African Habit Update – Another Step Closer to Welcoming New Residents

Fencing update: We are currently constructing the fencing for the female African habitat, which will allow us to begin rescuing Elephant Sanctuary Brazil’s first African elephants. We have already agreed to provide homes for three African elephants from Argentina – Kenya (Mendoza), Kuky, and Pupy (Buenos Aires).

This fencing project has hit numerous snags. There are material shortages due to COVID, and the most recent dry season was the most extended in recent history, meaning it was unsafe to weld. The wildfire that devastated much of our land also led to erosion, making it hazardous for concrete trucks to drive onto the property until roads were repaired. Construction is finally moving at a normal pace – which is to say it is speeding along.


We have brought on an outside team to work on building these fences. Initially, there was some hesitation with hiring an outside company to take on this project. Our maintenance team has learned the intricacies of plotting, aligning, and welding fences, but our group is too small (and busy) to complete this and everything else that needs to happen at the sanctuary on their own. In order to grow at the rate that is truly needed, additional help was a necessity.

Our detailed electrician Antonio, who we like and trust, offered to put together a team of subcontractors. We were reluctant to initially share the news until things moved forward a bit. Now that they’ve been working for a few weeks, we can say that both sides are happy with the arrangement. The team is friendly, hard-working, and detail oriented. If the quality of their work remains consistent, we hope to use the same team for Tamy’s fencing. The sanctuary’s maintenance team is still helping out where needed, doing the more specific, intricate work, such as gates and training walls.

The African barn and Yard 1 are finished! Like in the Asian habitat, the yards are adjacent so, with Yard 1 complete, the first fence of Yard 2 is complete as well. All the vertical posts are in the ground for Yard 2 (and therefore, the first fence of Yard 3). Some of the horizontal pieces are also welded on the side fence lines of Yard 2.

The most exciting news is that we can now begin the arduous permit process for the first African elephant to come to sanctuary. Once the next permit is approved, Mendoza can begin with permits on their end to bring Kenya to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. With the completion of the first three yards, the same process can begin for Kuky and Pupy as well. All three yards will be completed before Kenya’s arrival.

As many of you know, the process can be long, but the African elephants in Argentina are one step closer to a life of sanctuary!

The rebar structure pictured at the top is a trailer our team built to move the pipes up the hill.


  1. REPLY
    Greg Everett says

    Will the African elephants ever intermingle with the Asian elephants or will they always remain separate?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      No, they are a different species and it often causes conflict. So they will be kept separate.

  2. REPLY
    Carol says

    Wonderful progress for precious babies. Cannot wait to watch it all unfold!!!

  3. REPLY
    bo says

    … one step at a time, no matter how small or how long it might take…

    is it me or do all the seperate yards and fencing bars and gates begin to look more and more like some sort of maze, labyrinth? 😉
    how you can continue to overlook it all and not get lost, know which elephant is where, at what time, in which yard, is beyond my brain, makes me dizzy 🙂

    great news that it is going smoothly so that the African elephants can have their great place too, glad to hear everyone is able to find a perfect way to work together on this lovely project!

  4. REPLY
    Katherine says

    Great news?

  5. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    This is so exciting! It will be amazing to have Kenya, Kuky & Pupy there!

  6. REPLY
    Alana says

    You all never cease to amaze me at how you hold together all of this. Construction, current residences, future residents, paperwork, logistics & last but not least, keeping your extended family informed. Wish I could be there to help.
    It’s all so exciting!

  7. REPLY
    Tammy says

    YIPPEE! That’s wonderful news so great to see and hear all that is happening at the Sanctuary it is so worth the wait! So excited to see the finished new home for the African Elephants they will just love it especially with the loving team that will be helping them transition and wow what an amazing new change that will be it cant come soon enough! Thank you to everyone making these Elephants lives truly heaven on earth! Love and Hugs from Minnesota ?

  8. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    Brilliant! Fantastic news and, as always, working smart…I happen to be wearing my Air Ramba Rescue t-shirt today. She would approve ! ❤️?❤️

  9. REPLY
    Audrey says

    Wow! Extraordinary work. You should all be commended for your hard work in saving all elephants. ? ? ? Brava & Bravo

  10. REPLY
    Kenneth Newman says

    Congrats on your continued process of building these badly needed structures. As I have mentioned before, my own knowledge of the concrete industry gives me a lot of understanding of how difficult your work on the fences and barns for the future inhabitants…… will be fascinating when Kenya gets transferred to GSE……..and she has room to run a little, better ? food to eat, and lots MORE love…..

