Guillermina Bumps Others

As we mentioned last week, Guillermina is still in the process of learning the best ways to live with other elephants. She has a very young and boisterous personality that, while often charming, can seem a little much for some. Still, the other elephants are doing their best to learn what life is like around such youthful energy. Part of this process is teaching Guille to communicate in a healthy way, which will most likely take some time. 

In this video, each elephant is having a snack after their meal, in a different spot in the habitat. Placing food throughout the habitat encourages them to move around and gives them something to look for. But, they generally end up finding food and relocating so they can eat  right next to one another. Guillermina is a quick eater and sometimes impatient with finding her own food. To her, it’s easier to see who has already found snacks and try to take some bites from that elephant’s pile. Specifically, she knows that Pocha doesn’t resist when Guille wants some food.

Here, you catch a glimpse of how subtly Guille can maneuver another elephant physically. Guille walks directly over to Mara and bumps her to sort of scoot her out of the way. Mara’s response is to take a bite of hay and walk off, leaving the rest of food for Guillermina. Guille displays different levels of intensity at times when dealing with other elephants. But, more often, she uses behaviors that can be pushy and subtle, rather than overtly aggressive. We wanted to give you an idea of what this more understated form of control looks like and let you know it’s not necessarily as forceful as some might picture in their heads. As we said, Guillermina still needs to learn what is appropriate in social situations, but this behavior isn’t who she is; it is just how she learned to get what she wanted in the deprived situation she came from. She is a fun presence that is invigorating the others in ways we couldn’t have anticipated. As time goes on, we will see how they all adapt to one another. 


  1. REPLY
    Pam says

    Thanks, Sara. I appreciate having this further explanation and example!

  2. REPLY
    CAROL says

    Perhaps that is the reason Guille is overweight. Her momma let her eat HER food too!!!

  3. REPLY
    Nancy says

    Thank You!!

  4. REPLY
    Deb says

    This makes me sad to see Pocha acquiesce to Guillermina. I’m sure she did the best she could when they were in that horrible pit, and hopefully she’ll get lots of help from all the girls to teach Guillermina to be a respectful young lady.💝🙏🏻

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      There’s a lot of learning yet to be done by Guille. It’s all a process.

  5. REPLY
    Susan Flewelling says

    Looking forwsrd to the day Pocha bumps her back! 🤭

  6. REPLY
    Nancy HartGold says

    In the wild would Guille have the opportunity to engage in play with elephants around her age? If yes, then she has never had the chance to do so, its understandable that she needs to learn to behave in new environment.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      In the wild, she likely would have had other elephants her age to learn with, but also other elephants in a matriarchal herd to help guide behavior. It’s understandable that Guille has a lot to learn.

  7. REPLY
    Carmen Dalziel says

    What do you know about Pocha’s life before the stone walled dungeon? Has she ever felt freedom before the Sanctuary? She has the patience of a saint!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We don’t know much about her early life – only that she came to Mendoza from Germany when she was about 4. There’s no documentation on whether she was wild caught or not.

  8. REPLY
    Nishant says

    Did Pocha get enough to eat?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We make sure that Pocha always has enough to eat. Not to worry.

  9. REPLY
    Julie says

    I know this post is about Guille, where she is now and hoping for growth, but I feel so much for Guille. I feel her pain as a mother trying to do her best in a very bad situation and the immaturity of a child not showing appreciation or respect. It is a common theme, Mama Pocha, and I hope somehow the aunties can sense your situation and help you out with little miss!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s all a learning process, for every elephant here. Pocha has a chance to learn who she is as an individual, and that’s a big deal. Guille is on a pathway toward learning respect, so that’s important, too.

  10. REPLY
    Melinda says

    GiGi has some manners to learn! But I know she will!

  11. REPLY
    Carey says

    Wonderful notes on this so interesting introduction of mother and daughter to the herd. What an education it is for me.

  12. REPLY
    angie says

    This is a brilliant post, giving great insight into the herd behaviour with Missy Guille -who WILL come to know her place in the herd – it’s still early days. What a wonderful video. ! With much love and happy rumbles from Angie in Eastern Ontario Canada xxx

  13. REPLY
    Tracy H says

    Sara – The way you tell the stories about all the girls and how they interact makes it seem like I’m right there watching and learning with you all. Hearing about how each and everyday goes for all of them is so interesting and I look forward to your post everyday. I can’t wait to see when Mama P finally reprimands her over the top energized and fun loving girl Guille. Like you said she needs to learn respect and I know she will eventually get it. Time and patience will have rewards🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you for reading!

  14. REPLY
    Debbie Coulsey says

    I’m very glad you showed us that G’s behavior Isn’t as bad as we thought! I was so disappointed thinking she was hitting!! Now we have to hope Mom finds some strength to say NO. Very hard after 20 years of living in a basically an empty pool with nothing but cement! What a life change they both are going thru. As you have said, just looking forward, seeing trees, grass, water and especially other elephants! You have REALLY done an amazing thing for ALL these girls!!

  15. REPLY
    Charlotte says

    Thank you–it’s not nearly as bad as I had envisioned!

  16. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    I read all the comments and everyone’s comments are pretty much accurate the little one has a lot to learn and she will it’s not going to happen overnight like someone said in the comments section mommy let her get away with things and there may have been a reason for it I believe the youngster will learn respect for her mom and the rest of the ladies

  17. REPLY
    John says

    How can you not love Guille? And Pocha, and Lady, and Mara, and Rana, and Maia, and Bambi? 😉

  18. REPLY
    Elizabeth says

    Oh, I saw on Facebook that it was Mara that Guillermina bumped off her food. Kind of looked like she “goosed” her.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We updated the text here, too, so things would be correct.

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