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Mendoza Mail: Working Toward a Solution

Chrissy has shared her first #MendozaMail from Argentina, where Pocha and Guillermina are getting ready for their upcoming rescue! The Ecoparque Mendoza is also the home of Tamy (a male Asian elephant) and Kenya (a female African elephant) who will be rescued on future trips.

From Chrissy:

It has been one full week since our arrival and one full week of getting to know Pocha, Guillermina, Kenya, and Tamy. Boy, what a week it’s been! This is my first time in Argentina and my first project working with soon-to-be-rescued elephants living in a “zoo” type environment.

Until now, I’ve worked primarily in South and Southeast Asia, with organizations that rescue and provide sanctuary for elephants working in the tourist (giving rides) and logging industries. I can’t help but compare these two different captive situations and the effect they’ve had on the elephants.

At a typical “elephant camp” in Southeast Asia, the elephants will work 6-8 hours a day, giving rides and posing for selfies with tourists. The rest of the time, they are usually on a chain. Here in Mendoza, the elephants live in their designated habitats 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, for over 25 years. In the cases of Tamy, Pocha, and Guillermina, the enclosures are encased by concrete walls of rock and cement, preventing them from being able to look out at what’s going on around them.

So which captive situation is “better?” On the one hand, elephants in Southeast Asia have a brief respite from life on a chain. They get a chance to exercise, a change of scenery, and something to do. However, this respite is entirely controlled by humans. They do not have any choices or freedom to do as they please.

On the other hand, the elephants in Mendoza have a small space that they never leave. Yet, their time and space are theirs to do as they wish without much interference from their caretakers. How do we measure the psychological impact prolonged exposure to either of these environments has on an elephant: an intelligent, sentient being with physical, mental, and emotional needs?

The conclusion is easy for all of us to see… neither captive situation is good. As humans, it’s time for us to leave blame aside, take responsibility for what we’ve done, and do whatever we can to rectify the situation. I am grateful to Global Sanctuary For Elephants for providing a space where these elephants will have the freedom to be elephants. I admire Ecoparque Mendoza for having the heart and courage to do the right thing for the elephants they love so much. Slowly but surely, these and other captive elephants will have the freedom, respect, and dignity they deserve.

Photo of Karissa offering the hose to Pocha. Guillermina is checking out snacks along the ledge in the background.

Comments(24)

  1. REPLY
    Nannette Stone says

    A heart felt post 💕

  2. REPLY
    Alana says

    Thank You for the info. & all you do!

  3. REPLY
    Carol says

    😩😡
    Thank goodness you are there to provide knowledge and awareness to those that want to listen and be aware!!! God speed.

  4. REPLY
    Alejandra Enquin says

    GRACIAS CHRISSY 💕por tu interesante comentario y comparacion como bien decis el sometimiento humano es INHUMANO en Asia o Mendoza a pesar dd las distintas condiciones de vida de los elefantes.Pronto y gracias a SU trabajo estaran disfrutando una vida en la naturaleza,libres y respetados!!!

  5. REPLY
    SHEILA says

    YES, CHRISSY! ITS NOT AN EASY ISSUE! POOR POCHA AND GUILLERMINA HAVE HAD ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS FOR YEARS AND THEIR LFE HAS BEEN AS BAD AS THOSE ASIAN ELEPHANTS CHAINED! HOWEVER, THE PAST CANNOT BE CHANGED🛑. ITS NOW TIME FOR THESE TWO LADIES. TO MOVE FORWARD. IN THE RESCUE AND ALL THEIR NOTICES OF CHANGE IM SURE WILL BE WELCOMED‼️ GOOD FOOD ON A THE TRIP AND HUMAN CONTACT WILL GIVE THEM ASSURANCE👍 IM PRAYING🙏. P & G WILL ACCEPT THE TRAVEL AS A GOOD MOVE OUT OF THE HOLE AND BE AWED BY THE NEW WORLD THEY SEE FROM THE CRATES🙏

  6. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    It will be incredible when they set their eyes on ESB. So excited for them. And for the other girls to be near a “baby” will be exciting to see.

  7. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says

    OMG !! How will you get them out of that hole?

    • REPLY
      sara says

      Scott and Kat have been doing lots of logistical planning on lifting them and determining where to position the transport containers. It may be a bit of a job, but we will make it happen no matter what.

  8. REPLY
    Julie says

    Thank you, Chrissy. Yes. I’m ready to all that I can to help move forward from this!!!

  9. REPLY
    bo says

    THANKFULLY there are superheroes such as sanctuary team Brazil and so many others who try and do everything possible to help the animals they can.
    THANK YOU for giving them paradise!!!
    (i, and i am quite sure all the other followers think of the sanctuary in Brazil as paradise) 🙂

  10. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Yes indeed it’s long past time to take blame for the harm we humans have caused and do everything in our power to fix it turn it around so it permanently stops never to happen again. China and India are in real crisis when it comes to harming abusing and torturing their animals for whatever reason whatever excuse it is wrong and must stop now if not us then who will step up?

