Mendoza Update: Guillermina Enters Her Crate

It seems Guillermina is gradually building trust in the processes put into place for her crate training. She has, for the first time, completely entered into the transport crates. This is an exciting step forward, but not quite the final step before their journey to sanctuary. 

When we acclimate elephants to crates, it is about much more than the elephant stepping foot inside; it is also about them becoming comfortable on their own terms, without forcing anything. We have found that letting each individual relax at her own pace creates a greater understanding of what sanctuary is about, and that we are honoring her choices. Guillermina needs to know that she can take her time and that we have her best interests at heart. 

The first time Guillermina decided to enter the crate, Ingo and Trish were away, so she did so on her own. The next day, Ingo and Trish saw her enter the crate again – and she has gone inside multiple times now. As you can see in the video, Guillermina, at this point, seems most comfortable entering backward, which sometimes happens. Elephants occasionally approach one another that way, especially when they are experiencing something new. As far as we’re concerned, that is fine; it shows that she is willing to give the crates a try and discover that they are a safe space. Interestingly enough, when she was entering the crates moving forward, she would never go completely inside – but she’s more confident going in backwards. Whatever works for Guillermina!

The next step is helping her to get comfortable spending more time in the crates, as Pocha does. We hope that soon, both ladies can be in their respective crates at the same time, helping to ease any uncertainty that Guillermina has. The crates are currently placed facing one another, with a bit of space between them. The video shows Guillermina walk all the way through the first crate and through the opening between them, before standing for a short while in the second crate. We’re not quite ready to begin the transport yet, but this is one important step closer.


  1. REPLY
    Katie Howard says

    We’ll hats one way to do it! 😁. I’m impressed that she went all okay he way into the second crate and stood there for a few moments! This feels like tremendous progress and only reinforces the philosophy and approach you have at GSE! As they say, the proof is in the pudding 😉

  2. REPLY
    Tracy says

    Woo Hoo!!! Congratulations!! You go girls ‼️‼️ ❤️

  3. REPLY
    Nancy says


  4. REPLY
    Kenneth B. Newman says

    That was fascinating, watching Guillermina walk backwards into the crate, without any slowing down…….Hopefully, it bodes well for the final day when the trip starts to GSE.

  5. REPLY
    Claudia says


  6. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Oh my goodness – I just finished watching Ingo’s video and submitted my comment when this email popped up – what wonderful, encouraging news!!! My heart is singing, my whole being is sooo happy. Patience + thoughtful training is making its mark. Cheers all around! 🙌 💝

  7. REPLY
    Rachel says

    …and I should also say plus mama Pocha’s encouragement and role modeling. I’m going to be smiling all day….

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It definitely is worth smiling about.

      • Charlotte Hansen says

        This is SO exciting! I’ll be praying the rest of the preparations go smoothly and quickly! I can hardly wait for the procession home to begin!!!!

  8. REPLY
    Sue says

    So exciting to see brave G entering the crates!! I hope you dont mind a question? Have the ladies had a chance to see that there is land, trees, etc around their current home? Didnt know how much they could see other than looking upwards most of the time. I was curious if they look at the world just outside when they go into the crate. Thank you for all you are doing for these beauties as they transition towards their Sanctuary Home. ❤️🐘❤️

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      To my knowledge, they haven’t. Communication has been verbal, letting them know they are going to a new home. Guillermina wouldn’t know what those things mean, so it may not be much of a factor in her progress. And Pocha is doing fine – so we are happy to see positive reinforcement is helping her know that good things are ahead.

      • Sue says

        Thank you for keeping us so informed! It is a gift to be able to follow along. ❤️🐘❤️

  9. REPLY
    Carmen Lucia Souza says

    Wonderful news!!!
    Go ahead, Guilhermina!!!

  10. REPLY
    Barb says

    OK, I got “good chills” seeing her enter the crate! WooHoo!!

  11. REPLY
    Bill says

    Baby steps are the best answer for introducing changes to an intelligent animals. Rushing things are a bad idea

  12. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    Wow it’s progress! She’ll decide when she’s ready and then step into paradise at ESB💚

  13. REPLY
    Jillyp says

    Oh wonderful, sweet Guillermina, well done.
    I think she likes being outside the walls and looking through the gap between crates but feels safe to see the space she knows by facing towards it. Clever girl to reverse in – great spacial awareness 😆
    It’s so exciting. Can’t wait to see her and Pocha arrive at sanctuary and how they react 🌱🌱🐘🐘💜🌳

  14. REPLY
    Linda says

    She is pretty click at backing into it lol! Likes to have her escape route in front of her.

