The Many Facets of Maia


Maia is continuing to temper her energy around the other elephants, but that seems to leave her with extra energy. She’s been making us laugh during treatment due to her high energy levels. She doesn’t have a little bit of additional energy – she has lots and lots of extra energy during treatment.

Maia is one of our most consistent elephants when it comes to treatment. She’s excellent about participating and listening, but it’s juxtaposed with her “big and fast” personality. It tends to confuse new caregivers. When they observe her treatment, they see her moving quickly and intensely. What they can’t always see from an observation distance is that she is also gentle and passive. As one of our newer caregivers, Mateus, is still observing, which means he frequently watches other members of the team doing treatment, sometimes by themselves.

When we do treatment in pairs, one person stays near the elephant’s trunk, giving out treats as needed, and the other person does the treatment. When one person is doing it alone, we have the elephant wrap their trunk around the bars in a trunk wrap during treatment, or we hold their trunk in our hands if we are by their face. This day, as Mateus watched, Maia didn’t want to leave her nose in the correct position, she wished to touch Scott instead. As Scott did Maia’s treatment, she touched her trunk to Scott’s upper legs instead of the bars. She wasn’t inquisitive or pushy; she just rested her trunk against him. It was sweet and gentle at the same time.

Initially, when we shifted training style from “free feed” to “terminal bridging” (feeding throughout versus a bigger reward when the behavior is done), Maia didn’t seem to enjoy having to put her trunk in someone’s hand. Now she appears to like the intimacy that comes with trunk/hand-holding.

Her personality is a dichotomy in that way- she has a significant and fast presence but somehow also sweet and gentle. It’s something that comes with time and trust, and you have to earn this with her.

August 21, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Andy says

    Beautiful moments with a beautiful Elephant who has been through hell and through sanctuary has found herself enough to be her true self once more. Amazing!!

  2. REPLY
    bo says

    Learning to read the body language from each individual elephant, each little movement, and also the sound language, it must be very difficult, esp in the beginning but also so very very rewarding when you feel you seem to earn their trust knowing all the love, patience, effort is having the effect you all were hoping for from the first moment you meet the elephant. And same goes for the elephants, trying to understand the caretakers.
    I’m quite sure the elephants know by now that the caretakers are all about loving and caring.
    Oh, and not to forget, treats! 🙂
    But most importantly: love!

  3. REPLY
    Nishant Bhajaria says

    She is so sweet.

  4. REPLY
    Wim says

    First thing beautiful picture of Maia elegant pose. Must be hard to follow Marathon Maia.
    Great story again l suppose she’s got a crush on someone, oh boy! ???

  5. REPLY
    Alejandra(Sandy)Enquin says

    Cada comentario sobre Maia me hace amarla mas y mas!! Es maravillosa su personalidad !y su inteligencia.Me emociona como adora a Scott‼️?…y Mara ,? Hace mucho que no leo sobre ella y es mi corazon de melon Dulce?

  6. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Beautiful Maia.

  7. REPLY
    Sheila says

    Oh maia!?u r craving love from scott‼️well u have known him the longest so thats quite natural‼️ it great news my dear u have such energy and enthusiasm for treatment dear maia…..I think its human contact u have learned to love the most‼️these sanctuary humans love u too ❤️? a d want u to be happy! So if u r happy dear everyone is happy‼️?

  8. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    These posts reinforce how much all the amazing caregivers know and understand these ellies. I feel blessed that I found you when the sanctuary was still a dream and followed you all the way to it becoming a reality. I have listened each day to how this has evolved into a place of peace and growth and nurturing, love and patience, where all the animals who are blessed to reside there are given time and space to find themselves and heal.
    Bless you, Kat and Scott and Shirlei and Mateus and all you wonderful carers. You are all so special.

  9. REPLY
    Julia Mercedes Eden says

    A truly heartwarming trunk tail about wonderful Maia. Never ceasing to amaze ❤️??????

  10. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman Eaton says

    Beautiful Maia!❤️?. She has proven she is beautiful inside and out. I think her heart belongs to Scott!♥️♥️

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