EleFact Friday: Meet Pocha and Guillermina

It’s been an exciting week here at GSE with the anticipation of Pocha and Guilliermina’s impending transport to sanctuary. For this week’s EleFACT Friday, we wanted to talk a little bit about these two ladies for those who may not be familiar with their stories, or for anyone who is just anxiously awaiting their arrival! 

Pocha and Guilliermina, as many of you know, currently reside at the Mendoza Ecoparque in Argentina. Pocha, age 55, has lived at the Mendoza facility since1968, after arriving from Germany, and Guillermina, age 22, was born there. Both live in a below-ground concrete enclosure and Guillermina has never set foot outside of this man-made home. They have a very special relationship, with Pocha being a proactive mother and Guilliermina often taking on the role of the young daughter who occasionally pushes boundaries. 

Pocha has lighter skin that is pigmented with areas of pink and black polka-dots. She sports a cheeky smile and has a light behind her eyes that we hope to see more of when she makes her way to sanctuary. Her spirit is playful, yet reserved, as her motherly personality is often at the forefront. Guilliermina appears more youthful physically, with tighter skin compared to her mother, and she carries herself on a smaller frame. By observing her, you can tell that she has an energy about her that is ready to come through, because her entire life has been spent so far in this pit of concrete; we are thrilled to give her the opportunity to let her true personality shine through as she gets to explore and experience the sanctuary. 

We truly can’t wait to learn more about these two ladies in the coming weeks and months as their journey to sanctuary finally begins. This process started long ago, but things will move quickly once their transport process begins – and many of you will get to follow along for a true transformation in their lives…and ours!

Photo: Guillermina and Pocha at the Mendoza Ecoparque


  1. REPLY
    Mollie says

    I can’t tell you how emotional I am over this – with joy! Our GSE of Brazil family beat down the rumor mills as we submitted our Petitions (BIG thnks to the organizer of this and . Onwards and updwards! – Mollie

  2. REPLY
    Carol says


  3. REPLY
    Patricia says

    I am so excited I could pop! Praying and keeping fingers crossed and sending whatever else I can into the universe to support this joyful change. My precious angels. Also for humans who make everything possible! xoxoxo

  4. REPLY
    Melinda says

    Be still my heart! Can’t wait for the transport to begin!

  5. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Very exciting i cant wait to watch another transport with the best part seeing their very first steps onto Sanctuary soil and of course real freedom that they’ve sadly never known. I was so lucky to have just happened to be at the right place and time to learn about and watch sweet Rambas journey to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil which was the most exciting rewarding adventure I’ve ever been on and have thankfully been a part of this amazing massive family of love and compassion for these gentle giants ever since! Very soon it will be happening while the world watches and waits for another joyful tearful release thank you!

  6. REPLY
    Deb says

    This is the very very best news !! 💕🐘💕🐘💕

  7. REPLY
    Eileen L. says

    Can’t wait for the journey to begin!

  8. REPLY
    Julie says

    This is a big one! The anticipation is almost too much to bear! We all want to welcome Pocha & Guillermina home so badly! Love you my angels! Should we buy them welcome home baskets now or wait until closer to their arrival day?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      You can do whatever you are most comfortable doing. Anything perishable will not be purchased until their arrival. Thank you!

  9. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    Stupendous! Splendiferous! Yes! 😁❤️🐘🐘

  10. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Ditto with what all the others said!! JOYFUL, EXCITED, PRAYERFUL, and my own – GRATEFUL that all we’ve been hoping for is coming to fruition. My heart is full of anticipation and hope!! 💝

  11. REPLY
    Elizabeth says

    Everyday I check this blog, looking for news of the transfer to start. I can’t wait for them to reach the sanctuary.

  12. REPLY
    Susan says

    So very excited for what is to come for these two beauties! I can’t wait to watch along with so many other wonderful supporters and see their arrival and first steps into Sanctuary. I know it will be emotional and overwhelming for me to get a chance to share in this, and I can only imagine how it will be for everyone at Sanctuary who have worked tirelessly for this to happen. Looking forward to the fundraising and final planning stages as we get closer to transport! Can’t wait to give what I can to help them make it Home. Love and hugs! ❤️🐘❤️

  13. REPLY
    Suzanne Eaton says

    So EXCITED for their move to GSE. They will be thrilled beyond belief at their good fortune.
    It will be interesting how our current girls react to their arrival and vice versa. Can hardly wait.

  14. REPLY
    Kenneth B. Newman says

    If there are No delays of the trip, will this trip take 4-5 days? When do the trucks leave to go to Mendoza? next week? in 2 weeks?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      For the safety of our team and of the elephants, we don’t like to provide specific dates in advance. Some of the departure details will be up to Pocha and Guillermina, so it’s best not to make any firm statements about things like that. As soon as we know more, we’ll announce it.

  15. REPLY
    Beji says

    I was literally holding my breath while reading this post. It’s that exciting. And, not a moment too soon!! Let’s get this party started…woohoo

  16. REPLY
    Joyce says

    I can’t believe that early in 2020, I was thinking that maybe in May or June of that year, we would enjoy the transport and arrival of Pocha and Guillermina. That was not to be but I was thinking, maybe I the Fall then the Spring and Summer. If I felt stress and disappointment to know it wouldn’t happen in 2021. I’m certain you were even more disappointed and frustrated. Now, as the time draws closer, I believe we are all trying to wait patiently but thinking we want the girls home now!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It can definitely be hard to be patient, but we see a beautiful milestone for Pocha and Guillermina on the horizon…

  17. REPLY
    Richard Chiger says

    The fact that they are mother and daughter is beautiful and amazing since most calves of elephants born in captivity are taken away from them and sent to other places. I remember thinking how wonderful the Portland Zoo was until I learned what happened to almost all of the calves. The idea of these two elephants to be allowed to spend the rest of their lives in a much better, albeit captive, situation is truly uplifting. I hope that they have many more years together.

  18. REPLY
    Anita J says

    All stories of captive animals are heart breaking but especially these of elephants. And especially if those magnificent so much family orientated creatures are confined to small, barren enclosures all alone, for decades. Deprived of company of their own kind, deprived of having their own young and a family. Just languishing, staying alive. To discover passionate and determine people like Scott and Kate who were able to find and secure such breath taking place for them is a real miracle! All my friends and family were told the stories of these girls and Kenya and Tamy and they were truly moved. They all signed the petition. I was very grateful. Now the count down to their relocation started again, this time in earnest. We are nearly home! With Pocha and Guille move to sanctuary, the flood gates will finally be open and exodus will start in huge strides! Forever grateful here for all your work… love you all to the Moon and beyond! xoxoxox

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      thank you ❤️

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