Pocha and Guillermina have had time and space to explore their crates, which arrived several weeks ago. They haven’t fully entered the crates yet, but are continuing to try and figure things out.
We often refer to standard “zoo” style enclosures as sterile, because they frequently bear no resemblance to a natural habitat and are generally free of a sense of life or engagement. At Mendoza, the idea of a sterile environment refers more to the lack of vitality in the elephants’ space. Despite their size and intelligence, captive elephants commonly live in small, boring enclosures without grazing (what little grass may grow isn’t edible from decades of urine), trees, and little to nothing to engage them mentally or physically. Usually, though, the elephants are least able to watch people, watch life go by. They can see birds, squirrels, capybara, or other wildlife outside their enclosure. Pocha and Guillermina’s walls allow them no access to those things. Their life is more cut off from the world than any elephants we have worked with. It’s one of the reasons the Ecoparque Mendoza made the incredible decision to rehome their elephants to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil.
This barren environment means the crates’ arrival was potentially one of the most exciting things to happen to them in decades, demonstrating how much Pocha and Guillermina aren’t used to change. Though this isn’t a huge surprise to us, the arrival of the crates caused a bit of a setback. Guillermina, who was born in and spent every moment of her life in that exhibit, has been distracted since the crates arrived. Their care team is taking these new developments in stride and understand that everything happens on elephant time. We all have our bad days (or weeks), and elephants aren’t exempt from that.
Karissa and Chrissy gave Pocha and Guillermina a couple of days of a break from everything and then started the training process again, slowly. The elephants seem more settled now, although Guillermina is still at about 70% of where she was before the crates arrived.
As we have said many times before – how long this takes is up to the elephants. We can be there to support them, but they are the ones that have to be willing to take those steps.
Photo of Pocha
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Patricia Aguilar saysApril 15, 2021 at 3:30 pm
It must feel to Guillermina like she’s being taken by rocket ship to another planet and to a drastically different/frightening life.
jj skiddy saysApril 15, 2021 at 3:35 pm
my heart breaks for these an all animals that humans have destroyed their natural lives ….i hope an pray they can understand some humans are kind an are trying to help……i will follow an pray for their safety …
Rachel saysApril 15, 2021 at 3:36 pm
Heartbreaking reminder of what these elephants have been through and still going through. But GSE has taught me to be optimistic and hopeful – which I will continue to do. Progress might come slowly, but it will come. Thanks for the update. ❤️
Sara saysApril 15, 2021 at 4:10 pm
Yes – patience and optimism are necessary for a unique journey like theirs.
Meredith saysApril 15, 2021 at 3:44 pm
Lovely photo. Also nice to see the interior of one of the crates.
Nancy Shaw saysApril 15, 2021 at 3:44 pm
THEY’LL MAKE IT !! ( :
Sara saysApril 15, 2021 at 4:11 pm
They will – when they are ready. We must look forward with determinism and hope.
Barb saysApril 15, 2021 at 3:48 pm
I allow myself to feel joy at the thought of the girls stepping out to sanctuary life at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. If only they realized the wonderful life that awaits them!
Tammy saysApril 15, 2021 at 4:08 pm
Every day gets them a little closer to paradise and when they finally get there it will be a wonderful joyous time for all and I cant wait! ? ?
Carol saysApril 15, 2021 at 4:26 pm
Baby steps. Patience
Debbie Sides saysApril 15, 2021 at 4:48 pm
When they leave and head to ESB it will be such a relief. They will be amazed once they step in to paradise. Until then, we’ll just have to be patient.
Alana saysApril 15, 2021 at 5:19 pm
Come on sweet girls, you can do it. Paradise awaits.
