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.