Thank you all once again for your support, donations and for helping to spread the word. We have only been here in Brazil for 6 days so far, and thanks to our tremendous partners, who work about as fast as they talk, our project is reaching new heights everyday.
Today started at 6 AM with a trip to a beautiful piece of land about 3 hours outside of Sao Paulo. After a light snack, we walked the property for 4 hours then drove back to Sao Paulo. The land is gorgeous but there are a few things that are not ideal. In the coming days we’ll collate photos, edit video, and write descriptions about what does and does not work with this property. Even if this property is not used, Lucas, the property owner, is anxious to help with the project however he can.
Several people, friends of GSE and family, have asked if we’ve had a chance to visit any of the local sights, to which all we can do is laugh. Our time here is jam packed. It’s incredibly busy but it’s a good busy and the enthusiasm resonates and motivates each of us a little more. The rest of this week is filled with meetings, walking through more property, interviews, and we’ll visit a few of the elephants that we hope to soon be able to provide sanctuary for. To give you a small glimpse of what our days look like, the following is our agenda over the next few days.
Wednesday- up at 4 am to catch a flight to Brasilia, visit the elephants at zoo, lunch, meeting with Representative Tripoli and IBAMA, the national agency that oversees agricultural regulations (the equivalent to USDA in the US). Visit property that is owned by two people who cut their vacations short to fly home and meet with us. We don’t have all of the property specifications yet, but this has the potential to be a very good partnership. After dinner we meet with a specialist with irrigation who is well connected with IBAMA.
Thursday – fly to Palmas in the state of Tocantins, drive approximately 300km or 180 miles to Porto Alegre, a city near the property, and join a local contractor for dinner to discuss our plans and to learn more about local construction cost, material availability, contractor labor cost and common construction techniques.
Friday – visit the property in Porto Alegre which is about 580 hectares which equals approximately 1400 acres with a list price of $128,000 US. While much of Tocantins can be very dry, this property is closer to the amazon, which influences the annual rainfall. Then we have a meeting with the mayor, a meeting with ICMBio and a meeting with the fruit producers association to see if we would be able to use the unsaleable locally-grown fruit to help supplement the elephant’s diet if we end up constructing the Sanctuary in this region.
Saturday – Back to the airport to fly to Sao Paulo. On our way to Palmas we will drive near one of the largest and most beautiful national parks in Brazil, we won’t have time to visit but it promises to provide us with a better perspective of the land and vegetation in the region.
Sunday – a quiet day that we’ll inevitably spend behind our computers catching up after limited wifi and data while we travel north. Late in the day we will join Junia and others from EV Brasil, along with Tim Gorsky the director of “How I Became and Elephant”, for dinner.
Monday – fly to Rio de Janeiro for interviews, a screening of “How I Became and Elephant” followed by a question and answer session with Scott and Tim, an interview, and dinner with more members of the EV Brasil team
Tuesday – visit the Rio zoo, then we’ll fly back to Sao Paulo
Wednesday – drive to Leme to see Bambi, another elephant that we hope will be able to find her way to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. On the way back we will visit two sanctuaries, Projecto Mucky (a sanctuary for small primates) and Mata Ciliar, which focuses more on large felines including the rehabilitation of indigenous felines such as jaguars and pumas.
Thursday – drive to Ribeirão Preto to see Mayson, another elephant that we hope to provide for and stop on the way back in Rio Claro at UNESP to meet Prof Mauro Galetti about his studies about the megafauna and the Pantanal and Brazilian savanah (cerrado)
This is all that is confirmed to date but trust me, the next list of meetings will be equally packed together. We could spend two months here and I’m sure that each week would look the same. If you don’t hear from us for a couple of days, we’ll be back in touch as soon as we are able to find a few minutes and a good wifi connection. Moving forward for elephants in Brazil and all of South America…