Guillermina Stripping Bark From a Tree

Once again, we caught Guillermina on our observation camera having a ball in the rain. In this instance, she’s actually stripping bark from one of the trees and eating it – something we don’t recall seeing another captive Asian elephant do. That’s much more akin to African elephant behavior. 

At first, it seemed that she was just pushing on the tree or trying to get a little scratch; what she’s actually doing is using her tush to lift up the bark and peel it from the tree. As you know, female Asian elephants don’t have tusks, but some of them have tushes, which are like small tusks that can protrude a few inches from their gum line. 

This tree is one that’s particularly popular for snacking among the elephants. Several of the girls enjoy eating the roots of the tree, especially during the dry season. It’s perfectly fine for her to be eating the bark; when browsing in the habitat, elephants eat branches along with grass, vines, and lots of other natural materials. 

People often wonder how elephants who have lived in extreme captive situations will adapt to a life at sanctuary. This is a perfect example of the fact that some behaviors are just innate. Guille lived in a space without trees for over 20 years; she’s never seen another elephant do anything like this before – and yet she intrinsically knew that tree bark was appropriate to eat and how she could get it off of the tree. There are some things that are essential to a species that persist despite deprivation that might come with some captive situations. Guille’s understanding comes from a pure place deep inside.

P.S.: Charity Navigator’s most recent ratings have been released and Global Sanctuary for Elephants earned a Four-Star Rating with 100% score! Charity Navigator is the world’s largest nonprofit evaluator that ranks organizations based on Impact & Results, Accountability & Finance, Culture & Community, and Leadership & Adaptability. We recommend that you check out the other charities you support to find out how they rank so you can give with confidence. 


  1. REPLY
    Pam says

    No doubt elephants are adept at communication between the physical and nonphysical realms … I imagine Pocha standing there, right beside Guille, relishing her daughter’s enjoyment of the rain and the tree. And I imagine Guille feeling especially happy, sensing that her mother is nearby, sharing in the moment.

  2. REPLY
    Alana says

    Congratulations! but of course you got Four star rating, GSB is simply the BEST!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you! We are very honored and proud of the work we’ve accomplished.

  3. REPLY
    Julie says

    I wonder if the rain prompted Guille to munch on the saturated and therefore juicy tree bark? I am not at all surprised by your Four-Star Rating with 100% score, but it is nice to get the validation!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Since they eat the roots of the tree as well, we can only assume it’s tasty under any circumstances. And thanks so much. It does feel good to be recognized.

  4. REPLY
    Suzanne Eaton says

    It’s a beautiful sight to see Guillermina doing what elephants do in a loved and protected environment. She looks very happy and content.
    Congratulations on your FOUR star rating and 100% score. No surprise there, but it’s nice to have the validation. GSE is the best!!

  5. REPLY
    Melinda says

    Not my idea of a snack, but Guille clearly loves bark! 😀

  6. REPLY
    Susan Flewelling says

    It would be interesting if the others followed her lead here. She is certainly enjoying herself!!

  7. REPLY
    Viviana Gallo says

    Ohhh estoy realmente sorprendida al observar a Guille y su comportamiento tan natural, que viene desde su magnífica esencia. Qué milagro y qué misterio es la vida!! Gracias a ustedes por honrar la vida cuidando a estos seres extraordinarios.

  8. REPLY
    Alice says

    Congratulations on your four star rating with Charity Navigator!! I am not in the least bit surprised because you so well deserve it!
    I look forward to your daily postings of the girls in sanctuary, videos, elefacts, and all!
    Thank you so much for keeping us a part of sanctuary life!

  9. REPLY
    Terry says

    Absolutely fantastic! Both Guilles innate skills and GSE’s well deserved score!!!!

  10. REPLY
    Janine Proctor says

    Congratulations you deserve the award, just seeing how happy these beautiful elephants are is an award in its self. Thank you!

  11. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    I was thinking of African elephants stripping bark. Whatever makes Guille happy makes us happy bless her. Awesome to have a youngster there💚 Charity Navigator is trusted and GSE is a true sanctuary and paradise on earth!

  12. REPLY
    John says

    I knew GSE was fantastic, but 100%? That’s fantastic, you all must feel so good about what you are doing. I love these videos, they are always so interesting and informative.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thanks for following us each day. And, yes, it does feel really nice to be recognized.

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