Mendoza4 Update: The Process of Giving Them Their Second Chance

This is Tamy, he is one of the four elephants that the Mendoza Zoo has agreed to send to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. As you may have already picked up on from past posts, I am absolutely in love with this tired boy. Although he is labeled a ‘killer’ and is surrounded by fear, there is an undeniable sweetness to his face. We know sanctuary can allow him to heal.

The process continues on with all of the Mendoza4 elephants. We always knew it would be a long one. With needing to raise the funds for and build 2 new habitats and an expansion on the female Asian habitat, the task is significant. Progress continues to be made and our intention (both the zoo and GSE) is still to bring all four to sanctuary.

The current 20-acre expansion that is under development is what will allow the licensing in Brazil to accept Pocha and Guillermina (the two female Asian elephants, mother and daughter.) We could try and file for them with the existing area, but it will take less time to do it for the new one.

As we posted, the African barn exterior is done and now the interior is next. Funds still have to be raised for the fencing for that area. Tamy’s entire habitat has yet to be built or funded. Because there are other female Asian and African elephants also waiting, they were the priority. It’s not because his rescue is any less important. Unfortunately, in captivity, males always get the short end of the stick and we would like that to change for him.

Paperwork is a seemingly forever on-going process. GSE had to work with one of the agricultural organizations to essentially write the sanitary requirements for elephants to come into Brazil from another country. Those have been finalized, but both Chile and Argentina are still waiting to receive them from MAPA.

In the meanwhile, the zoos are beginning or continuing with the needed training for the testing required for the elephants’ mandatory 30-day quarantine. This quarantine will have to take place in their existing homes and include both blood and trunk wash testing.

Along with these requirements, there is licensing in both countries and CITES import and export permits. The first step is licensing by Brazil to accept the elephants, but we cannot receive this license until the habitats are complete and approved. Once we have this “LO” then the other country can proceed and both can move forward with CITES. This multi-step process is the same for all elephants coming from outside of Brazil.

As for the Mendoza4, it still has yet to be decided if all four elephants will come at once or if Pocha and Guillermina will come first. This is a decision that is being jointly discussed. Both options have benefits and drawbacks, but the elephants and their training may determine the outcome for us.

Importing elephants into Brazil has essentially been a progress started from scratch. There were no existing rules and regulations for elephants and everyone involved wants to make sure nothing goes wrong. We are hopeful that after the first international rescue, things will move forward more expeditiously for other elephants.

If you would like to keep track of our progress with development, which dictates the rescues, you can visit this page: if you would like to learn more about each of the Mendoza elephants, you can go here

We will continue to keep you posted on any major changes, but most of the victories along the way are small (although they may seem huge to us,) so there is a lot of quiet moments in between.

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