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African Habitat Fence Update!

When we launched our #Fences4Kenya campaign, we were overwhelmed with gratitude when the money was quickly raised to build the first three yards of the African habitat. We immediately purchased the first load of steel piping for fences, and our team got to work.

Then, 2020 happened. Like the rest of the world, things this year didn’t go as planned. COVID hit, the cost of anything steel went up, and materials became harder to find. Our plans of bringing in an outside team to come here to weld were put on hold as we waited to learn more about the pandemic. We assessed how safe it would be to bring in a construction team from outside of our sanctuary bubble. During this time it became clear that for everyone’s safety, it wasn’t an option.

A few weeks later, our backhoe broke. It should’ve been a quick repair, but nothing is ‘normal’ right now. The only garage in this area that does this kind of work closed for over a month due to staff illness. COVID-related manufacturing delays then compounded things and it took months for the part to arrive once they were back in business. Our backhoe was repaired just as the dry season made the property dangerously dry, and we couldn’t weld due to extreme fire risk. Unfortunately, the dry season became the longest on record, and we ended up battling a wildfire that originated on someone else’s property. Once the rains finally began, we couldn’t immediately start working on fences again as we desperately needed our maintenance team working to repair infrastructure after the blaze.

We are thrilled to share, although a little scared to say it out loud, that we are back to working hard on Kenya’s fences again. One positive change that 2020 brought is they are no longer just fences for Kenya anymore. They are now Kenya, Kuky, & Pupy’s fences. ❤️ It’s a less catchy hashtag, but a tremendous change that will impact all three lives.

Yard 1 fencing is fully complete. We are now working on the second and third yards. Since they are attached, one side of each remaining yard will be completed before beginning it, which will cut down on construction time. All the steel we need to complete the habitat has been purchased and delivered, which is one less thing that can go wrong. After this past year, that brings a significant amount of comfort.

The video here is a little bit older – we filmed it for a fence update we were working on months ago. We ended up delaying the post but still wanted to share the video of steel posts going up. They are still going up in the same way, but we don’t have any recent videos of it to share. Right now we are in the ‘line laying’ and ‘hole spacing’ phase of construction, which doesn’t make for as nice of a video 😉 . We want to make sure everyone knows Scott filmed it before COVID, which is why our team isn’t wearing masks and the habitat looks different. Everyone here wears masks when they are working around other people or the elephants. ❤️

After everything the past few months, we don’t want to give an updated timeline on when the African habitat fences might be completed, but they are an important priority. We are dreaming and hoping that 2021 will go smoother for everyone in the world -including in our little sanctuary bubble.

Comments(22)

  1. REPLY
    Sallie says

    PRAYERS FOR 2021, for all of us and for Kenya, Kuky & Pupy, including all their friends, family, keepers, readers and supporters worldwide . . . We all need a break and major healing mentally & physically from this Covid . . . May Peace, Health and Calm be with each of you this Holiday Season.

  2. REPLY
    Roger Stevens says

    You are sending emails most days which I find tedious as they are mostly targeting elephant lovers who believe you are their saviour when they should be returned to wild to join a herd and use all their inbred skills at survival. How much land do they inhabit there and will you breed them to become a herd and ultimately return them to their natural home?
    Yours sincerely,
    Roger Stevens

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      It would be phenomenal if captive elephants could be returned to the wild, but the damage that happens in captivity is significant- both emotional and physical. Elephants like Lady wouldn’t last long in the wild due to the condition of her feet. We wish there was no need for us intervening in their medical care, but that’s not remotely the case. Sanctuary is second best to the wild, and it’s all we can offer them while still caring for the decades of damage that has been done by a captive life. We don’t breed elephants since that simply brings more elephants into the cycle of captive life, and that’s not something we want to perpetuate. Facilities generally don’t breed to release elephants to the wild, they breed because babies make money. Calves do bring a dynamic to the herd that nothing else can, but it leaves them stuck in a life that isn’t remotely equivalent to the wild. Do we wish it could be different? of course, but our wishes don’t change the reality of the scenario.

