Maia has eyes that are uniquely expressive and show her excitement or curiosity in a dramatic and charming fashion. She often wants to know what is going on around her, but doesn’t always turn her head or her body, as other elephants might. Instead, she uses her eyes, moving them in a sideways fashion. It’s something she has always done and she is perhaps the only elephant we’ve ever worked with that does this in such a manner. Scott likens the eye movement to that of a chameleon.
She can move her eyes so adeptly that she can look pretty far backward. As a general rule, you don’t want to see the whites of an elephant’s eye, because they are usually only seen in times of extreme stress; Maia is simply keeping an inquisitive eye on us or anyone else that is around. Her eyes get really large, but they have never appeared to show any form of anxiety. It is just a behavior that is unique to her.
Because sanctuary life is calm and easy, there is little so-called excitement from outside sources. Rather, the elephants create their own excitement – which is how it should be. But Maia is sometimes entertained when workmen or caregivers are about, so she is happily watchful.
As you can see in this very short video, she glances backward as she is getting a drink from the hose – just checking to see the world around has to show her.
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SHEILA saysJuly 28, 2021 at 1:53 pm
OH YES MAIA ❤️🐘IS VERY UNIQUE! SHE LIKELY TAUGHT HERSELF THIS TECHNIQUE WHEN SHE WAS IN THE CIRCUS WATCHING FOR BULL HOOK👹 EVENT! SHE HAS ABSOLUTELY NO WORRIES FROM SANCTUARY. MEN! EXCEPT WHEN WORKMEN ARE THERE SHE COULD HEAR VOICES MAYBE SIMILAR TO 👹ABUSERS IN HER PAST, THESE LADIES WILL NEVER FORGET THOSE VOICES BECAUSE ELEPHANTS ALWAYS REMEMBER‼️ HER BIG FLAPPY EARS ARE UNIQUE ALSO! MAIA IS AN AMAZING LADY! IN SO MANY WAYS😍🐘❤️ SHES CERTAINLY WONDERFUL AND ITS NICE TO SEE HER HAPPY😍
Sara saysJuly 28, 2021 at 2:16 pm
We can’t be sure, but we don’t think this behavior developed out of trauma. Otherwise she would show stress when she looks back. She also appears to be curious about workmen but not fearful. But, you are right, Maia is an amazing Lady.
Sue saysJuly 28, 2021 at 2:56 pm
That is amazing, and the video was perfect showing how she does it! I love any videos of the girls when we can see their eyes 🥰 Thank you so much for all the stories and videos. They are so informative and interesting, and always serve to make me feel closer to Sanctuary. Thank you for all you do!!!! ❤️🐘❤️
Sara saysJuly 28, 2021 at 3:19 pm
Thank you! We love showing even the smallest moments that demonstrate their individual personalities.
Andrea saysJuly 28, 2021 at 9:39 pm
She’s wonderful and she sure can hold big mouthfuls of water! 😂
bo saysJuly 29, 2021 at 12:44 pm
always such a fun sight when the elephants decide to hose themselves a few liters of water!
love those eyes, so expressive, interesting info, as ever, thank you!
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Your ticket for the: Video: Maia’s Expressive Eyes
Video: Maia’s Expressive Eyes