Ingo’s First Thoughts On Sanctuary

Now that he has arrived in Brazil and is settling into life at the sanctuary, we wanted to share with you Ingo’s initial thoughts about Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. It’s always interesting and helpful to hear how other caregivers react to being on site and working with the elephants. With that being said, here are Ingo’s first impressions:

When people ask me about what it’s like to come here to the sanctuary, it’s quite difficult, if not impossible, for me to reply in a clear and straight way, as my first impressions and feelings were so overwhelming.

I left home with a bunch of mixed feelings, as I usually do. On one hand you are missing family (the feelings that come with physical separation not only affects elephants, but humans too); on the other hand, I finally had the chance to meet the people I really hoped to meet for so long. I began to see and slowly meet each individual and get a positively overwhelming overview by watching the landscape and the property, with its unbelievably wide and green space. Everything seemed to come so quickly as I learned about the massive amount of projects, and seeing and feeling all the lovely details and interesting dynamics from the beginning.

Despite the humidity that I knew was coming, and the roosters (which seem to be most active during very early morning – and I still like them), I finally arrived at the sanctuary also psychologically. Some of the details gave me goosebumps and left me nearly speechless. There are things that are unique to this place that sparked emotions on every level. The sunrise and sunset, the thunder and lightning in the clouds, and the view of the property are beyond my description. There is wildlife that most only see in books and birds that you’ve never seen at all. There are animal footprints on sandy roads. There are sweet and lovely (and venomous) snakes around and I know that wild tapirs and other fascinating and bigger mammals are always near; you get the feeling that they may be watching you, but you can’t see them. In the evening, when your laptop gives off the only light around (bringing what seems like all the moths in the world), you can hear the wildlife and know you are surrounded by them.

This is a real sanctuary. A place that feels good and is more than just beautiful. From the very first moment after arrival it was clearly noticeable that the animals here at the sanctuary found a place that allows them to finally enjoy life within a peaceful environment that enables each individual to act out all behavioral needs whenever, wherever, and however they want. I was so happily surprised when watching the team here on site – how they care for each and every single individual with so much love and understanding and respect. That’s what these animals of course deserve – and do receive.

I never believed that such people actually existed until my first phone call with Scott and Kat. Now, I am finally here on site and meeting them in person. I am unbelievably glad and also proud of being a tiny part of this team and organization, and being allowed to learn so much more while spending time within a healthy environment, with such a positive energy worthy of imitation. I am very thankful to my family for supporting and encouraging me in all I do and enabling me to work in such a field. I am also thankful to my GSE family for the warm and lovely welcome, the trust, the transparency in every sense, and the opportunity to learn something new and important every day.

Maia with lush sanctuary land surrounding her and beautiful Brazilian sunset as her backdrop


  1. REPLY
    Carey says

    Good evening from London Ingo! It’s great to hear that you are at ESP, I very much hope you continue to love it, and I’m sure you will give as much as you get – I’ve watched your work on YouTube. With best wishes for all to come.

  2. REPLY
    Carol says

    Wow! Beautiful thoughts and expressed so eloquently. Welcome to the ESB family of humans as well as the lovely ladies!!! Best wishes for a rewarding and singular experience. 🙏🏻🤞🏻👏🏻👍🏻🎉

  3. REPLY
    Angie Gibson says

    This is really neat! Warm welcome to you, Ingo and heartfelt thanks to you supportive family for sharing you with the elephant world. You will be such an asset to this incredible team and to the precious elephants❤️🐘❤️ Enjoy your new journey 🙏👏😁

  4. REPLY
    Beji says

    What a great gig. I think it must be like coming home. Awesome!

  5. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    Reading this just makes me wanting to be there do much! I don’t mean in the Sanctuary, but the Cerrado region.. i need to activate my network of friends to make a visit to the region

  6. REPLY
    Alana says

    Welcome! Glad you are there. Hope to hear more from you.

  7. REPLY
    Deb says

    Ingo, you sound like a beautiful person & a perfect match for the sanctuary.
    I’m so happy for everyone!
    Your loving words to describe the sanctuary could probably be summed up as a piece
    Of HEAVEN on earth with real angels working there!!

  8. REPLY
    Anita J says

    Hello from Adelaide, Australia Ingo. So so good to see you settled in in sanctuary, our piece of heaven for our girls and boys soon. Beautifully written piece! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. You are so needed to give us your expertise and gentle hands to care for our residents. 👍💖💖

  9. REPLY
    June Ross says

    Ingo…welcome to Sanctuary from a Canadian who loves these girls so much! I think we are all so pleased you finally made it here. Keep us posted…please…as your time there moves along. Thank you so much for caring bout our Ellies!

  10. REPLY
    Maggie says

    It would be really facinating for Ingo to give his own “take” on each of the different elephants there. He has such a vast experience with elephants, that it would be really interesting to see what his impressions are after meeting the sanctuary “girls”. The collective experience you all bring to the table is just amazing. It must make for some really great collaboration – and I bet the stories you share around the dinner table from all your experiences are amazing. Wouldn’t I love to be a fly on the wall for that!!!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      I’m sure that once he gets to know them, he will have plenty of thoughts to share.

  11. REPLY
    John says

    Thank you so much Ingo for those wonderful thoughts and impressions. I’m hoping one day soon to have a dream about being at sanctuary watching one or more of the elephants browsing in their habitat.

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