  3. REPLY
    Ercie says

    So when is the Fences4Tamy campaign going to happen. It worries me that poor Tamy will be left all alone when the other 3 leave, especially since you wrote that he does try to interact with daughter.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      There is a lot that needs to happen before Tamy can be brought to the sanctuary. P&G are first, then at least Kenya, if not Kuki and Pupi, and his habitat/barn is more expensive because of the additional row of steel needed for fencing of males. We need to keep the balance with caring for the elephants already here, preparing for those to come, and making sure they are all getting what they need instead of rushing into rescuing another elephant while not caring for the ones we have properly. We adore Tamy and want to get him here as soon as possible, but realistically it will be a while.

  4. REPLY
    Terry says

    You guys are, and always will be SIMPLY AMAZING!!!!

  5. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says

    Isn’t this EXCITING !!!

  6. REPLY
    Karen Bonadio says

    When I think I can’t be more amazed with the hard work and devotion of GSE / Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, I read more great news of the sanctuary’s expansion and building of new yards for elephants!
    Thank you so much for all your hard work, and love you have for Elephants that are in dire need of your glorious Sanctuary!! !

  7. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    Son un motor imparable Scott y Kat,💕💕‼️su fuerza animica y su voluntad de trabajo es contra toda adversidad y a favor de salvar vidas!!Atras venimos todos nosotros que los amamos ,los,admiramos y soplamos en conjunto a favor de las velas de su barco.Sera un 2021 que traera a las elefantas a su Libertad,seran Pocha & Guillermina por un lado y las africanas Kuky Pupy y Kenia‼️🙏❤y Dios quiera luego pueda ir Tamy el papa de Pupy.Que sea todo un sueño cumplido,que asi sea🐘💖💯‼️Gracias🙏💟

  8. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    Considering all that went on this year, I have to say, I am impressed you are as far along as you are. I still can see Kenya playing with her dirt pile at the zoo in my mind, from that video you all provided when raising the money. I can’t wait to see Kenya making her way to Sanctuary and arriving, may it be sooner than we all think. And, may Puky and Kuky be right behind her. All of that will be thanks to you guys, and the little bit of help we others can provide.

  9. REPLY
    Sallie says

    I LOVE ALL ELEPHANTS, ALONG WITH ALL STRUGGLING WILDLIFE. AND SUPPORT THEM AS I CAN. I AM AN NGO DIRECTOR IN KENYA WHO CARES ABOUT LOCAL MISUNDERSTANDING ABOUT RESPECT FOR WILDLIFE. BUT WE ARE AND HAVE BEEN SUPPORTIVE FIRSTLY FOR CREATING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES WITH COMMUNITY YOUTH WHO EXCELL AND ARE SUPPORTED BY US, IN SECONDARY EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES – PARTICULARLY YOUNG GIRLS WHO EXCEL – AS DO THE YOUNG MEN, WHO MAY NOT EXCEL SCHOLASTICALLY, BUT MAY PREFER TO HERD LIVESTOCK. I HAVE NO REGRETS FOR MY CHOICES. TO UNDERSTAND KENYAN TRIBAL LIFE IS TO UNDERSTAND THE PECKING ORDER FOR OPPORTUNITIES, BOTH FOR WILDLIFE AND FOR EDUCATION. THANK YOU GSE, ALONG WITH OTHERS, FOR ALL YOUR DEDICATION AND HARD WORK.

  10. REPLY
    SHEILA says

    WOW‼️WOW! WOW! AWESOME WONDERFUL INFO KAT👍 THANK U! OH SUCH GOOD NEWS. KENYA WILL HAVE FRIENDS!! OH THAT IS SO WONDERFUL!! I KNOW PUPI AND KUKI HAVE BEEN A PAIR WITH MARA FOR A LONG TIME THEN MARA (ASIAN) GOT SEPARATED! MOST IF ALL KENYA WILL NO LONGER BE ALONE EVER AGAIN!! THE 3 AFRICANS WILL HAVE A BIG YARD!!PERFECT!? SO EXCITING! 👍 5 MORE, OF ELEPHANTS TO LOOK FORWARD TO!!! 🙏. CANT WAIT UNTIL POCHA 🐘AND 🐘GUILLERMINNA ARRIVE! AT THE SAME TIME IM SAD DAD “TAMY” CANT COME TOO FOR SOME TIME!! OH I SURE CANT WAIT TO HEAR ABOUT ALL THE HAPPY LOVELY NEW LADIES COMING ! THE AFRICAN GROUP IS GOING TO BE VERY EXCITING👍 OH THIS NEWS IN FENCE BUILDING IS EXCELLENT, U FOLKS AND UR TEAM R WORKING VERY HARD FOR THESE ELEPHANTS ! I HOPE 🐘MADISEN WILL JOIN IN ALSO THAT WOULD BE VERY AWESOME!🙏