    • REPLY
      sara says

      We hope that slow change is happening across the world. Countries have been using elephants for labor and tourism for hundreds of years and that won’t stop in a day or a week – or even a year. Education is the key to change, and that’s what we and many others are trying to provide.

  11. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    What a beautiful post. All I can add is: Thank you, to Chrissy for her words and actions, to Karissa for being there to help as well and to all at GSE and those at Mendoza that are doing the right thing. I can’t wait to see all the elephants start their new lives.

  12. REPLY
    Sherry says

    How wonderful to read this post and to know what is in the future for this 2 beautiful elephants!!❤️

  13. REPLY
    Christine says

    The first thing I noticed was the bright pink shirt you had on, this would have been a very pleasant surprise for the ladies instead of the full grey walls of concrete. Of course your interaction help s too. Love this , can’t wait to see all 4 come home to Global Sanctuary.🙏🐘🐘🐘🐘💙

  14. REPLY
    Wim says

    Thank you for your plead. No other conclusion but that human kind is utterly cruel to animals among which Elephants are Indeed horribly tortured. Twitter shows the crushing and bullhook crimes. Many stories are heartbreaking and solutions are often made impossible. Several Sanctuaries among the globe give a little sunshine in ruined Elephant lives.
    🙏🐘

  15. REPLY
    Shannon Scott McKay says

    “As humans, it’s time for us to leave blame aside, take responsibility for what we’ve done, and do whatever we can to rectify the situation.” Many thanks, Chrissy, for this wise and dispassionate statement. Animal welfare is an emotionally fraught issue which engenders all sorts of (rightfully) heated rhetoric… but your calm and peaceful words hit the nail on the head: leave blame aside… take responsibility… rectify. Bless you for your clear vision! The elephants have a gifted advocate in you.

  16. REPLY
    Maureen Allen says

    May more, many more, homo “sapiens” have the wisdom to own mankind’s abuse–deliberate or ignorant–of our neighbors on this small planet. May they reject the patently false notion that all of Earth’s resources and inhabitants are somehow subject to our will. The article above sets my spirit soaring.

  17. REPLY
    Kenneth Newman says

    Every day is one day closer to GSE !!!!!! Just as I was made VERY interested when I first read the posts of Bambi’s rescue, I look forward to so many interesting and fascinating episodes of Guillermina and Pocha exploring their NEW habitat……Hopefully coming in the next 6 weeks?
    Meantime, Tamy will be incredibly lonely when his family leaves, so I hope his rescue is by late April or May. Will Tamy be given extra toys, tires, tree branches, etc.. and other items to keep him occupied while while his training and the quarantine for his rescue takes place? …..Kenya’s will certainly provide some MORE interesting reading when she is transferred to GSE, being the first African Elephant…. I have HIGH hopes that Puky and Kuky make great companions for Kenya, if they are allowed to leave their zoo……

    • REPLY
      sara says

      It’s certainly not ideal to leave Tamy, we know that bringing Pocha and Guillermina here gets him one step closer to sanctuary. He will be moved to their old enclosure so he will have enough room to be safely trained, which will mean new sensory experiences for him – even if they are small. He will receive a good amount of time and attention once we are able to get him settled into his new space and training begins. It will be an exciting time for all of us.

  18. REPLY
    Sallie says

    This is a great plan for these beloved elephants. God knows they deserve a second chance at a happy life of Freedom . . . We look forward to their escape to GSE . . . Thank you to all who have been part of this expedition into a new healthful reality of great opportunity!.

  19. REPLY
    Kenneth Newman says

    Is Tamy’s current enclosure MUCH SMALLER than the current home of Guillermina and Pocha? If so, will Tamy be able to have MORE fun, and I hope MORE toys and other items to keep him MORE mentally simulated, once he is moved into the bigger habitat…..

    • REPLY
      sara says

      Tamy’s current enclosure is pretty small, so it will be an improvement for him to move. Chrissy and Karissa will be working with him soon and that will provide much more stimulation – especially once he has more space. He probably will not get any more toys, because he seems to enjoy seeing how far he can throw the ones he’s had in the past, which is not all that safe for the humans around. But we are looking forward to giving him more enrichment activities, especially once the enclosure is opened up.

  20. REPLY
    graciela briatore says

    ESTOY MUY FELIZ DE SABER QUE PRONTO .(.ESPERO QUE MUY PRONTO )..LAS CHICAS, POCHA Y GUILLE ESTEN DISFRUTANDO DE ESE MARAVILLOSA LUGAR QUE ES EL SANTUARIO……YA QUIERO VERLAS PASEAR CON LAS OTRAS HERMOSAS NIÑAS…MUCHAS GRACIAS POR CONTARNOS TODAS LOS PREPARATIVOS PARA ESE VIAJE A LA LIBERTAD Y LA FELICIDAD…..

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