(partial update 8/7/23)
There is always work to be done!
Check that off of the list:
Construction continues on the male Asian habitat. The barn and three stalls in the barn are finished, and we added a retaining wall to protect the structure during rainy season. The first yard’s fencing has also been completed and both Lady and Rana have spent time there. Though we knew that the fences would be larger than those of the female habitat, it’s quite impressive to see how tall and sturdy they are when they are in front of you. See the photo of Scott and the SEMA representatives above for scale. The pond has been dug in the first yard, so we can see notable progress. Fencing takes the longest time, since it requires miles of steel be installed, but we’re proud of the work that’s being accomplished.
The barn and the first three yards of the female African habitat have been completed and are ready for Kenya, Pupy, and Kuky. (See the photo above.) We will need to expand that habitat shortly after their arrival in order to give them the necessary room to explore, heal, and learn how to be elephants again. Several thousand dollars were raised through the Trunks and Treasures auction and live event, but there’s still more to be done. You can donate to this expansion through our Room 2 Roam fundraiser or via the general donation page.
All for the elephants
Update on Elephants Waiting for Sanctuary
Tamy has recently been given access to their Pocha and Guillermina’s old area at the ecoparque. Mendoza has contracted Ingo to begin his positive reinforcement training, which he will need to learn behaviors necessary for import into Brazil. These requirements are government dictated and were created to protect animals in Brazil. They include vaccinations, blood tests, parasite treatment, and other things. Johanna from Fondation Franz Weber is assisting and observing so that she can help the Mendoza team once Ingo has gone. Right now, it will be all about introducing Tamy to the concept of positive reinforcement training. As an ex-circus elephant, the only type of training he knows is dominance based. So, learning he is rewarded for performing a certain behavior versus punished when he doesn’t do as he is asked is a big first lesson.
This initial visit with Ingo will last for a few weeks and then the ecoparque staff will need to take what they have learned and continue on from there. This is only the beginning of Tamy’s training and he still has a lot to learn, but it’s a positive step.
Kenya is currently scheduled to come to ESB next, though she, Kuky, and Pupy are still waiting on permits to be approved. Kuky and Pupy’s Argentinian export permits have been approved and we are now waiting on their import permits for Brazil. GSE applied for all three import permits on July 22, 2022, and we are still waiting on Brazil to approve them. Due to their delay in approving her permits, Kenya’s Argentinian export permits have expired, and Mendoza has already applied for renewal. Unfortunately, this level of bureaucracy is something that can’t be avoided when moving elephants from one country to another in South America.
Check social media and our blog for updates from Mendoza during this time.
Sanctuary Herd Update
We share daily updates on the girls through our blog posts and on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).
Maia continues to be Guillermina’s favorite “big sister,” and the two of them spend time together regularly. Maia has also become more comfortable spending time with Mara, Bambi, and Rana in a group. We see all of them (plus Guille) in a group together more often than ever. She still enjoys her time to herself and seems to take pleasure in the moments when she gets to explore on her own. But watching her become a bigger presence in the group is lovely.
Rana has indicated a few times that she’d like to join Lady in the male Asian yard. She gets close enough that the two can see one another, but she always respects Lady’s “bubble.” When she has the opportunity to spend time in Yard 5, she explores across the creek into the farthest reaches of the habitat. Rana continues to play a major role in the sanctuary herd, strengthening her relationships with all of the girls. She is occasionally wary of Guille’s energy, but the two of them are bonding and growing their relationship slowly over time.
Lady has spent a little more time in the male Asian yard, but most of her hours are spent wandering in Yard 5. If she indicates that she’s interested in going into the male yard, we listen and open it up for her. Though her feet certainly bring her discomfort, she is as patient as ever when receiving foot treatments – as long as you remain present and in the moment with her. Lady is an excellent example of what it means to offer elephants autonomy at sanctuary. It allows her to make choices about where she wants to go and what she wants to do.
Mara continues to spend plenty of time with Rana and Bambi, but is gradually becoming more comfortable with having Guillermina near. Guille and Maia are seen more and more spending time with the “Powerpuff Girls” in a group, and Mara doesn’t seem to demonstrate the same degree of hesitancy around elephants other than her core group. She seems more grounded lately and seems to love having her friends nearby.
Bambi seems to have become used to having Guillermina as a little sister-like figure. Guille teases her at times, but Bambi seems to understand that it’s playful behavior and lets most things slide. But when Guille steps over the line, she has no problem letting her know. Bambi still seems protective of Mara at times, but appears to be welcoming Guille and Maia into the circle of friends. They can often be seen all together these days.
Guillermina continues to have strong relationships with Bambi and Maia, spending a great deal of time with Maia especially. But lately we have seen the elephants in a group of five: Maia, Guille, Mara, Bambi, and Rana. Guillermina’s energy seems to be evening out and perhaps the others are becoming more comfortable having a youngster around. She is a fast girl, covering ground at near-lightning speed. It takes a lot to keep up with Guille!
Why They Need You
THE CRISIS FACING CAPTIVE ELEPHANTS
Thousands of captive elephants in zoos and circuses around the world are suffering. Year after year of isolation, restraint, malnutrition, abuse, and lack of adequate exercise and proper medical care exact a harsh physical and psychological toll.
In October 2016, we made Elephant Sanctuary Brazil a reality with the rescue of our first two female Asian elephants – Maia and Guida. Seven other elephants have called ESB home since then. Our current progress shows that we have come incredibly far, but there’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done.
There are more elephants waiting for a chance at their own healing journeys like the ones Maia, Guida, Rana, Ramba, Lady, Mara, Bambi, Pocha, and Guillermina have taken. GSE can provide the expertise and knowledge, but we need your support to make sanctuary a reality for other captive elephants.
Together we are part of the solution for captive elephants. We are grateful beyond words to you for giving these elephants the second chance they deserve and are so desperately in need of.
The Formula Is Simple
The sooner we can build, the sooner elephants come to sanctuary.
Keep Caring. Keep Sharing.
Together we are changing everything for these elephants so desperately in need.