EleFact Friday: Everyone Needs Space to Heal

Happy EleFACT Friday. Last week, we talked about the difference in reproductive ages between male and female elephants and touched on how this would affect Pocha, Guillermina, and Tamy when they come to sanctuary. Today we wanted to dive a little bit more into Tamy, why he needs a dedicated space, and may not be integrated into the Asian female habitat full time.

As with all elephants, Tamy’s comfort and healing are the most important parts of bringing him to sanctuary. But because he is a male, what that looks like may be very different than what we’ve experienced with females. While science has shown males are not the loners people once thought, they do tend to spend most of their time with other males. Since, in the wild, Tamy would spend some time around females, the goal is to find ways for him to safely and properly socialize. This is very dependent on his personality once at sanctuary, his emotional growth, compatibility with others, and the willingness of the female Asian elephants to spend time with him. Tamy’s response to going through musth will also be a factor. Although some males become aggressive, others do not. Regardless, he deserves his own space and bigger, stronger fencing during that time. He is a large male and his stronger, reinforced habitat is a protective measure for him, the other residents, and his caregivers; as always, we prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In truth, some males prefer to be alone during musth and Tamy may prefer this approach. 

Most of our residents are not of breeding age, but that does not mean that Tamy would not attempt to breed them. Elephants like Lady, who have significant physical traumas, would be incredibly compromised if a full-sized bull elephant attempted to mount her. As we talked about last week, we cannot put the elephants who are working on their own healing in harm’s way or impede their progress by integrating without preparation.

Some of our females may be open to having a male in their habitat, but some may not. We won’t know until that time comes. Truthfully, if Tamy approaches a female elephant in a way that makes her comfortable, she might prefer his company to that of the other female elephants. But, again, we have to plan accordingly. Individual personalities and situations will dictate what happens. Our comprehensive facility design allows for different approaches to initial socialization and sharing spaces. Our approach is always to allow the elephants to share their needs with us, rather than imposing our ideas of how we think things should go. 

As we mentioned in a prior question and answer post, the female Asian habitat and male Asian habitat will have a corridor connecting them that we can use, should the situation be appropriate. There is already a gate in place on the west fence of the female habitat where the two spaces will be connected, but may not be open for free roaming unless the time is right, if ever. It allows us the same flexibility that we have built into our existing habitats. If Pocha and Guillermina are interested in being near Tamy, we can open that connected area and see how they respond to one another; remember, Guillermina and Tamy have never shared a space together. So, we will have options for building relationships between the three, who have spent years near one another, though not in the same enclosure. Once they are all acclimated, being close to one another may bring them comfort. Or Tamy may find that, with space, mental stimulation, and his own healing journey, he takes a more typical role of an elephant father, which means not having much of a relationship with his offspring at all. 

We will always listen to and respond to all of our elephants and do everything we can to keep them safe, happy, healthy, and allow them to live out the rest of their lives enjoying the sanctuary they deserve. 

Photo of Tamy


  1. REPLY
    Tracy says

    He’s a very handsome boy!!

  2. REPLY
    Meredith, NY says

    Seeing him in that cement enclosure makes me feel so sad. Here’s to process and progress!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We look forward to the day when he is ready to come.

  3. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    It’s so interesting hearing how you think through and plan for all eventualities, depending how the eles respond and heal individually once in sanctuary. Thank you for caring about and having the knowledge & skills to be able to give the best to this wonderful growing family. ❤️❤️🌱🌱🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🌾🌱🐘🐘🐘🐘🌱🍂🌾

  4. REPLY
    Kenneth B. Newman says

    I would have hoped that GSE would have had a fenced area where females and males would have been able to see each other across a fence without being in the same corral, so they could at least slowly get to know each other from afar…….I hope that Tamy will be able to see Pocha and Guillermina from across a fence, and then hopefully they will be able to interact with each other in 1-2 years……..

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      As we mentioned in the post, all of that will be possible in some form. Whether they are interested in interacting will be entirely up to them.

  5. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    I think it’s a good idea to keep them separate. Maybe if he could see the females from his habitat like Ned at TES. Bless him. I trust what you do as you know best. However you arrange it, Tamy will be in paradise!💚🌳🐘

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      He will have his own separate space but, as always, we will let them dictate what they are comfortable with. It will be an interesting journey for everyone.

  6. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    Ay como te quiero Tamy torito.sos muybuenmozo😁💕💕🙏😘😘😘😘😘😘!¡!!!y seras tan feliz en El Santuario que ni te lo podes imaginar💖💯💚🐘el primer ele varon!¡!!!

  7. REPLY
    Barb says

    Tamy needs the space and tender care he will receive at ESB. It will be interesting to have a male at the sanctuary.

  8. REPLY
    Anita J says

    Thank you again for all this detailed information! Love reading all those facts! So much to learn and know! Just a quick question. Regardless of Tamy’s socialising in the future with girls, is there any other male elephants that could join him in this huge habitat? I think you have Sandro on your list of elephants in need. Long, long way to go for that yet, and there is no rush, I am just wondering….Tamy will definitely come alive same as all our girls! And same as Kaavan in Cambodia. That was amazing, over night transformation as well and long before he got a piece of his own private jungle to call home.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      There are a couple of other males that may be candidates. We certainly hope.

  9. REPLY
    Anita J says

    Thank you Kat for that reply. I was surprised to read (when I was doing more reading about elephants), that males are very often, most of their live solitary. BUT sometimes they come together and form small bachelor male herds! That was said about African bulls. Not sure about Asian once, if it is same. Therefore, if habitat’ size permits we could have 3 or 4 handsome boys roaming in there in few years time..:-)) That place will be so full, in no time at all!..xoxoxox

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