In Memory Of Alma

The Elephant Sanctuary Brazil team is sad to bring you the news that our resident rescue tapir, Alma, has passed away. Though we are primarily an elephant sanctuary, we have always sought to play a role in the local community by providing rescue and release programs for native animals. That is how Alma came to live with us, and she was at ESB for longer than most of the elephants now in our care – and many of you know her for that reason.

When Alma was brought to us, it was immediately apparent that she wouldn’t be a candidate for release. The issues her prior facility thought to be behavioral were actually neurological. We knew very quickly that she was almost entirely blind and, over the next few weeks, we found that she had seizures as well. So, as part of her care, we made the most natural home for her that we could in the smaller yards near the house. We were initially told that Alma was young because she was so small, but she never grew, and her teeth looked like those of an older animal. As a result, it was difficult to determine how old she was. 

For as compromised as her body was, Alma did well for a number of years. Though she had some coordination issues sometimes, we were able to get her seizures under control and they became rare. Our staff decorated her enclosure with many different branches to ensure she had natural foods and smells along with her regular diet. She behaved somewhat wild at first, but Alma learned to trust and love her caregivers with time. She hit a couple of bumps in the road, medically, over the years, with things that probably wouldn’t impact a normally healthy tapir. But her entire body was weakened by years of health struggles, and she reacted differently as a result. Little by little, Alma’s body stopped bouncing back as quickly as it once did, and she became ill a few months ago. We tried several different treatments and medications, continuing her physical therapy, but she couldn’t reach the healthier place she once knew. Alma might rally for a few days, but it never lasted long. 

After consulting with a team of veterinarians, her caregivers, and sanctuary staff, we realized that we’d run out of options for Alma’s care, she was no longer comfortable, and everyone was on the same page. The decision was made that the most humane thing to do would be to euthanize her. Alma is buried in a field somewhat near her enclosure, on a hilltop that is frequently visited by other tapirs. You can see beautiful sunsets from that spot. Alma was a big part of our daily routine here at the sanctuary and, in turn, a big part of our lives. At the moment, there’s an Alma-shaped space here and she will be dearly missed. 

P.S.: Scott filmed an Instagram live video this morning of Pocha and Guillermina playing in the mud wallow. You can watch it here:–0/


  1. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    I am so sorry to hear this. Alma has often brought chuckles and smiles when reading your posts. Your choice of burial spot sounds perfect. I’m sure you’re hurting. The loss of any animal we’ve cared for is hard. ❤️

  2. REPLY
    Pam says

    I’m so sorry to hear this news. I am new to GSE, and only just yesterday read about Alma for the first time. Blessings and peace to her soul, and to all who mourn her passing.

  3. REPLY
    Patricia says

    I am heartbroken to hear of Alma’s passing and send my deepest condolences to all who knew her best. Thank you for your care for all animals.

  4. REPLY
    Susan Flewelling says

    My deepest sympathies to Alma’s entire family. It has always been a pleasure to get news of her – she seemed a gentle soul and will be missed.

  5. REPLY
    Zoi Flores says

    So sad for Alma but the decision you took was the best, the time Alma was there was good for her and we all appreciate it and thank you! Rest In Peace little girl in front of the best sunsets.

  6. REPLY
    Deb says

    Oh I’m so very sad about dear Alma. But I know she had the very best of care with you.
    I’m glad she had a wonderful home & was happy til recently. Ending her suffering was a merciful thing to do & that says how much you loved her.
    Sleep in peace Alma. You are dearly loved.💕

  7. REPLY
    Linda says

    Be at peace little one, your struggles are over and you are in a golden place now forever more. Thank you for giving this little girl a chance at life in a safe, loving environment where she still had freedoms and choices but under your watchful umbrella.

  8. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Rest in Peace sweet Alma you will be dearly missed by all who knew you especially those at the Sanctuary who became so close to you those who couldnt help but fall in love with you. Thank you to her many care givers who gave her the best life possible she took it all the way as far as she could but sadly was tired now shes at peaceful rest in a beautiful spot where other Tapirs can still visit her🙏💞

  9. REPLY
    Sara says

    Thanks to all of you who are sending your regards. It means so much to us.

  10. REPLY
    Janice says

    Your writings about every animal under you care brings teats to my eyes.

  11. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    So sad, Alma, fly free sweetheart ❤️❤️

  12. REPLY
    Tom DiCarrado says

    Scott, you and Kat always leave the same footprint in an animal’s life, one of maximum Joy and comfort.

  13. REPLY
    Suzanne Eaton says

    So sorry for the loss of Sweet Alma. RIP beautiful girl. You have been a joy
    to hear about while at sanctuary. Fly free baby girl.

