First, please allow me to take a minute to thank you for your support and for joining us as we work to create a positive future for so many elephants in desperate need. Together, we have a long road ahead, we know that with your support we will be able to help bring healing days to many elephants, we’ll experience incredible joys and undeniable heartaches.
There will be times that our efforts may be too little to late, we’ll almost always wish that we would have been able to help 5 years earlier but there will be incredible and unmistakable elephant smiles, playful trumpets, squeaks and rumbles. Sanctuary isn’t always perfect but it certainly is pretty spectacular.
The road to developing a sanctuary isn’t always perfect either; we’ve already experienced enormous strides forward and also some substantial setbacks. Throughout the last four weeks we’ve been anticipating making a big announcement, letting you all know where elephant sanctuary Brazil will call home. Each week has brought answers to key questions, often those answers created more questions, yet always leading us in a positive direction. Last Monday, anticipating the final approval we were starting to work on how to announce to the world that we’ve found the property and we’re moving forward, but that wasn’t the word that we received. We had been offered the use of up to 1200 acres by an organization that promotes vegetarianism and compassionate, sustainable living. In late January the board of directors of Global Sanctuary for Elephants decided that this was the best option, free land, opportunity to expand, close to the capitol city and it offered a network of support by the families that invited us to visit and offered the use of the land. This option wasn’t perfect, there were a few issues that carried some concern but those were manageable and the positives certainly outweighed the negatives. On Monday March 31, we received an email that they board of the society that owns the property decided that they didn’t want to proceed, that this property that we’ve been focusing on for 6 weeks will not be the home of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. Needless to say we were devastated and angry, we felt and still feel that we’ve wasted valuable time, elephants like Ramba and Lady are waiting for us, they are counting on us, we are their only option for a healthy, compassionate future.
We are not certain why, but we believe that the board had previously been blinded by the excitement of helping elephants and didn’t fully accept the depth of commitment involved. When you create a sanctuary for elephants the land becomes the elephants’, it isn’t a shared space, it’s truly all for the elephants.
Fortunately, we have an incredible team; we quickly rallied as we jumped into emails and Skype conferences, there’s no time to waste. And, as we usually see in our world, as one door closes another opens. We are actively exploring a few options, one that is closer to Sao Paulo and another that is incredibly remote but promising. The remote property is likely going to be the best option, the city “near-by” to this property (close is a relative term in some parts of Brazil, this town is about an hour away) really wants Elephant Sanctuary Brazil close by, they know that we won’t be open to the public, but they are interested in the educational opportunities this offers and they want to help. We’re not going to share too much at this time, as the discussions are in their infancy and we’ll know a lot more after our partners make the trip north this coming weekend. But it’s promising, it offers more land, likely a little more than 2000 acres, it’s in a region that receives more consistent year round rain fall, there’s diverse topography and vegetation and it’s remote. The biggest downside is the remote location, it will be more challenging logistically, material transport, more limited supply network and we’ll have to start from scratch with creating an infrastructure. When you balance the pros and cons of this property, the elephants win, big time and ultimately that’s what it’s all about.
This is not a guarantee, we still have a lot of questions that need to be answered and issues to be explore. You have all been very generous and supportive and we felt you deserved to hear about our change of course, you’ve been waiting a long time (again relatively speaking –since January) for our big announcement, and you’ll have to wait just a little longer. We’re doing all we can to minimize the time lost, stay tuned for an update next week, hopefully with good news and lots of photos.
Thanks for walking this journey by our side.