A few weeks ago we introduced you to a property that we hoped would become the home of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. All that was needed was the final title search. In typical fashion, the subsequent weeks were a bit of an emotional roller coaster. First, we received an update from our lawyer, one of the best land attorneys in the state, saying that he had some doubts and needed more time. The next phone call, about 7 days later, concluded with “The title is 100% clear!” He repeated this in Portuguese several times “O título é perfeito!” to ensure that there were no doubts with my slowly improving but limited Portuguese skills. We had a mini but cautionary celebration, after all we’re talking about Brazilian real estate and we have learned that it’s never a done deal until everyone signs the contract. Our lawyer spent the next couple of weeks re-working the contract to ensure we had the best possible agreement for both ESB and the incredibly generous landowner. Now, we can confidently say, “We have land!” The agreement is signed and it really is real. It’s time for you, our incredible partners at ElephantVoices and Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, our volunteers and everyone involved, to do a little celebration as we cross this monumental threshold together!
I admit at times I’m still in a bit of shock, after almost one year of land woes, with several negotiations being halted just when we thought it was settled, it still doesn’t feel real yet. But when we visited the property again last week, any doubts quickly dissipated: everything about this land is absolutely perfect. I’m running out of words to describe just how ideal it is. Breathtaking, inspiring, majestic, secluded, lush, diverse and many other words are all fitting, but the best way to do it justice is simply to say that it is sanctuary in every sense of the word.
This nearly 2800 acres (with official measurements, the land was bigger than initially stated) is essentially two valleys running east and west, with a mini-mountain in the middle. The northern portion is undulating terrain that slopes up to a cliff-face that is more than 50’ straight up, a perfect natural barrier. The primary valleys have several small nooks and gullies that filter in from all directions. A stream runs through one valley and a small river runs through another. If this isn’t perfect enough, countless springs originate on the property providing pristine water for elephants, trees and the abundant wildlife already living in sanctuary. This property has fields of cultivated grasses, most of which are species that originate in Africa, along with meadows full of native grass. There’s a diverse mix of tree species typical of the “cerrado” (Brazilian Savannah) as well as large trees and palms indicative of “mata ciliar” (riparian forest) along streams and in the lush valleys where the springs originate. This land is truly spectacular and there will be many blog entries to come about the vegetation and hidden valleys and the hill top vistas that have left all of us at a loss for words. But first, we have work to do and we need your support more than ever.
To help open our doors to elephants as quickly as possible, we have launched our “Giving Ground to Elephants” fundraising campaign where your donations will literally give ground to captive elephants. Giving Ground ensures your donation will go directly toward the land and development of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil; where $420 gives elephants more space than they’ve had in decades and $1,040 is the dawn of a new day. Where every dollar literally gives elephants green grass to stand on, and your donation makes you a virtual landowner of your own piece of sanctuary – forever a part of something bigger knowing that together we provided a new life for elephants.
With your help we can reach our goal for Phase One Development. $450,000 is enough to cover the down payment on the land, build our first Elephant Care Center, construct two 20-acre corrals and enclose it all with protective security fencing. Most importantly, reaching our first goal will allow us to open our doors to the first 4-6 elephants in as little as 6 months. And this is all just the beginning. As soon as Phase One is complete we will immediately initiate Phase Two, Three and Four until the entire 2800 acres is available for dozens of elephants to explore.
To support the elephants- make a donation to Giving Ground to Elephants and receive a certificate representing your piece of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil –or make a donation in honor or memory of a loved one as a gift – because everyone deserves a little piece of sanctuary.
Don’t forget to take a minute celebrate. We couldn’t have made it to this point without each of you. Then sit back down and share our Giving Ground for Elephants campaign with everyone you know. It’s taken a village to get to this point and now we need to pull together global support to help bring elephants home.
Check back soon! These are exciting times.