  14. REPLY
    Charlotte Hansen says

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for giving Alma her best life. Rest in peace, Alma!

  15. REPLY
    Cassie Raymond says

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for the good years you gave Alma. She lived the end of her life knowing she was cared for. That is what we all want.

  16. REPLY
    Terry says

    My very deep, heart felt condolences to everyone who loved, cared and nurtured Alma. Alma will always be an iconic shrine for Sanctuary Brazil! Fly free sweet Alma. You are already greatly missed. Love and Light.💖🙏💖🙏💥💖💫💥🙏

  17. REPLY
    Wim says

    R.I.P. Alma for always in our hearts.
    Safe journey into the land of light.
    Hopefully the sanctuary years gave you a little bit of heaven on earth. 🕯️💔😢

  18. REPLY
    Audrey says

    R.I.P. Alma 🌈 All your elephant & human friends will miss you. 💔😢

  19. REPLY
    Beji says

    Alma died where she lived and where she was loved. That truly is a life well lived.

  20. REPLY
    Gayle says

    So sorry to hear that Alma passed away. She was so lucky to have found love and refuge at GSE. Thank you for taking such great care of her for all the years she was with you. She was adorable. RIP, sweet Alma! ❤️

  21. REPLY
    Sue says

    I am so sorry to hear about Alma but know she had the best caregivers and home. She thrived with you for many years and showed her love for life and those who cared for her. It sounds like you found a beautiful resting spot for her and she can watch over everyone from wherever she is now. Sending love and hugs. 🥰🥰🥰

  22. REPLY
    Dianna says

    So very sorry for the loss of Alma, crying for her but know she is in a better place. You guys did all you could for her and gave her a wonderful home.💔😢

  23. REPLY
    Barb says

    Alma always made me smile. She was lovingly cared for at ESB.

  24. REPLY
    Carole Kramer says

    So sorry about Alma. It must have been difficult and a sad decision you all had to make. You gave her superb care and love and made her life worth living well beyond what she would have had anywhere else. Not only that, but you’ve given her a special place to rest in peace.

  25. REPLY
    Sandy Crile says

    We are grateful you were able to give her such a peaceful life for as long as you did. I remember when she came.
    You had a naming contest…I lost! She was in pretty rough shape when she came to you, yet you gave her a far healthier, happier life than we imagined. Thank you.

  26. REPLY
    Renee Killian-Zeiger says

    No matter the animal, when we humans care for and give part of ourselves and our hearts to that beloved creation of God, there will always be a hole. Thank you all for the love and care you gave to Alma! 🙏🏻❤️

  27. REPLY
    jean says

    I am so sorry for your loss. May Alma rest in peace. She had the best home at the Sanctuary. Thank you for your kindness, compassion and caring. Thank you for being how are. Much love!❤❤❤

  28. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    She was so cute and is part of the family. Rest in peace sweet girl. We will miss you. Your spirit goes on little one 💚🌈💞

  29. REPLY
    Lynne Russert says

    I’m so sorry for your loss of this incredible animal. Now you can run free with no more pain or issues. RIP Sweet Alma 🥰

  30. REPLY
    Polly weber says

    Sad news indeed. I love how you all embrace other native species and care for them. I will miss Alma stories.

  31. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Goodbye to Alma; a beautiful animal soul! Thank you, sanctuary for caring for her.

  32. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    Oh damn. I’ve only read the heading and part of the first line of the post. I’ve loved hearing about Alma and knowing she was living such a great life with you all, thanks to your kind care and medical treatment. I am so sorry to hear that she has passed, but thankful that I even knew of her existence and for the joy and dignity that you provided for her throughout that life. Thank you so much and I am so sorry for her loss. Thanks for sharing her stories with us.

    ps…….I guess I should read the rest of the post, but damn, I love that girl. Isn’t it amazing to love someone you’ve never met.

  33. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    Oh, double damn. I’ve read the rest of your post. Again, thank you so much for everything you did for Alma, including sharing her with us. I am so sorry for your loss, for all of us. It was so obvious how much joy you did provide for her over the years, her cheesy little smiles in her videos were so apparent sometimes. What a sweetheart.

  34. REPLY
    Jenny says

    I am so sorry for the loss of Alma! My condolences to all. I know you did more to make her life the best it could be and she had better and happier years because of your care. Sanctuary was what she needed and she was blessed to find it.

  35. REPLY
    Carey says

    Sweet Alma, s always I take comfort that she had GSE people and place to live her last years with. But yes, she has been with you a long time considering she was so physically compromised, and we’ve all learnt a little about Tapirs.

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