Argentina Elephant Update and How You Can Help!

Many of you know that almost all elephant rescues have hurdles to overcome, and the Argentinian elephants have faced their fair share. We never know exactly what path an elephant transfer will take, and that requires us to be flexible and determined. Today, we are working to overcome an unexpected complication, but it’s just another step in a delicate process we are resolved to follow through with. But one that we would like your help with.   

In February, we made you aware of a recent investigative visit to the sanctuary. Our policy is to treat all inquiries as though they are coming from a place of concern for the future of elephants at ESB, which is why we welcomed IBAMA, SEMA, and a team with the Argentinian Minister of Environment and Sustainability; we should note that this team did not include any biologists or a veterinarian with large animal or elephant experience. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that this visit was made with the best of intentions, but rather was an effort to discredit ESB. Recently, the minister’s office published a report filled with untruths that are easily disproved.

It is now the belief of several involved parties that personal interests are involved in delaying the move of Pocha and Guillermina, and any future elephants that could come from Argentina. The same governmental office that objects to elephant transports to ESB recently gave the equivalent of $200,000 US dollars to a “sanctuary” in Argentina – specifically mentioning on the government website that the funds would go towards construction of facilities for elephants – even though the last remaining elephants in Argentina are all slated to come to ESB. Both the Mendoza and Buenos Aires ecoparques were approached by this “sanctuary” and given proposals for the relocation of the elephants to their facility; both ecoparques declined, as they believed that ESB is the best possible home for the elephants. Despite the attempts at interference, the ecoparques, government officials, and all other parties involved in the relocation of the Argentinian elephants to ESB remain committed to the original plan. 

Yesterday, the Argentinian government discussed bringing an action to a judge, stating that Argentine elephants should not be relocated to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, as they claim that we are a breeding facility due to our official classification. As you know, we are not a breeding facility, and unfortunately a classification for sanctuaries does not exist in Brazil. Our official paperwork from SEMA states that we do not allow breeding, something that both IBAMA and SEMA told the visitors directly during the ministry team’s visit to the sanctuary when they asked about our classification. Additionally, as one of three elephant sanctuaries in the world accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, captive breeding is not permitted. 

We are actively working to denounce the legitimacy of these complaints. However, there is no one who can approve Pocha and Guillermina’s transport other than the Minister who seems determined to stop it. To date, we have tread lightly in an attempt to maintain a positive relationship with his office. Unfortunately, it has been made clear that, no matter what we do, no matter the expertise we bring, and no matter what ESB can provide these elephants, there are people who will always place personal interests above the best interests of the elephants, who they did not show any interest in “helping” until they were to be relocated to a sanctuary outside of Argentina. 

All of us at Global Sanctuary for Elephants are committed to doing everything we can to fight for the rights of all elephants and we WILL NOT give up on the hope that we can assist any elephant in Argentina. We are sharing a petition, which includes the Instagram and Twitter page of the Minister, that we hope you will sign, and pass along to all other animal lovers you know, so that we can show that the number of people who want what is best for them, and know they are worthy of a life at a true sanctuary, is great. Help be a voice for the future they deserve.


Photo of Pocha and Guillermina at the Mendoza Ecoparque


  1. REPLY
    Sara Baskett says

    Please give the elephants in Argentina a break and allow an expeditious move to ESB in Brasil. They deserve to live with other elephants in a large natural area with people who know how to care for them, and where the elephants can wander at will.

  2. REPLY
    Carol Goldstein O’Connell says

    We are sickened and distraught by this update. I have signed the petition but who knows if that will help. Praying these people cease and desist IMMEDIATELY!!!

  3. REPLY
    Ann Williams says

    I have to say this is the most heartbreaking news I have read…even worse than Ramba dying,a favorite elephant of mine. I feel this istrue malice to one ofthe most reputable sanctuaries in the world. I don’t know how this will end for mother/daughter elephants who esb has spent years in preparation for this relocation. It’s baffling that just one man can irrevocably harm the elephants welfare in such an INHUMANE way.

  4. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    That hurts to know that they are using these poor elephants as commodity for their personal gains..
    Lies stick harder snd longer than the truth, unfortunately 😢 but not forever..we will fight together 💪

  5. REPLY
    Julie says

    Devastating news for the elephant-loving community. I am so sorry ESB staff! The thought of these ladies and gent not getting the help they need is overwhelming! As always I am here to do whatever I can to help 🙁

  6. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Just devastating very sad news to hear these poor elephants are being tortured abused in every way shape and form then to add insult to injury they’re straight up lying about this wonderful life changing beautiful Sanctuary! We will win we must never stop fighting to save these poor elephants from the greedy hands of evil people! 💞🐘🐘🙏

  7. REPLY
    LInda Shuger says

    This makes no sense and is the worst of the worst outcome for this mother and daughter elephants STUCK in Argentina. They were just about to go to the best place in the world for a captive elephant and you deny that so an evil selfish person can get $200,000 for these creatures that will only suffer at their hands…..whoever they are. They must know the “right person” (actually the WRONG person in Argentina) to get the decision it disallow Pocha and Guillermina from going to ESB in Brazil. Someone is getting paid $200,000 to end the lives of these 2 elephants and that must not happen. Immediately allow Pocha and Guillermina to be transported to ESB to live out their lives in a peaceful existence which is nothing you can offer them in Argentina. Do the right thing not the senseless selfish act that you are currently trying to concoct.

