April, 2018 Visit to Pelusa: Part I

Pelusa at La Plata ZooApril, 2018 Visit to Pelusa: Part I. Thanks to everyone for being patient in regards to days without posts and Pelusa updates. Five days is truly not a lot of time to observe, assess, change routines, reassess and get a caregiver set up for the next couple of months. I always think I’m going to have time, but with only a few days, I try to be as present as possible and make every moment count. Being back home with two healthy elephants allows much more free time, so let’s get caught up.

Where to start?

Pelusa’s condition was pretty much what we expected. With all of the updates and communications, we knew she had lost more weight and that she was having a blowout on her back left foot, so nothing we saw was really surprising. Superficially, it’s somewhat difficult to look at her skeletal figure and not feel bad that her weight continues to decline. There’s not a lot left for her to lose. Her feet are fairly terrible, but from working with other elephants that had horrendous feet, there is a certain perspective that can be attained. But our biggest task ends up being compartmentalizing everything we have to do there. We take the time to look at her clinically and then put that aside for the day and try only to see her as an entire being- embracing her spirit and personality so she isn’t defined by her feet and how skinny she is.

We have said before that Pelusa adores her caregivers, and we mention that because right now they are the joy in her day. It’s not enough for an elephant, and all of the caregivers know that, but it’s what keeps her going. She has them very well trained to dote on her when she requests, pulling her leaves off of branches for her, scratching her down with the broom, singing to her and simply loving on her. It gives her strength and honestly it’s charming to watch. But these same caregivers all want to see Pelusa go to Brazil because they know the zoo is no place for her. Even though many have worked with/for her for about a decade, selflessly they want her to have what elephants need- space, nature, a herd, autonomy: sanctuary.

A main reason for Suz to stay with Pelusa and care for her is simple. She can spend the entire day with Pelusa, watching and adjusting her care, every few hours on certain days. Suz plays a support role both for Pelusa and her current caregivers. It will take everyone working together: Suz, her caregivers, the veterinary staff, management, politicians and us from Brazil, to get her to sanctuary. The cautiously good news is, we believe, if everyone continues to work the way they did this past week, that improvement in her condition is possible.

We are going to spread out her posts over the next week since there is a lot to share and because (as anyone who follows us knows) we’re not fantastic at limiting words. If you have questions not answered in this post, please try to wait for the next ones. Her care and status is complex and we want to help everyone understand as best we can. We look forward to sharing more.


April, 2018 Visit to Pelusa Series:

Part I Where To Start

Part II Developing A Plan

Part III Thoughts From Her New Caregiver Suz

Part IV What Pelusa Needs And How You Can Help Give It To Her

Part V This Is Pelusa


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