Happy New Year 2023

At the beginning of this year, we set our intentions to embrace joy and celebrate each milestone we reached as the gift that it is. Knowing the healing power of sanctuary and taking lessons from each elephant we’ve known, we set forth on a pathway that we knew wouldn’t be a straight line; in fact, it was paved with twists and turns that we could not have foreseen. And yet, as we take today to express our gratitude for the past 12 months, we know that the bumpy road we trod was one of many valuable lessons. 

A true positive we witnessed this year was Maia’s re-integration into the group of Bambi, Mara, and Rana. She was able to face her insecurities and ease her way back toward having friends on her terms; the friendships are different from the one she shared with Guida, but they are valuable on their own. 

There is no underestimating the fact that Pocha and Guillermina’s journey to sanctuary was a long and complicated one, filled with unexpected roadblocks. But, with your support and the hard work of our team (working together with the staff at Ecoparque Mendoza), we all finally witnessed the two step out of their transport crates and into a new world they never imagined. Their gradual progress as they tentatively made their way from the barn into the habitat was moving and gratifying – and the relationships they built with the other elephants showed that their bravery exceeded our expectations. 

Of course, not everything turns out the way you hope it will. Though we lost Memphis the macaw and Alma the tapir this year, the most obvious blow to our hearts was the passing of Pocha in October. But it brought comfort knowing that she was able to finally feel the freedom of sanctuary for a short time and watch her daughter build relationships and flourish in so many ways that would not have been possible before. Guillermina’s ability to face her mother’s death and open her heart to growth and relationships with others has given us inspiration for our own growth. 

And so what is there to say about the year to come? We start the year looking forward with permits already in process for elephants to come to sanctuary, continued construction on the Asian male habitat, and ongoing emotional and physical support for the existing herd. Otherwise, we don’t know what it will bring – what challenges and delights the elephants will face or that we will take on as an organization. We hope that, together, we can all step forward into this new year with purpose – taking the lessons we need from 2022 and moving forward with a sense of promise and hope for healthy growth.

Photo of Rana and Mara


  1. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    No solo crecio la familia elefante sino tambien la familia de personas que Amamos a los elefantes.Y todos latimos con corazon elefante llenos de Amor🙏😘🐘😘🌟💝🌟

  2. REPLY
    Kenneth B. Newman says

    Any space at GSE for Tamy will be better than what he has right now………I am certainly looking forward toward Tamy’s NEW freedom under some blue skies, plenty of wild grasses, and trees, and the opportunity to dunk ones self in a pond……….Even giving Tamy 3-4 acres of space would be heaven for him…….and the potential of seeing his daughter at GSE……..At least let them view each other from across the fence……….

  3. REPLY
    Constance S harris says

    You are truly an inspiration. Bless you for the work you do. It has been a pleasure watching over your adventures since I first became enveloped in your lovely web, with the journey of RAMBA from Santiago.
    Thank you.

  4. REPLY
    Juan says

    The work you do makes many of us very happy. Thank you for that and hopefully 2023 will bring lots of positives to your team

  5. REPLY
    Wim says

    Happy New Year. Let’s do this together.

  6. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    Well saided young lady Sara you are something else you have a heart what you saided about everything is so true we don’t know and neither did any of the Elephants there at the Sanctuary but thanks to you all at the Sanctuary for caring and saving all of the Animals at the Sanctuary

  7. REPLY
    Susy says

    Feliz 2023. Emotivo el resumen del año que pasó y las vivencias, alegrías y tristezas que dejó el 2022. Estaré junto a ustedes desde San Rafael. Mendoza. Argentina, convencida de que el lugar que ofrecen es el mejor para sanar y vivir en libertad. Obviamente vendrán muchas experiencias y ruego que sean positivas, pero principalmente llenas de amor por estos seres maravillosos..Los Elefantes. Me despido con el pedido de dejen de compartir imágenes e info de mí bella Guille. Los abrazo fuerte..Susy

  8. REPLY
    Lili says

    Feliz Año 2023. Qué bonita síntesis del año que pasó. Cómo mendocina con el traslado de Pocha y Guille pude conocer el trabajo maravilloso que realizan y me hice seguidora de las historias de estos seres extraordinarios. Me hace feliz saber que habrá traslados, espero que este sea el año de Kenia y Tammy. Gracias por cuidar a las chicas, y en especial a la traviesa Guille. Abrazo grandote desde Mendoza.

  9. REPLY
    Lynne Russert says

    The highlight of my day is reading your posts of the girls & other animals there. Tx for all you do!! Unsung heroes for sure!!! 🧡

  10. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Happy New Year!! Here’s to the GSE family of supporters who step up time and again with needed donations, words of encouragement and a love for all elephants that matches their size; to the founders and staff who never give up hope and work tirelessly in their efforts to give captive elephants a life of day to day freedom and respect they’ve never known or lost in their youth. My hat is off to all of you. Let’s move forward with the same determined energy to make as right as possible what humans did so wrongly to these majestic beings we so adore and admire. Big hugs and high fives all around. 💝

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