New Radiographic X-Ray Equipment – A Generous Gift

Elephant Sanctuary Brazil was recently gifted a portable radiography system by an incredibly generous donor; this is an expensive x-ray system that we would never have been able to afford on our own at this time, considering our current expansion plans. The radiographic equipment will allow us to examine the state of each elephant’s feet, which is important, since foot and joint disease are among the leading causes of elephant death in captivity. Of course, we will be using it to track the progression of disease in Lady’s feet, but we can also look closely at every other elephant’s feet. While we’d like to believe that Lady is the only elephant here who suffers from foot disease, elephants are incredibly stoic and are masters at masking their pain. And just because a foot looks healthy on the outside does not mean it is healthy internally. 

We can also use the machine to x-ray the other sick or injured animals at the sanctuary. We have already used it on some chickens and a wild bird we were rehabbing, and were able to examine Milo on a day when he was recently ill. Having this capability is extremely valuable when it comes to wildlife, since it is often impossible to bring them 3 hours into the city for an x-ray without significant stress, which can be detrimental to a wild animal. Should we need to use it on any of our residents in an emergency, it is nice to know we will have that technology available. 

Lady was our elephant assistant as we tested out the machine since she has the most experience with presenting her feet – and she had a wonderful attitude throughout. She had to present both of her front feet a number of times and at different angles, at different training areas inside of the barn. Scott welded a holder for the x-ray plate because, not only does the elephant’s foot have to be placed in the same precise position each time, but that plate also has to be carefully situated at the same location for every scan. This is the only way we can ensure that we get consistent results with each use. Of course, Lady got plenty of treats and lots of praise throughout the process and probably would have continued on if we’d asked.

Our team talked to a technician who works for the x-ray company, consulting with other facilities that perform elephant x-rays, and he was able to offer some suggestions on how things might be improved. We know that Lady’s feet (and potentially the feet of other elephants here) won’t be healed, but understanding their current state and how that may change over time can help us to make the best decisions about how to care for her moving forward. 

Again, many thanks to our generous donor, whose gift will be a valuable tool for us for many years to come.

Photo of Lady presenting her foot for a treatment in the habitat.


  1. REPLY
    Carol says

    Such a beautiful and generous contribution to sanctuary. Bless their heart(s)!!!

  2. REPLY
    Deb Durham says

    This is a beautiful and well deserved gesture. Such a wonderful time for you and all the hard work you do for these wonderful elephants.

  3. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Seems a THANK YOU to the donor is not enough, but that’s all I have. It comes with gratefulness and a sense of relief for my spirit, which has been overcome with emotion lately due to so much suffering around the world. I look forward to hearing more about how this donor gift continues to help GSE Brazil better diagnose and treat all the creatures in the sanctuary. 👏 💝

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      It certainly is nice to see good things happen when things sometimes feel overwhelming. This will make a big difference in our lives here, and in the lives of all the elephants.

  4. REPLY
    Barb says

    My goodness it makes me so happy to think of the generosity of loving people! Thank you for the care and love of such a remarkable gift,

  5. REPLY
    Christine J Strickling says

    Lady is so darn cute. It looks like she’s even smiling. That was very generous of your donor and I hope they receive many blessings for such a gift. I wish that all elephants could feel the love that so many people have for them.

  6. REPLY
    Tracy H says

    God bless the generosity of people who gift out of love for these amazing special girls.
    Lady is such a cutie pie. 🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘.

  7. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    That’s a wonderful and generous gift! It will help all the residents.

  8. REPLY
    John says

    Such great news! There are so many wonderful things happening for the sanctuary.

  9. REPLY
    Susan Flewelling says

    MANY THANKS to an absolutely fantastic and kindhearted donor. It is obvious that this machine will be put to good use for many years to come.

  10. REPLY
    Suzanne Eaton says

    What a wonderful and generous gift to GSE for the care of our beloved elephant family now and in the future. A big “thank you” to the donor for your love of elephants and GSE.❤️🐘

  11. REPLY
    Wim says

    That’s a wonderful and precious gift. Miracles do happen this gives you a powerful tool. 🙏❤️

  12. REPLY
    Lori Hoover says

    I can’t help but smile and be proud of Lady and all her help with the new xray system. That girl is just full of surprises sometimes.

  13. REPLY
    Carole Kramer says

    This makes me cry with joyful tears. Bless the anonymous donor! Bless you all at Global Sanctuary for Elephants Brazil and a huge hooray for Lady’s willing patience to participate in the new technology trials! Hip hip HOORAY!!! 🐘🐘🐘🐘🐘😂🎉💜☮️

  14. REPLY
    Marylouise Sillman says

    I would like to say Thank You to the very generous unknown Doner. It is heartwarming to know that many Elephants will feel less pain due to this Gift

  15. REPLY
    Mary says

    Thank goodness to the generosity of heart and wallet!

  16. REPLY
    Anita J says

    If I was a believer I would pray for this person’ health and happiness and more wealth. As it is I am sending my heart felt thanks and gratitute! Amazing gift. Amazing generosity. Love to all💖💖

  17. REPLY
    Andrea says

    Thank you very special donor! You’re helping so many wonderful creatures – big and small- be healthier and happier!

  18. REPLY
    Rosie says

    This is absolutely brilliant but I hope you also have lead aprons to protect the humans doing the X-rays?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We are taking all of the necessary safety precautions. But thank you so much for your concern and excitement. It’s going to be such a helpful tool.

  19. REPLY
    Rosie says

    Oh, that is good to hear. I used to be a radiographer so please excuse me for showing concern. I want you all to be safe.
    I would also like to say a million thank yous to the amazing donor. What a great asset this equipment will be.


    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We appreciate your thoughts about our wellbeing. It means a lot to know you care.

  20. REPLY
    Sandra Paquet says

    I love Lady’s face and her foot being presented to you for her x-ray! What a fantastic donation to the elephant sanctuary. Happy for you guys and all the elephants there, such a great gift.

  21. REPLY
    Beji says

    Wow! Way generous! Wish I had his money! Then, you would have it. ? Is there something you need, maybe a little less costly, that we could send to you directly? I’ve bought them fruit loops and everyone I know, a t-shirt. I still have a few bucks left. Can I leave a legacy in my husband’s name???

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      What a lovely thought. Thank you so much! There are several ways to give, and we appreciate any amount our supporters are able to donate. It means more than you know. You can visit this section of our website for some different options:

  22. REPLY
    JoAnn Merriman-Eaton says

    Hopefully this generous donor is reading the posts from each thankful person on this blog. I wish I could thank him/her in person. This will be so beneficial of the staff, and for the long term health of our beloved elephants, and all animals that need medical evaluation at GSE.

  23. REPLY
    Carey says

    Yes I also hope that this amazing donor is aware of our heartfelt thanks, what a very useful bit of kit for the very particular foot health issues that ex-zoo and circus elephants have. To know exactly what the condition their feet are in will be such a help. Good idea making a fixed place for foot presentation, handy skill welding!

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