Video: Maia Spends Time Near the Three at Dinner

Around dinner time last week, Mara, Bambi, and Rana showed up at the barn for their evening meal. Mara was let into the chute, as she generally requests, and the other two were given hay along the fence. 

Around the same time, Maia ended up coming into the same yard, near the mud wallow. She was giving herself a mud bath and seemed fairly relaxed. Though Maia stayed on the end of the mud wallow that was farther from the other elephants, her body language did not appear tense. She was not wide-eyed or overly watchful of the ladies nearby, seeming to be enjoying herself in a laid back manner. Maia did not run away, as she had in the past, but actually inched a bit closer to them for a moment. 

She did eventually leave the mud wallow and walk to a neighboring fence, where she rested her head for a bit. She stayed there until Shirlei fed her, not too far away from where she’d settled. We didn’t want to take Maia away from her spot close to the others, as long as she seemed comfortable. This allows her to choose to be social if she wants. We don’t force interactions between elephants, but we definitely do encourage them. So Maia ate her dinner very near the three others. 

It was nice to see Maia taking another step toward expanding her comfort zone. While she is not currently interested in eating at the barn, she seems calmer and more relaxed than she has been in quite some time. 

In the accompanying video from our observation camera, Maia is calmly enjoying some time in the mud, while Bambi and Rana eat along the fence. At the end of the video, you can see Mara eating her dinner in the chute. 


  1. REPLY
    Melinda Barnett says

    God bless your efforts to help these wonderful beings. It’s so tragic that an elephant, who is normally highly social, would avoid other elephants due to abuse s/he has suffered from humans.

  2. REPLY
    Alana says

    Great video, I could watch the girls all day. Is it Spring there? Beautiful Pink flowers on that big tree.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      For some reason the trees always seem to bloom at the end of the dry season – perhaps in preparation for the rain (which sometimes doesn’t come). I believe the tree your talking about is a lapacho tree.

  3. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Love seeing the girls and that’s pretty tree with the pink flowers on it🌸

  4. REPLY
    Julie says

    This is beautiful. Maia does seem relaxed when moving a little toward the other girls, even stretching her trunk out a little, for smelling? By the way, can I ask what kind of flowering trees are shown when panning the camera? The ones with the blossoms, are they cherry trees?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      I believe they are lapacho trees.

  5. REPLY
    John says

    Thanks for posting. I love all your videos. Sometimes you give us a view of one of the girls, and it really hits me how BIG they are. Such amazing creatures. I’m so grateful I found the sanctuary last year. Carry on! Cheers!

  6. REPLY
    Gayle says

    Aw Maia, I can relate! I’m not very sociable either, but over the years I’ve managed to find a few good friends, so hope the same for you. Being alone is great, but having a good friend to chat with, is good for the soul. You’re getting there! ❤️

  7. REPLY
    Carey says

    How relaxed and calm Maia looks now, hard to believe that the zoo said she was aggressive

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Maia put someone in the hospital for months. And any time she would get off of her chains she would beat up on Guida, knock her down, hit her while down. She was aggressive, but it was only due to her surroundings and treatment. It’s not who she was, but how she learned to cope. She was very much of the mindset of I will hurt you before you hurt me. We’ve seen it in other elephants before. Once they feel safe, it diminishes. Thankfully, for her, it went away very quickly.

  8. REPLY
    Charlotte Hansen says

    There is something so endearing about an elephant’s great big feet and cute butt. I love this time spent with Maia!

  9. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says

    I loved how slowly they were eating, walking, standing, and just how lucky they are to be in your Sanctuary. I really enjoyed seeing her crossing her back leg a couple times while moving away from the mud hole. That was funny to me.

  10. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    I see peace, solitude and comfort in this video. Maia may never overcome her fear of closeness with her sisters, but oh my how far she has come. The beautiful thing is that is IS HER CHOICE,

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