Bambi – The Earliest Days of Our Journey Together

In honor of Bambi’s one-year “re-birthday” here at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, we wanted to share a bit of her story and celebrate how meaningful her journey has been. From the first moment we saw Bambi, we knew she was special and unique – and she has proven to be all of that and more. 

You may not know this, but Scott and Kat met Bambi on their first trip to South America, when they were trying to determine the feasibility of opening a sanctuary here. They were encouraged by Joyce Poole and Petter Granli of ElephantVoices to make a trip to Brazil and study whether there was sufficient need for a sanctuary. Of course, they learned immediately that, not only was it feasible to open a sanctuary here, but there was a great need. While, in the US, there are a number of sanctuaries available to work with elephants in need, here in South America, it was obvious that a sanctuary could have a significant impact on captive elephants, and very quickly.

Bambi lived at the Leme Zoo when Kat and Scott saw her on their visit back in 2013. They did not yet have property to build on, yet alone a functioning sanctuary – but Bambi’s caregivers asked if they could take her right away. The zoo took Bambi in after she was confiscated from a circus and her caregivers wanted the best life for her, but knew the zoo didn’t have the appropriate space and wasn’t capable of providing the care that she needed. Bambi was bright-eyed, charming, and even a little chubby. So, while the wonderful, late Ramba was a big part of the decision making process of founding GSE, Bambi played a role in that, too. 

Eventually, Bambi was moved to Ribeirão Preto in São Paulo and, when we visited her there, she was a completely different elephant – underweight, insecure, and fearful of the other elephant she shared space with, Maison. She also had layers of dry skin that needed to be attended to. Because of her declining physical condition, a judge ruled that she should be transported to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. Some of you may remember that, when Scott arrived in São Paulo, Bambi had some difficulties trusting what was going on around her and became overwhelmed during the process. Our team waited and worked with her for a number of days until she eventually seemed confident enough to go. 

Once here, she exited her transport crate more quickly than any elephant in Brazil so far. As we have seen happen time and again, Bambi began to discover her true self once she arrived at the sanctuary. While she had a bit to learn about being an elephant, watching her transform into a healthy girl with strong friendships exemplifies exactly how sanctuary can change and save lives. 

This video shows Bambi’s first bath here at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. The moment was the beginning of a metamorphosis that we’ve been honored to be part of.


  1. REPLY
    Susan Flewelling says

    Quite the multitasking pro! She is loving ❤ every moment.

  2. REPLY
    Patricia says

    I had a typical Monday morning with irritating tasks to be done. Then I saw this, and my crankiness turned to a smile. Thank you, Bambi and all the girls, and Scott and Kat and all the humans at ESB for adding more to my life than you can ever know.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We are so glad that we could add a bit of happiness to your day.

  3. REPLY
    John says

    I first came across the sanctuary when you were preparing to take Bambi, and I’m so happy I did. GSE is an island of joy in a mad, mad world! Thank you, thank you for what you do!

  4. REPLY
    Carol says

    Pure joy! Precious Bambi🥰💝💐

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    Bobi StaySee says

    Pure joy. Happy anniversary, dear sweet Bambi-who-loves-the-water, and the freedom to exfoliate to her heart’s delight. Beautiful girl. Transformative. Love.

  6. REPLY
    Mollie Mangerich says

    Wow! thank you for the detailed story of Bambi! And to know she was so thin and cautious and blind in one eye! I can’t help but reflect on my MOST FAVORITE VIDEO – of Bambi and her sisters playing and so excited with the rain, playing in the water, circling the tree, lots of vocalizations that, to me were celebratory and silly-fun expressions of being free to be herself w/her sisters! I just love that video – makes my heart swell 🙂 Thanks for all you do !

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you. It’s a joy to watch them just being free and living life exactly as they want.

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    jj in skiddy says

    Heartbreaking what mankind has done to these beauties yet there are good people still who care enough…..Brings tears to your eyes seeing the sheer joy of kindness …..thank you for being a kind human…..

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    Julie says

    Thank you for this celebration reminder! So much to celebrate with this one, Bambi! She has embraced sanctuary like few others, and we love her here in my home.

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    Debbie Sides says

    I loved seeing her journey from zoo to ESB. The transformation is nothing less than amazing as sanctuary heals. Thank you for providing her this paradise on earth.

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    JamesMichael says

    Happy Re- Birthday, Sweet, Gentle, Precious Girl…I (we all) Love You, Bambi.

  11. REPLY
    Wim says

    Happy re-birthday Miss Bambi. Really enjoyed watching you rebalancing in your new found paradise.
    Stay safe and protected.

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    Anita J says

    I also discovered GSE during Bambi transfer! And I am so so glad that I did! She was such a sad little thing in that ZOO but her transformation into happy and joyful elephant was magical. I think Scott and Kat and others in the sanctuary are wizards and witches..:-)) They not only found a magical Kingdom for those abused ellies they perform magic of transformations with them…lol….I bought couple small gifts for our sweet Bambi to make her day extra special….Bon appetite Bambi…THANK YOU!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      If only there were magic involved. It’s truly the girls who are magical. Thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.

  13. REPLY
    Beji says

    Everyone loves that after shower clean feeling! Happy day, sweetie!

  14. REPLY
    SandyJK says

    Beautiful Bambi’s pure joy and chill vibe in this first sanctuary bath video just made our week. Thank you!

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    Rachel says


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    Lori Hoover says

    OMG!! It’s been a year already? After reaching the end of your post here, just seeing Bambi’s picture of her first bath brought all those memories back of those moments, without even watching the video yet. I couldn’t be happier for Bambi and this past year that she has had, for herself, and with and for her and the other girls. Happy ReBirthday and Anniversary, indeed, Bambi!! May she have many more.

  17. REPLY
    Julia Mercedes Eden says

    Please repeat the donation details for Bambi’s first year anniversary fundraiser 🙏🐘❤️🥰🥰

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