Thanks to everyone who guessed, commented, and asked questions on the post about Guillermina’s weight. We wanted to write this for a couple of reasons: first, people often say they forget how big elephants are until you see them next to a person, so guessing a weight is really difficult. The staff here guesses before we weigh anyone, and even we had a range of about 900 lbs/400kg apart when guessing Guille’s weight.
The other reason we thought it was important to write about the subject is that most people don’t realize how overweight many captive elephants are. Guille is this size because of her life in captivity, and it will change here. She will lose weight and gain muscle at a rate that is healthy, and she will feel so much better for it. While Guille is “cute” chunky, it is damaging to her longevity, her joints, and her overall health. Thankfully, she is young, and will not bear the burden of an extra 1000 lbs/450 kg for a lifetime.
Part of our responsibility to elephants is to educate those who care about them on all aspects of their being – or at least do the best job we can. And that includes encouraging people to really look at an elephant and see them, the good/the bad, the physical/the emotional. For instance, looking at an elephant like Bambi now, who you might remember was over 1,000 lbs/450 kg underweight, you can see that she is a pretty ideal weight for her size. She does have muscle loss along her spine, but this is normal for an elephant over 50, and she is 58.
Although most people guessed over the actual number, we did have one person on Facebook and one on Instagram who guessed exactly, and a couple of others who were very close. But we love all of the participation, the guesses, and those who felt they should be protective of Guille. Both her and Pocha are already on the road to becoming much healthier, and everyone has played a role in that. So, thank you.