  15. REPLY
    Linda says

    That should say ‘pretty SLICK’. Monday fingers!

  16. REPLY
    MamaisReadyBabyGirlAlmost says

    Absolutely incredible. Way to go baby girl Guillermina. Getting closer towards Sanctuary every day. Yay!! ♡

  17. REPLY
    Patricia Aguilar says

    Go, Guillermina! We knew you could do it.

  18. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    Way to go Guillermina you brave girl. One step at a time, on your own time.

  19. REPLY
    Anita J says

    Wow! and Wow! This is amazing to see! So so exciting! Guille is truly evolving! Such confidence! Such an assurance! There was no hesitation entering that crate! We will be soon on our journey! Could you please confirm, can the girls see anything from those crates? Or are they all enclosed? Even seeing the fields, trees and other things zooming by while travelling can be quite scary for them both, at first. Thank you for that footage. I am starting to relax now, knowing it will happen soonish..:-)))

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      All of the panels on the crate can be opened or closed- the two big front and back windows, and all of the side vent windows. They have steel mesh, or cutouts so that they can get a full view around them, but can be adjusted for wind or temperature.

  20. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Wow! You go girl that is amazing to watch her progress in her own way on her own time can’t wait til the big day comes for them to be heading home little do they know paradise awaits with a big beautiful family of sisters to welcome them 😊🐘💞🐘👏

  21. REPLY
    Julie says

    Best video I’ve seen in a long time, and it shows how well she moves! We are not used to the young ones at sanctuary. This is going to be fun!

  22. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Thank you so much sanctuary for your patience with the elephants! They can learn to trust your patience.

  23. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Oh, Guillermina, I had you pegged for one smart girl from the first time I saw your picture. Well, and one really, really cute girl. Across the many miles I send prayers that you will soon understand, as I know you can, that getting in those crates means going to the best place you two lovelies, you and your mommy, have ever been. I love you so much!

  24. REPLY
    Jennifer says

    This is such an exciting and promising development! An eye opening change in Guillermina’s confidence. Enthralled, and looking forward to their continued trust; going to a better life!

  25. REPLY
    Terry Feleppa says

    For some reason, I can’t view the video but no matter, this is a great, comfortable step forward for Gilly ( my nickname for one beautiful girl). One step at a time!!!❤❤🐘🐘

  26. REPLY
    Ariadna says

    Wow! Elephants are amazing. I really like what you say “honoring her choices”. That shows a lot of respect, love and trust that everything’s going to go well 🙏🏼. Keep it up! You rock!

  27. REPLY
    Andrea says

    Way to go G! You’re a clever girl!

  28. REPLY
    John says

    This may be obvious, but was there food in the crate as an enticement? Who knew it could be so exciting to watch an elephant back into a crate!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We do put food in the crates to encourage them to enter and also to remain. Once they are comfortable, we can still reward them, but there isn’t as much need for that.

  29. REPLY
    Renee says

    Well a few things here, This made me giggle it loud…twice! 😂 AND that Guille girl has AMAZING special awareness, didn’t even bump the crate going in AND I like Big Ellie butts AND the swing that big girl has on that back porch! 🤣🤣😂😂. If you don’t understand that last comment….it’s a southern thing! Again… another giggle! Proof that no one, not even animals like being forced to do anything. All in good time things happen. Happy dancing 💃🏻 💃🏻 💃🏻 here!!!!!

  30. REPLY
    Renee says

    Meant spacial awareness not special…thanks autocorrect…..🙄

  31. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    This is terrific progress. Maybe Guillermina (back)walking through both crates and then staying put will help her understand that both crates are good places, and she can have confidence in her mom being in one of them, too. Going through two crates may be better than one, LOL, hopefully, it’s a good couple steps for both mom and daughter on their way home.

  32. REPLY
    Marcia Brixius says

    I think she is definitely enjoying looking outside between the crates, and it is thrilling. I’ve been so afraid that Guillermine will “freak out” upon first seeing wide-open spaces at Sanctuary, but this crate thing seems to allow for an intriguing sneak peek that there is something more out there other than their enclosed space. Encouraging!!!

  33. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Yes, sanctuary, you are smart. Elephants can acclimate themselves on their own terms!!!1
    Thank you, sanctuary!!😊❤️

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