Mendoza Mail: Pocha and Guillermina’s Curious Conversation

Our latest #MendozaMail from Chrissy –

Elephants can be very vocal, and on this particular morning Pocha and Guillermina had a lot to say!

Pocha is a mother to Guillermina, but I’d venture to say that, due to their circumstances, their relationship is stronger than mother/daughter. They are each other’s best friend, sources of comfort and security, constant (sometimes pesky) roommate… they are each other’s entire world. They almost have to be, as they don’t have much else. Needless to say, they are highly in tune with one another, for better or for worse.

This morning, Karissa and I arrived to much commotion coming from Pocha and Guillermina’s enclosure. Trumpeting, squealing, gate banging, and running around like banshees! What was going on??

The answer is… (drum roll please) … we have no idea.

Elephants can hear and smell stimuli way beyond the human range. Maybe they are hearing or smelling something we cannot? Perhaps a small rodent or animal was in or near their enclosure? Maybe something happened between them before we arrived? There was nothing we could see or detect that would cause such a reaction. Although we’ll never know what started the commotion, it’s fascinating to watch them calm each other down. Squeaks, squawks, urination, gently touching each other’s mouths and bodies as if to say, “Whoa! That was SUPER scary or super exciting, but everything is alright now. I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine, just like we always have.”

Pocha and Guillermina’s relationship is very special, and I’m so glad they’ve had each other all these years. As trainers, Karissa and I will be diligent about making sure they are comfortable being apart from one another during their transport to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. We take comfort in the knowledge that this separation will be temporary, and great delight in the knowledge they will be exploring their new life in sanctuary together. Their lives are about to change in a big way and they will have each other’s backs, just like they always have.


  1. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    Are they the ones “ barking” or there is a dog there? I know one of their sounds is named “barking “ so I wonder.. their excitement was intruguing but lovely ❤️

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      that is Guillermina 🙂

  2. REPLY
    Pam says

    That was interesting to hear. Her sounds will stand out at sanctuary. I haven’t heard of the others making this sound. It will be interesting to see if the other animals are curious about it, especially the dogs. My guess is there will be a lot of new energy there!

  3. REPLY
    Carey says

    Lovely to hear your account , it must be fab to see them and hear them . From where Tamy is, does he vocalise? .Much?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      No, he is very quiet and when P&G have their little parties, he just stands back and watches.

  4. REPLY
    bo says

    It is a Huge comfort knowing they are being guided by each other, it is perhaps the reason they have been able to survive those horrible circumstances for so so long but now they are also being guided by loving caring humans who will do everything to make the transformation from there to the sanctuary as smoothly and as gentle as possible, oh sweeties, what a difference it will be.
    from …………….. to paradise!!!

  5. REPLY
    Carol Anderson says

    Did you even think that they were acting that way because they knew you were coming again?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      P&G often do this, no matter who is around. It is something we have seen at different visits, with different people, and heard they do with their normal staff around as well. They don’t really have much to do, and Guillermina is young, so it’s not surprising that they try to entertain themselves.

  6. REPLY
    Lane says

    I had that same question: Was it because new people who interacted with them had shown up? Interesting that they act as if a herd was approaching. Can not wait until they are at sanctuary.

  7. REPLY
    Carol in BC, Canada says

    Thank you all for what you are doing for Elephants – and the zoo, for allowing this to happen. I cannot WAIT to watch the girls, and eventually all the zoo’s residents, discover Sanctuary at ESB. It’s going to be incredible. Thanks again.

  8. REPLY
    Rachel says

    I just watched this today. Wow, watching the video with the sound on really is touching. It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. As the others have said, I too cannot wait until they are ready to be transported to the sanctuary and watch with happy tears as they explore their new home. Thanks for keeping us updated and educated. ?

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