Mendoza Mail: What We Know Today

Ingo left Mendoza this week to return home to his family for the holidays. What was supposed to be a weeks-long stay in Mendoza for him, turned into months. He waited to return home to see if moving the girls this month was a possibility, but it eventually became apparent that this would be incredibly unlikely. Dr. Trish also left a few weeks ago, to take care of an ailing elephant she cares for in Nepal. It was a difficult decision for her, as she wanted to be there for Pocha and Guillermina, but the other elephant’s need was more dire. Pocha and Guillermina quickly found a way into both of their hearts and it was incredibly difficult for both of them to leave Mendoza without seeing the girls to sanctuary.

While we would like to have more control over the timing of these situations, we just don’t. We believed that Pocha and Guillermina were far enough along in their crate training that the two could be moved within a couple of weeks of Ingo and Trish’s arrival, but that was not the case. Guillermina was clearly going to need more time to get comfortable with the separation and crates. This was very important, but the delays caused by this have led to permits expiring (they are generally only valid for 6 months) and we must once again rely on the speed of bureaucracy – which almost all of you know isn’t normally fast, and Covid has made things worse. 

The initial permit that expired still worked with timing, since Guille was just getting comfortable being all of the way in her crate and needed to get used to the gates being closed. While she was working on building up her confidence, we would have time to renew her permit. But this change in timeline caused the quarantine to become invalid, so it must now be repeated again. There was a very small window to acquire one of the samples, and that didn’t happen, so now another permit will need to be reissued on the Argentina side. Now that the primary hurdle is bureaucratic, the timing of Pocha and Guillermina’s transport to sanctuary is almost entirely in the government’s hands.

Every elephant and every relocation is different. Many elephants have no issues with the transport crate and are ready to go within days. Those of you who watched some of the live feeds we have done before leaving other facilities during rescues have seen that many elephants like the crate, simply because it breaks the monotony of their lives. They also seem to understand that the new people are different and are interested in creating a safe and productive environment. Guillermina wasn’t one of those elephants who took to the crate naturally. We always knew this would be a difficult relocation, as she was born in her recessed enclosure and had no exposure to the outside world or anything new. But this move is her first exposure to what the rest of her life will be like, and we need to nurture her concerns instead of just rushing to push her forward. 

This is not exactly what any of us want, but we are still pushing forward with the things we can do. We will update you when there is more news of progress. Once permits have been renewed and initial samples have been collected, we will again start planning a relocation date. This time, we will go knowing how much progress the girls have made and that they are comfortable enough to be moved to the sanctuary and embrace their new life and home. 

Photo of Guillermina and Pocha


  1. REPLY
    Nannette Stone says

    Thank you so much for this update. Sad that is that they will not be coming as soon as you and we hoped, the main thing is Guille has to be happy in her crate for her safety and welfare.

  2. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    Oh, best of luck going forward. Hopefully, Guille will continue to improve with the crate and separation issues as the wait for new permits and all turns over. I’ll be keeping good thoughts for all.

  3. REPLY
    Andy says

    That is a sad situation I think for the two of them and what they have to go through once again. It’s cruel even on behalf of the Brazilian politicians.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      The reality is, they can’t make exceptions, even if it makes sense. And we understand that. We would rather it not be that way, but we understand the slippery slope that is making exceptions for individuals or groups here and there. The rules are made to protect elephants and animals in the countries they are being located to. We wish it wasn’t so, but we understand the reasoning behind it. It’s the same when you get travel documentation for your dog. It’s good for 10 days, and if your trip gets delayed, you have to do it all over. No exceptions.

  4. REPLY
    Wim says

    Thank you for this update.
    What a difficult time this is.
    I’ll guess the TARDIS is no option either. 🙏🐘♥️

  5. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Positive thoughts and prayers sent your way for a speedy process you know what they say better late than never big hugs to those girls your day is thankfully coming real soon! 🙏🐘🐘💞

  6. REPLY
    Jeff Westrich says

    Are you not able to rearrange the order of elephants coming to sanctuary? Why not bring in Kenya or the other two Africans before P&G?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      everyone still has to get permits and go through quarantine. because of the short expirations on the permits, we have to wait until everything is lined up before applying. if they had longer expirations, none of this would be an issue. these rules are made to protect elephants, and sometimes they don’t work in our favor.

  7. REPLY
    Barb says

    As difficult as this disappointment is, we respect the process and thank you Kat for your input. It helps us

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      thank you. it’s not easy for anyone, but we’ll keep having faith in what has made it possible for so many elephants to heal.

  8. REPLY
    Silvana says

    Gracias Global Sanctuary 🐘 por el compromiso, paciencia y perseverancia. Esperaremos el momento en que todo confluya. Guille adaptada a la caja transportadora, repetir análisis, papeleo y los planetas alineados ! Sueño con verlas salir de sus jaulas, en el Santuario. Gracias x la actualización.

  9. REPLY
    Samantha says

    Thank you for the update. The situation does seem complicated so this is all understandable. Keeping fingers and toes crossed for the speediest process. Very grateful for all the information. I think about the Mendoza elephants frequently and I’m trying not to let vibes of pressure release into the universe. 🙂 Thanks to everyone working to make this happen. xoxoxo

  10. REPLY
    Deb says

    So in a perfect world… are you thinking 3 months before they get to come home?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      we would prefer 2 😉

  11. REPLY
    Alana says

    Thanks for the update. They will not be abandoned, that’s what’s important. Also, Thanks for your unwavering dedication to getting this done.