  8. REPLY
    Mary Ann Kanapka Hunt says

    Signed and donated. This is ridiculous that you have to go through this.
    Just another corrupt government.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      thank you. every rescue has its roadblocks, often we get past them without mentioning them publicly. it seemed this one was just going to keep growing unless it was brought out publicly.

  9. REPLY
    Deb says

    Oh this is extremely distressing! I can’t imagine the stress you must be under.
    I’m so sorry this is consuming your time & thoughts. I will be happy to sign the
    Petition for you.
    From your lips to GODs ears🙏🏻💕

  10. REPLY
    Sunny says

    I am so sad and concern. You’ve worked a lot for this transfer, the elephants as well. I hope this resolves inmediatly. It’s extremely unfair to the sanctuary and, what is worst, to the elephants.

  11. REPLY
    Beverly says

    Let them go please…… Their life depends on it.

  12. REPLY
    Lynne says

    Release the elephants

  13. REPLY
    Wim says

    Terrible obstruction. Have already signed the petition. This must be hard to swallow for everyone involved.

  14. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    It’s devastating but we must keep hope and pray that the minister who can sign for Pocha & Guille and all other Argentinian eles, will change his mind 💜🐘🐘🐘 Can’t imagine what the other ‘sanctuary’ is like but the eles need to be at Sanctuary Brazil for sure 🌱☀️

  15. REPLY
    Bernadette Rey says

    Could the petition be posted in English please

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      if you scroll down the bottom is in English

  16. REPLY
    Alana says

    This breaks my heart. Calling ALL supporters, friends & elephant lovers. Help! Sign the petition! Please post to social, get the word out however you can. It is important to give GSB all the support you can, we must bombard the Argentina government with the truth & support. Now is the time to give it all you got for this petition.
    We must bring the Mendoza elephants to a life at the sanctuary. Thank You in advance.

  17. REPLY
    Chris Martin says

    Send to a sanctuary now!!!!

  18. REPLY
    Carlos Antollini says

    Scott/GSE, I will be brutally honest with you. Argentinian government does not care anything about both Pocha and Guillermina, they will use any dirty trick to block any effort to give them a better life just because they do not care.
    Everything they know is how to make everything complicated, they are mean for this. They will tell you that they want the best for these two elephants, they will tell you they will have their own sanctuary but actually they will do nothing but blocking you, and you know why? Just because it is in their blood.

    This minister has a perfect record of inoperability and this will be another trophy for his career.
    I am not being sarcastic, I am being very realistic.

    Perhaps we need to consider something like this:
    Note: if link does not work, google Sandra Orangutan with human rights

    Again I am very sorry for being so direct but I am very angry with the twist the argentinian government gave to this case. as all of you I want the best for Pocha and Guilermina and I want them to start their elephant life once of all.

    Best Regards

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      thank you. we understand they will do whatever they can, including months of lying. we do have several things being done in Argentina legally to move things forward. the Ecoparques, several organizations, and all of us are working together to do whatever we need to get them here.

  19. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    Petition signed/shared/tweeted.
    When contracts and agreements are made, and a reversal of that agreement is made based on unsubstantiated falsehoods usually means money and promises have changed hands.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      thank you

  20. REPLY
    Anne Muller says

    Please let them go to the ESB!

  21. REPLY
    Thea Lawton says

    I support the relocation of Pocha and Guillermina to the Global Sanctuary for Elephants.

  22. REPLY
    Jen says

    I’m so sorry this is happening. Anyone with eyes can clearly see how ESB is a positive opportunity for Pocha y Guillermina to have any kind of livable future. On top of it, what an absurd “determination”: breeding facility. Bigly disappointed with humans and politics. On Earth Day, no less.
    Glad you are as determined as we are to withstand the BS and persevere for what is right for neglected and captive elephants. We’ve got your back. Thank you.

  23. REPLY
    Bridget Long says

    This is such disheartening news. 💔 I know you and this community will continue fighting. 👏👏👏 Petition signed! Every elephant matters!

  24. REPLY
    Anita Janusz says

    This news was absolutely shocking and devastating! I was extremely upset. And extremely angry. Said that, I have signed the petition, twitted it and shared on fb and whatsup. It is a great success. Over 16 thousand signatures as I write this! We will win this fight! The girls WILL come home and then others! It will be so….I can’t be any other way. All is ready for them. They are ready. They deserve the best and only this beautiful sanctuary can give them that. We must persevere..:-))

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you! The more we speak up, the better the chances of being truly heard – and a better future awaits all of the elephants.

  25. REPLY
    Elizabeth says

    I find this even harder to understand because if you look at Minister Juan Cabandie’s biography, he himself was born in captivity… Perhaps not a perfectly apt comparison, but one might expect some compassion.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It’s difficult to understand the motives of others. All we can hope for is that our followers and those who have a great love for Pocha and Guillermina – and all animals – can make a difference.

  26. REPLY
    Janet Crystal says

    Flashbacks to the Hawthorn eles who were held captive by one power-hungry human even though argreements had been made. They made it and so will your Argentine eles. You have friends out there!!

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