Because we have so many elephant rescues in the works, we want to share some updates on how things are progressing. Each of you plays a role in bringing these individuals to sanctuary and we know you are invested in the future and healing of every current resident and every elephant yet to arrive. At the moment, each rescue is at a different stage, but all are moving forward.
Pocha and Guillermina face complicated hurdles, which we anticipated, but that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. At the moment they are simply not ready to be transported. Training a mother and daughter for separation is a delicate and involved process, particularly when one of the elephants – Guillermina – has never been transported. Our protected contact trainers worked with them for several months and progress has been made, but there is more to be done. Pocha and Guillermina are only beginning to experience sanctuary mentality, where the decisions are theirs. We cannot risk traumatizing them by rushing their training, quarantine, and transport process. Once they are ready, we will bring them home. We are in frequent contact with the ecoparque in Mendoza and everyone involved is doing all they can.
Our female African habitat is ready and we can apply for the permits that will allow us to bring Kenya from the Mendoza Ecoparque in Argentina into Brazil, once the locks and finishing touches are in place. When our permits have been approved, the ecoparque can then apply for the necessary permits allowing Kenya to travel. However, because of the widespread outbreak of COVID-19, there have been discussions about Argentina restricting travel even further with commercial border closures. We don’t know if this will happen, how long it will last, or how significant of an impact it would have on our plans to move forward.
Kenya has completed most of her training and will need to quarantine for 30 days in order to be transported to ESB. Once she has arrived, Kenya will need time to acclimate. When she has settled in, Pupy and Kuky can be transported from EcoParque Buenos Aires – once their training and quarantine have been completed and the necessary permits have been acquired. All of the permits that the ecoparques must apply for are valid only for 6 months, so time must always be a consideration.
The build out of the male Asian habitat will follow the same process as the others. We have acquired the necessary steel, but must get approval for a permit to begin construction. Tamy cannot begin his training until Pocha and Guillermina have been transported to ESB. His current enclosure is not well-suited for training and he will be moved into Pocha and Guillermina’s space once they have been moved here to Brazil. Again, the staff at the ecoparque in Mendoza is doing all they can to provide Tamy the best care possible in the meantime.
Many of you already know that Brazil is facing a true crisis when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. The death toll and number of new daily cases is astounding. It is estimated that roughly only 12% of the Brazilian population has been fully vaccinated. Many (if not most) hospitals have little to no room for new patients and are running out of oxygen. As a result, we cannot predict exactly when we will be able to transport new elephants to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil since it has impacted permits, and both human and elephant travel.
Because we share our plans for rescue very early in the process with our supporters, it may seem that bringing the elephants to their new home takes an excessively long time. Those of you who have been with us since our first rescues are likely very aware of the time and effort it takes to make this complicated process happen. We assure you that we are moving as quickly as possible to navigate the intricate processes involved and the ecoparques are doing all they can to help move things forward. We will continue to update you as things progress. We are grateful for the support of the government agencies of Buenos Aires and Mendoza to relocate all six elephants to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. None of this could happen without your support and your belief that all elephants deserve a chance at freedom.
Photo of Kenya by German Lledo