  11. REPLY
    SHEILA says

    KAT AND SCOTT,,‼️ WOULD GE EVER CONSIDER GIVING CASTRATION TO TAMY??? I HIMK THIS IS SOMETHING MANY ZOOS HAVE DONE AS MALES CAN BE HARD TO CONTROL! IM JUST THINKING IF THAT PROCESS WERE TO DONE TAMY COULD BE WITH HIS FAMILY POCHA AND GUILLERMINA. AND THERE WOULD NEVER BE A RISK OF AN MORE BABIES !! NOT SURE IF THIS IS A CONSIDERATION BUT WOULD LIKE TO HEAR WHAT YOUS THINK!
    THANKS !👏

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      We are looking into different methods of birth control to allow them to have time together. But it’s not just about reproduction, it is about how he treats all of the ladies. Their bodies are not in good shape so he must be a gentle boy in order to make it works.

  12. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    I shall continue to send wishes of hope and love for a better 2021 so that we can bring Kenya, Pupi and Kuki home….and praying for Tamy, too. Pocha and Guillermina will soon join the herd. I shall be the first to rejoice when their truck enters the sanctuary. We just have to be patient and it will happen.

  13. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    Thank you for the detailed update and letting us know the struggles and hurdles you’ve had in the construction of the new yards. It’s great to know you’ve been able to get back to the project and focus on this space again. Thank you for all you do 💜 Your updates are definitely not tedious, for us ele lovers who are keen to hear news from you they are amazing, informative, sensitive and intelligently written and I appreciate the time you spend to keep us all involved – I always look forward to them ❤️🌾🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🌱🌸

  14. REPLY
    Carey says

    Considering this nightmare year, you have done so well !! however I am worried about Tamy being left alone too.

  15. REPLY
    Sunny says

    I am worried about Tamy too. I am worried about how the moving out of Pocha and Guille could affect him. On the other hand, this is great news.

  16. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Roger Stevens – I’m pretty sure you can minimize emails or unsubscribe if you’re not interested in these updates and consider them “tedious”. It’s been such an uplifting family of elephant lovers here who can only imagine what it takes to care for elephants who were born in captivity or taken into captivity for human “entertainment” and after years of abuse or neglect, find a new life at sanctuary. Their life at sanctuary changes them so dramatically – both mind and body – that many of us GSE supporters (both Tennessee and Brazil) have become a family of sorts through tears, support, and consistent engagement. The care Scott, Kat, and their staff provides – along with the phenomenal education they take the time to write to their supporters – allows us to understand more of what taking care of these elephants entail due to their captive histories. It’s at once heartbreaking and uplifting. Heart breaks due to the reality of their pasts / spirit soars due to the reality of their new home. If you’re new to the forum and appreciate the education already provided to you – welcome. It’s a rare thing to find a forum that remains positive regardless of inquiry or comment so my defense of this particular forum is, well…determined. A nod and a smile your way.

  17. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Roger, I care very much for all living beings and want them to to survive in their natural habitats. Animals who have been abused by Man to such an extent that these magnificent elephants have can never be released into the wild. I am not “targeted” by GSB. I have chosen to walk with them to help these sentient beings live out their lives in peace and without fear. They are old and broken but we can improve their lives. They can form friendships.
    Please read through the blogs and history of the elephants at GSB and of those in waiting. Each life is precious, they are not here for entertainment. GSE is not a zoo.

  18. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    Roger, does not the fact that no visitors are allowed to wander this Sanctuary and treat the elephants as something to be gawked at? We, as supporters, would love to visit but always the elephants come first. We support this sanctuary so that these elephant can at least have a taste of better health, companionship and freedom to do what THEY want and whenever they want. These elephants have never known family life and this is the best thing that we human can do now is to support this sanctuary as much as we can. As an aside, all these elephants are too old to breed and if any were young enough to produce a baby, what a life that poor baby would have as he or she would outlive all the other elephants. I know they breed elephants in zoos, and what happens to them? They are taken the from their mothers to go and live in other zoos.

  19. REPLY
    Claudia says

    GSE, thank you so much for these updates. They are so uplifting. ♥

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