Guillermina Gets a Startle

Scott and the caregivers have been continuing to work with Guillermina on training behaviors and footwork, and she’s learning quickly. She’s recently begun letting Scott trim her back feet, which is a new and positive development. She tends to stay very calm and even get a little sleepy.

A few days ago, toward the end of her session, Guille startled slightly and turned around quickly. What she saw was – though surprising – truly lovely. Maia and Mara were approaching her along the fence. As you know, these two are not commonly together, particularly until a very few months ago. We talk often about the ever-shifting dynamics of elephant relationships and this seems to be a partnership that is subtly and slowly emerging. 

Both girls had been in the pasture, walking toward the pond together, and grazing a little bit. Then they chose to head toward the fence where Guille and Scott were standing. They spent some time there for a few minutes, after which Maia and Guille continued on together and Mara headed back to Bambi and Rana. 

We are always fascinated to see these constant evolutions of relationships, which are reflections of exactly what we can’t fully understand about the elephants. There is so much going on between them that we’ll never grasp because we can’t see or hear what they’re communicating. But the fact that all are continuing to shift and explore new friendships is truly something to see. 

Picture of Mara

P.S.: A big THANK YOU to everyone who donated to our Valentine’s Day fundraiser toward purchasing a much-needed new 4-wheeler. The sanctuary staff and elephants in Brazil will benefit greatly from your generosity. In total, you gave $11,108 and all excess funds will be dedicated toward emergency repairs on another well-loved ATV. Once the new four wheeler is received in a few weeks we will share photos of what your support was able to provide. We couldn’t do this without you!


  1. REPLY
    Julie says

    Wonderful to see new relationships develop. Like you say, we can’t know the history, but I’m leaning toward believing growth is in the mix somewhere! Btw, Mara looks marvelous. She always was a wonderfully cute Ellie!

  2. REPLY
    Susan says

    Yay!! So glad enough funds were raised for a new ATV. Selfishly hoping that will lead to more videos and blogs 😁. Thank you for all you do!!! Love and hugs ❤️🐘❤️

  3. REPLY
    Pamela Hall says

    I’m interested to know why foot treatments continue as they are on natural ground which should maintain good foot health like it does with wild elephants. Is it that they are so damaged like Lady’s that they will never heal?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We have talked about Guille’s feet a couple of times. They are not in great shape and will need a good bit of care before they can be considered “healthy.”

  4. REPLY
    Alana says

    YA! You get a new 4-wheeler!

  5. REPLY
    Heather Parsons says

    That is fabulous news about the much needed ATV.
    As you know elephants are incredibly social animals and a chance to communicate with their own kind would not be passed up. Trust is another very important factor for elephants. Now that Scott is feeling more confident in his foot care skills for the girls, that confidence and trust is passed on to the girls. It is a beautiful journey that everyone gets to share in.

  6. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Great job everyone I just knew we could do it now the Sanctuary has another easier way to care for these magnificent beautiful gentle giants “it’s party time”

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