Wim saysApril 15, 2021 at 5:28 pm
Must be a very scary and strange experience on their own territory. Elephants time is the best time. Wish you all wisdom and good timing. ???❤️
SHEILA saysApril 15, 2021 at 5:32 pm
YES, I SUSPECTED POCHA ?AND ?GUILLERMINA WOULD TAKE ALOT OF TIME TO GET USED TO THE ??CRATES!! ITS VERY SAD GUILLERMINA IS STUGGLING IN FEAR OF THE CRATES SETTING HER BACK FROM HER FORMER SELF!! IM CERTAIN IT WILL TAKE GUILLERMINA. MUCH LONGER! I. GUESS THE TREATY FOODS WILL HAVE TO BE PILED UP AT THE FRONT OF THE CRATE COAXING THE LADIES IN! THEY CERTAINLY R TOUGHEST CASES IVE SEEN FROM 5 OF THE BRAZIL LADIES. CRATE LOADINGS‼️IM PRAYING RESISTANCE AND ACCEPTANCE WILL COME SOON!! EVERYONE LOVES THESE DEAR LADIES AND WANTS THEM ASAP AT BRAZIL SANCTUARY ❤️
Katie Howard saysApril 15, 2021 at 6:07 pm
Yeah, this one is going to be a tough move. But difficult does not mean impossible. It just means it will take extraordinary patience, inordinate love and incredible persistence.
…and it will all be worth it…eventually! ❤️??❤️
jean saysApril 15, 2021 at 6:24 pm
I’m torn between heart break for what these poor elephants have endured and joy for what they will feel at the sanctuary. ❤❤❤?????????
Sara saysApril 15, 2021 at 6:34 pm
All of our ladies have traumatic pasts, but just remember the healing that can occur. Wonderful things are on the horizon.
Julie saysApril 15, 2021 at 6:44 pm
Yes, patience is in order and remembering these Ellies can really surprise us. I remember when it seemed as if Bambi would never be whole enough to get in her crate, then we woke up the next day to video of her all carted up and on the road! I know this one is more complicated, but we have every reason to be hopeful! Thanks for all your good work, ESB!
Sara saysApril 16, 2021 at 10:53 am
Thank you so much
Patricia saysApril 15, 2021 at 8:03 pm
I love Guillermina so much. I am so grateful to you all for your patience! I am praying for that darling girl and her mommy. ???
Ellen saysApril 15, 2021 at 8:31 pm
I think we all though these two would have a tough time. However, we all know they are in the best hands!! Let us know when they take a nap in the crates ..lol…it will be time to head HOME!
Charlotte Hansen saysApril 15, 2021 at 11:21 pm
This sad situation makes me grateful you guys are such dedicated elephant experts , with endless patience and compassion. Thank you for the update, and for all your hard work.
SALLIE saysApril 16, 2021 at 1:57 am
I PRAY THAT BOTH POCHA & GUILLERMINA WILL BE SO ENTHRALLED WITH THIS PRE-JOURNEY ACTIVITY &MYSTERY, THAT THE PAST WILL BE FOREVER ERASED FROM THEIR MEMORIES. PERHAPS NAÏVE TO SAY THAT, BUT THEY WILL FIND THEIR FUTURE IS DESTINED FOR A WONDERFUL NEW LIFE, WITH NEW FRIENDS, BOTH HUMAN & ELEPHANT . . . I CANNOT WAIT FOR THEIR “DEBUT” AT GSE!
SHEILA saysApril 22, 2021 at 4:40 am
GE BRAZIL ATTN! SCOTT❗️
SCOTT CAN YOU PLEASE ACQUIRE AND INSTALL RUBBER FLOOR MATS FOR THE LADIES ??TO STAND ON TO HELP THE VIBRATION AND GIVE THEM GREAT FOOT COMFORT FOR THE DAYS OF TRAVELING❓ I THINK STANDING ON STEEL IS SLIPPERY WHEN WET AND I REALLY THINK LADIES NEED FOOT COMFORT AFTER ALL THE YEARS OF WALKING ON CEMENT! THANKS KINDLY?
Sara saysApril 22, 2021 at 10:34 am
Sheila – the transport crate floors are not steel. They are made of wood, which is natural and safe for them to stand on. The wooden floors have drainage holes that allow urine to fall into an area below. If we were to install mats, there would be no way for the waste to drain. Additionally, when importing animals from other countries, we have to take into consideration regulations that are in place. We would not be able to cross borders with rubber mats in the crates because they are porous substances and could potentially carry germs from one country into another. Please know that Scott and our team have transported many elephants over the years and are committed to taking the utmost care in their travel.
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Mendoza Mail – The Crates Bring a Change of Pace