In today’s post, contract caregiver Nicole talks about enhancing her understanding of the process of being open to what elephants are trying to say and also adjusting her behavior to communicate what she needs. It’s a nuanced process and one that she seems very excited to fully grasp.
“Scott had mentioned when I arrived on this trip that one of his goals for me was to work on being more open with the elephants. For example, telling them when I was uncomfortable with something and explaining what I needed to become more trusting and comfortable with them.
I began training with Guille, and between her youngster energy and the fact that her facial features reminded me of an elephant I worked with that had a not-so-soft demeanor we’ll say, I went into the training session with some hesitation. Guille had a tendency to not extend her trunk out very far to take food, and I just wasn’t comfortable enough yet with her to get that close. Several times I asked for her trunk further out, and eventually she would awkwardly reach out and get the food. This back and forth continued the rest of the session.
During the next session, she did the same thing with not extending her trunk out very far, so I took a second and explained that I just wasn’t comfortable enough yet and I needed to get to know her more before I would be okay coming closer to hand her things. Almost every time since that moment she has extended her trunk out, without me having to ask, to take the food from me.”
There is no end to learning how to interpret the emotions and needs of an elephant and we’re always working to learn more from them ourselves. It’s promising when you encounter someone so ready to listen and respond in the best way she knows how – and someone who also seeks to earn trust through continuous trials.
Photo of Guillermina
- PO Box 2426
- Brentwood, TN 37024
- (615) 435-9523
- Ways to Support
- GSE Merchandise
Melinda saysApril 3, 2023 at 2:06 pm
We, humans and elephants, are constantly learning. Communication is everything! Nicole and Guille have it all going on!
Leslie saysApril 3, 2023 at 3:02 pm
How wonderful to both learn. Guillermina to trust as well as you. Great fun! Thank you!
Beji saysApril 3, 2023 at 3:52 pm
Look at this beautiful girl. If elephants had a magazine, she would surely be the cover girl.
Fernande saysApril 3, 2023 at 6:16 pm
quelle élégance elle a cette belle Guille
Heather Parsons saysApril 3, 2023 at 6:37 pm
I’m sure she knew this before it was communicated by you. Elephants use scent, and everything exudes an odour, so she could smell your apprehension before you verbalised it. Hence she was tentative to extend her truck, not knowing what your ‘intension’ was. Once you had verbalised your fear, she could pick up on the timba of your voice, that all was safe, that she extended her trunk.
Bonnie saysApril 3, 2023 at 9:49 pm
Nicole Guillermina is a good girl and now you and her are friends
Subscribe to our Blog
Shop & Support Elephants
Visit our online store and and help spread the word about the need for sanctuary for captive elephants.
Give Through Our Wishlist
Shop and choose a treat or much-needed item for one of the elephants.
Global Sanctuary for Elephants
Stay connected with our herd
"*" indicates required fields
MISSION: Protecting, rescuing, and providing sanctuary for elephants worldwide.
Global Sanctuary for Elephants is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt, public charity status (EIN 46-3564818) and all contributions are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.
© Global Sanctuary for Elephants. All Rights Reserved
Your ticket for the: From Nicole: My Approach to Guillermina
From Nicole: My Approach to Guillermina