Brave Lady Comes Near the Barn – and Guillermina Takes Big Steps!

We wouldn’t necessarily have predicted that the first elephant to visit Pocha and Guillermina would be Lady – but she still finds ways to surprise us after all this time. 

Lady had been spending time relatively close to the barn and showing interest in the new elephants there. She clearly understands that the new arrivals are not the friends she knows, because their noises are new and different – and they are SO loud. But Lady’s ears have been out and she’s been listening closely.

She decided to stop by Yard 1 yesterday, so we closed off the gate from the barn into that yard, while leaving the corridor to Yard 2 open for Pocha and Guillermina. We thought, if given space, Lady might want to come closer, and she indeed did. After a nice drink and a little shower, Lady was showing signs of wanting to go near the barn. Because she has comfort issues, we would never push that boundary for her, but she seemed very interested and decided to indeed walk up to the barn. Kat gave Lady some food to reinforce how brave it was of Lady to get so close to others in an unfamiliar situation. Pocha and Guillermina have big energy that Lady isn’t accustomed to, and it was a significant step for Lady to get so close. At dinner, Lady was very smiley and appeared to be proud of herself, which was lovely. 

Guillermina and Pocha’s reaction to Lady (or lack thereof) is representative of their disconnection to what is going on around them. They barely recognized that Lady was there; after decades of desensitization, the two are so used to looking down that looking up and anticipating something new to happen likely doesn’t cross their minds. Pocha and Guille are only beginning to connect to the real world because of how they’ve had to process life to survive in the past. 

Later on, Guillermina did make the big step of backing all the way out of the corridor and into the yard, which is a major milestone. She still doesn’t seem to be taking in much beyond her immediate field of vision, but this may ultimately be a long journey for both elephants. We are here to support that healing journey, whatever path it follows and no matter how long it takes. 

We’ve included the Facebook live video of Guillermina leaving the barn here, so that you can witness this big milestone as well. 


  1. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    Lovely Lady! She seems very calm.. so she came back from the first visit, what is really impressive! ❤️❤️

  2. REPLY
    Deb Moore says

    since there is no way to trace these girls’ histories, i always wonder who knew whom, and Lady’s response to these two could mean they met before? so proud of all of them.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s doubtful that she ever knew Pocha, and of course Guillermina was born in Mendoza. You truly never know, but the chances aren’t high.

  3. REPLY
    Sue says

    Just amazing! Such bravery from the girls and from sweet Lady!!! I am so honored to be able to witness these milestones and watch along with so many others as their stories unfold. Thank you for sharing and talking with us!!! Love and hugs to all!!! ❤️🐘❤️🐘❤️

  4. REPLY
    Rachel Vieira says

    So proud of our sweet Lady!

  5. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Everything is so new to them!! So many adventures and everything wonderful! It is wonderful for me to witness this! Thank you sanctuary!! I think they will always be looking for each other out in the sanctuary. They have
    always been together and what a wonderful thing it is to be together!!

  6. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    So PROUD of Lady! Maybe she senses their level of disorientation? She’s really an amazing elephant! ❤️🐘❤️
    Pocha & Guille are amazingly resilient, given their history. Wait til they “wake up” to their new lives.! ❤️🐘🐘❤️

  7. REPLY
    Tammy says

    So so happy such a brave girl she did great one step at a time amazing job 👏💞🐘🐘

  8. REPLY
    Richie says

    This is going very well. If it continues like this, those beautiful elephants are in for a tremendous upgrade of their lives. What we, as humans, do to animals is unconscionable. Here we, as caring humans, are trying to make up for that and give a new life to these abused elephants.

  9. REPLY
    Angie says

    brilliant interaction on the part of Lady, at least ! She’s a trooper; kind, gentle, and curious ! This is fabulous progress, even if Pocha and Guille are not seeming to notice !

  10. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    Es increible que es Lady la primera en acercarse.Que Bien por Lady ⚘️😘Y Para Guille y Pocha aun no es algo trascendente.Poco a poco.🙏❤️❤️🐘🐘

  11. REPLY
    Katherine says

    So exciting! The girls are in a new world, it’s the start of something wonderful. Privileged to be witnessing these scenes. Thank you!

  12. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    SOOO brave. Such a big step. We are so proud of you. All on your own time, we know you will get there, and how about that Lady Bug! She always surprises and delights us.

  13. REPLY
    Marylouise Sillman says

    How very Sad to watch a strong wild animal be afraid to explore a new area of Freedom. Fresh melon put down 2 yards apart could encourage her to explore more.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Right now, we we want to let them process things in their own time, rather than place our human expectations in how they should be progressing.

  14. REPLY
    Marylouise Sillman says

    How very sad to watch a strong wild animal be afraid to back up to explore a new freedom.
    Yet again….
    It shows how in the Wild, the females in a herd can and do expore new territory to protect their herd.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We chose to focus on their triumphs, but still appreciate how much trauma they’ve each been through.

  15. REPLY
    Carey says

    Slowly getting calmer, maybe tuning in to the natural sounds, the greenery, and your calm. Pocha has such big eyes, and is sooooo sweet. How old are they both?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Pocha is about 55 and Guillermina is 22.

  16. REPLY
    Carey says

    Oh my goodness, they never fail to surprise, Lady…. What a fine lady and inquisitive.

  17. REPLY
    Tammy says

    How adorable Lady is so brave standing there watching checking her new sisters out it’s so heartwarming to see! Then Guille wow what a rock star is right this is incredible to be able to watch them make such life changing decisions one step at a time slow and steady and the sounds they are making so much fun to hear can watch and listen all day it never gets old 😘 🐘🐘👏

  18. REPLY
    Tammy says

    I just have to comment on how P and G are so delicate soft footed backing up with their large massive bodies yet so gentle such cute adorable tootsies too so darn cute!!!

  19. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Lady, you are just such a darling peach! It’s all so amazing and exciting! I am very grateful to Scott and Kat and Sara and everyone for keeping us in the loop. Love and hugs to all elephants and humans! 💖💖💖

  20. REPLY
    Suzanne Eaton says

    Lady, Lady, Lady! Are you choosing to create your own herd??? You simply amaze me at your brave steps. Whatever you decide, it will be your choice. ❤️🐘. Love and respect you so much.

  21. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Going from Pit to Paradise is a huge difference. These girls will enjoy their home and and discover all it has to offer in their own good time. How lovely that Lady visited them first. She’s a brave little one. So exciting to see everything unfold. Thank you so much for going through the gauntlet to get these girls home💚

  22. REPLY
    Beji says

    They’ve only been there for a few days and they already look like different elephants!!! What a triumph!!

  23. REPLY
    Sunny says

    Bravo, My Lovely Lady! You know I love you deeply 😘

  24. REPLY
    John says

    By the way, what did you guys do with Ingo? Toss him aside once you were through with him? Just kidding.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Ha. Ingo splits his time between his home in Spain and the sanctuary in Brazil. We would never toss him aside. 😂

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