Things in Mendoza are progressing, albeit at a slow speed. Pocha continues to consistently do well with the behaviors required for her 30-day in-place quarantine. Guillermina is slowly returning to her normal self with training, but she isn’t fully there.
Every elephant is very individual. Within that individuality, most of the elephants we work with were born in Asia, ripped from their family at a very young age, and transported across the ocean in a crate to a new location, alone. Once there, they were often taught to submit to humans using dominance-based methods before ultimately ending up in zoos or circuses for decades.
Guillermina has had a different life. We would never call her life easy, but her background is different from those of most captive elephants. Pocha realizes that positive reinforcement training and, yes, even needle pricks aren’t that bad in the grand scheme of things. Understandably, Guillermina’s limited life experiences make her skeptical that this process could be for her own good.
Chrissy, who primarily works training elephants in Asia, recently had to leave Mendoza to meet her obligations at another facility. Karissa has a little more flexibility in her schedule and continues working with Pocha and Guillermina and their care team at the Ecoparque Mendoza. She is working with the team there to ensure they are ready to take over the quarantine process.
Pocha and Guilermina’s days are continuing as usual. There are no real changes to their routines. A few times a day, they are asked to participate in training sessions. The sessions vary – sometimes it’s just touching body parts to a target, and other times it’s pretending to draw blood. Guillermina, who was the rockstar initially, is slowly finding her way back. She is behaving normally outside of her training sessions again, but is still not fully back to who she was before her training included needle sticks. It’s a slow process to convince her that not only is this not all bad (she earns FrootLoops!), but it’s actually for her benefit. Both Pocha and Guillermina continue to have access to the crates, and they enter/exit them as they wish.
We are happy to see Guillermina slowly returning to her usual self with the support of her mom and humans. We are looking forward to her next steps, but only when she is ready.
Photo of Karissa, Ecoparque Mendoza caregiver Estaban, and Pocha
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Debbie Sides saysMay 13, 2021 at 9:10 pm
It’s a process and when they’re ready they will step foot onto sanctuary grounds their beautiful forever home.
Julie saysMay 13, 2021 at 10:16 pm
Thank you very much for the decently good news. I feel like I’m holding my breath until these girls get home. And I’m still praying!
Lila Nieto saysMay 13, 2021 at 10:33 pm
I am so moved. My heart goes to Pocha and Guillermina, and to all the team. I really hope they will be ready to travel soon, and I want to see their reaction when they arrive at sanctuary… of course I want to see both their reactions, Pocha’s for so many years in that underground maze, but Guillermina… oh, I want to see her first glance of the true world.
Sunny saysMay 13, 2021 at 11:46 pm
You can do it Guille ?
Katie Howard saysMay 14, 2021 at 12:59 am
Time and patience. This is a tough one, but so worth it! Patience and time. ❤️??❤️
SHEILA saysMay 14, 2021 at 2:24 am
OH GREAT NEWSPAPER ABOUT MOMMA ?POCHA AND HER GIRL? GUILLERMINA!! NICE THEY ARE GOING IN AND OUT OF THE CONTAINERS‼️ ARE THEY GOING TOTALLY INSIDE TO EAT TREATS AT FRONT END OF CONTAINERS❓NICE TO HEAR POCHA IS DOING GREAT! MAYBE SHELL IMPART SOME INFO WHEN SHES MORE COMFORTABLE TO GUILLERMINA TO GET COMFORTABLE ?. REALLY PRAYING U GALS DO SO WELL U CAN HURRY ONTO UR NEW LIFE WITH UPYOUR NEW HIRLFRIENDS IN BRAZIL! YOU WILL BE AMAZED YOU MENDOZA LADIES???‼️
Sara saysMay 14, 2021 at 12:01 pm
The girls are going in and out of their crates on their own at this point.
Brenda saysMay 14, 2021 at 8:25 am
what exactly is quarantine what does it consist of and why do they need to be trained to be in it.
Sara saysMay 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm
Captive elephants need to be trained in certain behaviors so that they can safely travel to sanctuary. All of our training is positive reinforcement based. Before being transported, they need to learn how to accept needle sticks and other medical checks so that blood tests can be performed and their health evaluated. Understanding what is happening and that it’s a good thing helps keep the elephants and caregivers safe. They also need to get used to their transport crates and be comfortable inside. We want them to walk in on their own and not be forced into an unfamiliar space. Quarantine is required before moving elephants. It lasts at least 30 days and the elephants must be separated from non-essential people and animals. Primarily it is to ensure they don’t have any diseases that could be carried from one place to another.
Bill saysMay 14, 2021 at 10:43 am
Every step is a step closer to freedom.
John saysMay 14, 2021 at 1:03 pm
All of you amaze me with your patience, commitment and determination to do what is the best for the elephants, above all else. Thank you!
Sara saysMay 14, 2021 at 3:25 pm
It’s all about listening to what they tell you. We are so lucky to witness it all. Thanks for joining us on the journey.
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