  11. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    Little by little things fall into place, thanks to a lot of efforts!!
    Sorry to hear about the erosion 🙁 hopefully the soil recovers..

  12. REPLY
    Andy says

    Wow! Fantastic. I am so looking forward to seeing African Eles at Sanctuary.

  13. REPLY
    Alice says

    This is wonderful news!! Thank you for giving this update.

  14. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    I am soooooooooooooooo excited. This is terrific news. I’m going to keep hope all continues in a good and speedy fashion.

  15. REPLY
    Carey says

    Incredible work and great to see so much progress with the African females section. Such a huge barn and masses of fencing. I like the metal worked SEB on your trailer too. Congratulations to everyone on this massive achievement!

  16. REPLY
    Julie says

    That is awesome news! Kenya has been a favorite of mine since I heard her story. SEB, I’m assuming, is Sanctuary for Elephants, Brazil?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      It was done by our maintenance staff, so it’s the Portuguese version, Santuário de Elefantes Brasil, Elephant Sanctuary Brazil.

  17. REPLY
    Sallie says

    Given the times, what an incredible and complicated expansion project! Looking good! But what a HUGE and admirable commitment GSE has made. Kenya, Kuky and Pupy will be thrilled to be with you all. Amazing progress, CONGRATS to you all! And Thank You, for adding to your beautiful and beloved family.

  18. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    Wonderful to hear the progress. It cannot be easy making these decisions and allowing new workers in to your trusted circle. Well done for all you do, it’s amazing and exciting to think you can start the process for permits now. Thank you for your amazing work for making this beautiful home for the eles ♥️?✨?

  19. REPLY
    Jen says

    Please make shirts that say: Sanctuário Elefantes Brazil! ?????
    Sooo hopeful with the structures update. Thank you!
    I’m hopeful too, knowing Tamy is still on the radar.

  20. REPLY
    Anita Janusz-Wong says

    Amazing news! You really know how to keep things quiet! And then such a huge, huge news…..massive amount of work has been done! So, so well done! Please keep us informed about each important progress in their migration…I am checking website religiously….:-) Thank you!

  21. REPLY
    Sunny says

    Good work ? I’m looking forward to seeing the last six elephants of Argentina at the SEB ?

  22. REPLY
    CincyJeff says

    So Mara won’t be able to interact with Pupy and Kuky? I know Mara had a conflict with one of them, but isn’t the hostility supposed to subside once at sanctuary?

    I saw in Tennessee that they just introduced the African Nosey to a couple of Asians (Tarra, was one and they all had TB at one time) through a fence.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Mara will not be able to interact with Pupy and Kuky. They will be up the hill and across the road, sharing a habitat with Kenya. Mara hadn’t been together with them for 15 years and, while at one time they did have a bond, Mara now has a strong bond with members of her own species. At times, conflict can be resolved, but that’s not always the case. When the Hawthorn elephants initially arrived in TN, there was still a tremendous amount of conflict between elephants, with Billy struggling significantly. Like Lady, some elephants have a difficult time overcoming fears and past hostilities.

      As for putting Africans and Asians together in general, we try to replicate as natural of a setting as possible, and the two species would not cross in the wild. Along with that, most facilities no longer keep the different species together because it often leads to conflict. African elephants are extremely reactionary, dramatic in their behaviors and communications, and much more physical than Asian elephants. What is play display behavior for an African elephant is a display of aggression for an Asian elephant. This can not only lead to issues with individual elephant comfort, but also physical altercations. Due to the difference in stature, strength, and female African elephants having tusks, physical altercations are very one-sided and often dangerous for the Asian elephants.

      Dulary came to the sanctuary in TN after being housed with African elephants. They got along for some time, until they didn’t. A fight broke out and Dulary almost lost an eye. After that, they remained separated and had to alternate who was able to spend time outside. Similar scenarios have played out repeatedly across facilities in the US, which is why it’s rarely practiced. If there was an already bonded pair of elephants that were cross-species, who were kept together and adored each other, that would be a different consideration. But that is not the case with Mara, Kuky, and Pupy. And for all of the reasons stated here and numerous others, it’s not something we would encourage otherwise.

      It’s a big question, with a lot of specifics, but I wanted to touch on some to hopefully give a broader understanding.

  23. REPLY
    Kenneth Newman says

    Thank you for that excellent information and to help your supporters to better understand ALL the issues between different elephant species…….

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