Mendoza Zoo Elephants Destined for Sanctuary

Kenya - Mendoza Zoo

Exciting holiday news and a gift for which we can all celebrate. You guessed it-more elephants are coming to sanctuary.

Last week, during Scott’s visit to Argentina, Elephant Sanctuary Brazil signed an agreement with the director of the Mendoza Zoo and the Secretary of Environment to transfer all four of their elephants to sanctuary. Yes, you read that correctly, four new lucky residents will be given the best gift we can offer, one that lifts the spirit, rejuvenates health and keeps on giving with each new dawn for many years to come – the gift of Sanctuary.

Following the Yippee and happy dances, it’s time to get to work-and we’ll need your help. Before these four can all be moved we must build more fences and construct two new Elephant Care Centers, one for female African elephants and one for male Asian elephants. Yes, you read that right again. This is no ordinary rescue, not only are they living in conditions that may be some of the most deprived that we’ve ever seen, but we’re talking about 2 female Asian, one male Asian and one female African elephants. We have a lot of work to do, a lot of money to raise and a lot of paperwork to process. In the end we’ll all be celebrating for many days as these four explore their new home and rejoice in their new life.

Tami the elephant at the Mendoza ZooIn upcoming blogs we will introduce you to Pocha, Guillermina, Kenia and Tami. We’ll share what we know of each of them and explain what will be needed to prepare for their arrival. Many will want to know all of the whys and hows, but you’ll have to wait for now and check back for the next installment. Oh, and if that’s not enough excitement for one day, these four will likely be joined by four others…

They are ready to come. Now we need your help to give them the ultimate gift of sanctuary!!

We must extend an enormous thank you to Mariana, the new Director of the Mendoza Zoo for seeing that change was needed and making the progressive choice to put the elephants first. Getting elephants out of a zoo and into sanctuary can be a struggle that lasts for many years (as some of you know all too well.) It is phenomenal to be working with a zoo that is very willingly giving their elephants over to provide them with a better life.

Pocha and Guillermina at Mendoza ZooMany of you may know of the Mendoza Zoo from Arturo the polar bear. For years he was the poster child for all that is wrong with zoos, everything about him spelled misery. Tragically, Mariana did not have time to move Arturo before he passed away earlier this year. Gone but not forgotten, new beginnings are being created to give the elephants and other zoo animals the chance at life that Arturo was denied.

The Mendoza zoo was recently in the news again with the announcement that Cecilia the chimpanzee was granted Habeas Corpus. This was a groundbreaking ruling, setting a precedent that sanctuary is the perceived logical choice that animals would choose if we could understand their voice and their true desires.

Change is happening, for elephants, chimpanzees, whales and this is just the beginning. South America is stepping up as the new global leader for progressive animal protection. For the elephants, we are all here to help usher in a brighter future.

Kenia at Mendoza Zoo


  1. REPLY
    Deb says

    Mariana, Director of Mendoza Zoo, thank you thank you thank you for agreeing to these 4 beautiful creatures moving to the sanctuary where they can live out their lives as they were meant to. Thank u for putting their well being first. You are a compassionate & beautiful human being. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    To the sanctuary – thank you thank you for ALL of your hard work. You are literally lifesavers for these beautiful animals.

  2. REPLY
    Joanne Paris says

    I thank you with all my heart for understanding that animals are a gift to our planet to be respected, loved, and given the environment in which they are both safe and will thrive.

    Please let me know if you are in need of volunteers to assist you in this mission of love.

  3. REPLY
    Marie says

    This is wonderful news! I will donate asap

  4. REPLY
    Sheila says


    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      The distance from Mendoza to the sanctuary is almost the same as Lady’s trip- 2100 miles

      It will be 3 separate trips. Pocha and Guillermina will come together although they will travel in different containers. Kenya will come after on her own, once her habitat is done. Tamy’s area needs funding before we can even start construction.

      Transport for Pocha and Guillermina may happen within the first 4 months of 2020, it will depend on each elephant before them being settled in. Kenya would come a couple of months later. We don’t have any timeline for Tamy, it depends on fundraising.

      Mendoza initially stated they would pay for the relocations, with a change in government we are not sure how that will go.

  5. REPLY
    Elizabeth Hook says

    What is the status of this transfer?

    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      The status of the Mendoza4 can be found on the Current Progress page. This is the most recent update as shown on that page:

      The governor publicly signed a document confirming the transfer of Pocha and Guillermina to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. His support, due to the controversy of the elephants leaving Argentina, is a significant public state. Hopefully, it will also help the bureaucratic process go a little more smoothly.

      Kenya and Tamy were also mentioned in the decree signed by the governor of Mendoza.

  6. REPLY
    Pippa savage says

    Thank you brave new director of the zoo. Doing the right thing.

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