a really profound moment in their relationship. It punctuated how far that friendship had come in the time they’d spent together since they arrived at sanctuary. These are the moments that reinforce what sanctuary is all about. 

This photo shows a moment when Guida was experiencing some digestive issues. If she experienced incidents of gas that bothered her, she would sometimes lie down. Most times, when Guida would do this, Maia rushed over to stand in protection of Guida. Guida would rarely let us get this close when she wasn’t feeling well, so it’s unusual that we have a photo of a moment like this. It just shows the depth of their friendship and dedication to one another. 


  1. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Reminds me of Shirley & Jenny at TES. Amazing how they protect and love each other. They are all nothing less than amazing. Beautiful intelligent lovely beings show us how we could take a page out of their book and learm from them.

  2. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    Oh!!! Maia and Guida! Such a special pair. I so hope Maia becomes best friends with another elephant at Sanctuary. ❤️

  3. REPLY
    Wim says

    Maia the sentient bodyguard presenting the mirror of compassion.

  4. REPLY
    Carey says

    A lovely memory

  5. REPLY
    Julie says

    I love this post and pic. Thank you!

  6. REPLY
    Bridget Long says

    Such a beautiful moment and so thankful Sanctuary allows them to experience them. Brings tears of happiness to me.

  7. REPLY
    Deb says

    That’s such a beautiful story!

  8. REPLY
    JamesMichael says


  9. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Lovely, loving girls. I miss you, Guida, but all of you are always in my heart, whether on this plane or the next. Pocha and Guillermina, you two stay on my mind, too! Prayers and love to everyone, every day.

  10. REPLY
    Tracy H says

    What a beautiful memory of 2 very special friends. Miss Guida so so much. Can’t wait for other Eles to arrive and experience love like this with the other girls. 🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘
    Thanks for sharing such a sweet intimate moment. Just beautiful

  11. REPLY
    Angie Gibson says

    Seeing this beautiful photo of Maia and Guida brings up so many heart melting memories —and yes, can’t help but remember the touching friendship between Shirley and Jenny. Love in its purest form: I am here for you; you are not alone; you can rest now and I will protect you. Stay strong and brave Maia….you didn’t ask to be, but you are an example of courage! Hope you feel all the love coming your way❤️

  12. REPLY
    Tracy says

    A really beautiful photo and story. Once again thank you so much. ❤️

  13. REPLY
    Lynne Gee says

    Beautiful – I look forward to future elements.

Post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.