  12. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    So, we wait. I am, as always, blown away by your forbearance and dedication to not cutting corners, thus ensuring to the greatest possible extent, the ultimate success of each relocation. Your perseverance is to be commended. I don’t know how you do it without tearing your hair out! But Thank You. ❤️

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      we might have a bald spot or two 😉 but sincerely, thank you

  13. REPLY
    Deanna Young says

    Though of course I wish this notice had been of time of departure ! But I have learned from the best , that’s you Kat 😉 & Scott !) that we are on their time schedule. That from this moment on they decide when their ready to take the road . Here’s to 2022 with Pochita y Guille s arrival at GSE !❤️🙏🏽🎉🌳💚🕊🕊🕊🐘🐘🚛🚛

  14. REPLY
    Anita J says

    Uuuuu….very, very sad! I am completely devastated here with the news it will be months not days or weeks for their transfer. Absolutely understand you did your best and it now once again is out of your hands. It looks like ALL Mendoza 4 will be pushed back by few months now with relocation. Would you consider than moving some desperate girl from Brazil? There probably will be less permits required IF any. Just the usual training and 30 day quarantine. Will look forward to watching photos and videos of our lucky, happy 5 residents for now. Thank you!

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      we are always working on elephants from within Brazil as well, but each elephant comes with their own struggles due to the facilities they are at.

  15. REPLY
    Fiona says

    Thank you for the update. We know that you want them moved even more than we do. Your patience is amazing.

    Is there an option to move Kenya while you go through the paperwork and process for Pocha and Guillermina?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      unfortunately, no. she still needs all of her permits and to go through quarantine as well. P&G should be the fastest at this point.

  16. REPLY
    Joan Groat says

    Can you at least start on Kenya, seeing as how Guille is not learning and was just left for awhile anyway….then maybe they’ll all get there quicker!

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Kenya has most of the training already, and the zoo can continue to work on it with her. Since she will need all of her permits still, it won’t be any faster with her now that P&G are comfortable with their crates.

  17. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Will the crates remain there so Guille has time to get comfotable with it? We understand it will take tine for Gulle as she’s never been outside her enclosure. Don’t worry sweet girl. When you step into your paradise at ESB you’ll have a whole new world to explore with trees and ponds and friends.💚🌳🐘🌊💙

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      yes, the crates will remain there and they will be able to continue to go into them.

  18. REPLY
    Kenneth B. Newman says

    Thank you for the update on the moving situation for the Guillermina and Pocha. I would guess that the ONLY good thing about these delays in bringing MORE elephants to GSE is that this gives GSE MORE time to complete the various fences/ gates, barns and other facility items. I would hope that Tamy’s barn and corrals will be finished soon enough so he can be brought to GSE right after his wife and daughter…….I do know that bringing those two will completely change the dynamics of the 5 current residents…….as well as the humans who live there…….I am SO looking forward to reading about Guillermina and Pocha exploring the hundreds of acres of grass, trees, bushes, etc… and them meeting their fellow residents……..Hopefully by February 28, 2022????

  19. REPLY
    Mike says

    Maybe focus on Kenya now since she’s probably more advanced with crates and you are now in the same place permit wise? P & G are clearly going to take years while you “honor their process”.

  20. REPLY
    bo says

    we continue hoping and supporting that P&G will be home before we even expect it!

    all our elephant support

  21. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    You must be very disappointed but it is how it is. Thank you for still giving Guillermina the time to adjust and not rushing her, even though you knew the permits would end, it is all part of her sanctuary care, being listened to and treated with respect. Hope there are no additional holdups with paperwork and that both Pocha & Guille will be ready and relaxed to travel early next year. Will anyone from GSE remain with Guille to continue her getting comfortable with the crate? 💙🐘🐘 💕💝🌱🌾

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      the reality is, the last thing we want is panic on the road from both elephants because of not being ready. there are many things out of our control, but that we can at least do our best to avoid. Guille is different than any other elephant we have moved, and we need to treat her as so. it’s not a negative thing towards her, just respecting her life and how that has shaped her. right now, there is no one from GSE with her. Ingo and Trish spent time working with the staff, so they should be ok with continuing the crate training while we wait for permits. them having access to the crates will allow this, even if there weren’t humans helping along. getting the samples can be more difficult, but the staff has already done it once, and had one of our trainers there for 6 months, in different trips, to help train them and show the staff what to do. there are always other options if the staff of Mendoza are struggling, and we will stay on on top of things as much as possible, to offer help when needed.

  22. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Better to be safe than sorry!! All will be well in the end! Thank you, GSE!

  23. REPLY
    Sara says

    I just want to hop on here and reiterate everything that Kat has said and thank you for your understanding and support through this complicated process. We only want the best for the elephants and sometimes that means that people are disappointed. Your support means the world to all of us at GSE.

  24. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    I understand there are many working parts to a rescue, and especially when there are two elephants involved. I admire your patience, and most of all love that the elephants are always and foremost GSE’s concern. When the time is right, it will happen. Your detailed explanation of the delays and ripple effect it has on other areas of the rescue is so helpful and much appreciated.

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      thank you 🙂

  25. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Sad news, but hope remains. Thank you so much for the update. 💝

  26. REPLY
    Carey says

    Very well done to all for what you have achieved so far, and I hope all have a nice break now, well for Dr Trish it will be more difficult, but I hope her visit to Nepal helps the elephant.

  27. REPLY
    Melinda Barnett says

    I know you are doing your best, and God bless you for that. My mind keeps going back to what humans do to these wonderful, sentient beings. They should have all been living free and wild, except that the worst species on earth would not permit it. At least they still have hope because of humans like you, Kat and Scott.

  28. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Thanks for keeping us updated on these two beautiful girls, keeping all in prayer. God bless

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