Pelusa: There Are No Major Changes At This Point

Pelusa at La Plata ZooPelusa is still lying down, this photo was taken a few weeks ago. There are no major changes at this point.

This is a message that Scott sent to me in the wee hours of the morning.

“On my way to Argentina to help Suz and the dedicated team of La Plata to do all that we can for Pelusa. In truth, we’ll do all that we can within the limitation of honoring Pelusa first and foremost. In this moment, looking out through the east window on the other side of the plane we’re cruising just above a tranquil blanket of clouds as the rays of the sun begin to peak out and over the horizon. The scene begs me to stop and savor the moment and it succeeds, but just for a moment. My mind quickly returns to Pelusa, oscillating between thoughts about the logistics, her health, wonder about what I’ll arrive to see and sorrow about the possibility that she may never make it to feel the touch of Maia and Guida.

In times of crisis my mind instinctually turns to logistic mode navigating the possibilities that will exist upon arrival, thinking about the tangibles, equipment, body position, personnel and team dynamics and running through the list of what comes first when I finally arrive to Pelusa’s side. The first flight out last night was fully booked, if it weren’t, I’d already be by her side. Sitting here now, still 8 hours from my arrival to the zoo, it feels like an eternity away. Between now and then she may raise back to her feet which creates an entirely new set of elements. Or she may pass peacefully to a world where she is free from all of the hardships that captivity has brought to her life. Yet, even with the unknowns of what Is to come, my mind continues to wander in preparation for what is to come. My brow furrowed with concern and preoccupations, until, seemingly out of nowhere, I feel the smile return with thoughts of Maia and Guida radiating in all directions, rumbling to one another and soon to be venturing out in search of fresh palms.

We’ve talked in the past about caregivers needing to know themselves first, who we are, what are our predispositions, knowing how the forces of life influence how we act. This understanding is pivotal to our ability to properly assess and care for the elephants. When we know our pitfalls, we can take actions to avoid getting pulled away from what really matters. In moments like today, I can’t help but to focus on the tangible elements but I can get stuck there, wondering what else we can do. When Kat and I are together she knows me well enough to observe the shift and simple say “where are you?”

One time back in the year 2001, Barbara (the elephant, goddess, angel, mentor for all) had just passed away, I was feeling that we should have done more. I did not know what “more” constituted but the questions and doubts were everywhere. One of our veterinarians and another angel and mentor said to me; “there is always more that we can do, but what is it that we should do?” This statement still helps to bring me back to the present in times just like this. While my brain circles analyzing how to best help Pelusa, I hear Kat’s voice saying where are you? and Dr. Lori Tapp’s voice reminding me to find the balance between can and should.

Sitting here now, seemingly a life time away, I know the first step when I arrive to La Plata will be to step back, observe, listen and feel the next steps. Our minds know how to do what needs to be done but it’s our intuition, the gut feeling that guides us to stay within the realm of what should we do.”

We wanted to say thank you for all of the healing, well wishes and prayers that are being sent to Pelusa. Although we don’t have time to address comments the love is very sweet. I did want to quickly mention two things- first, Scott has unfortunately had significant experience with lifting elephants who have gone down, we know about cranes, straps etc. Those kind of recommendations aren’t needed, we promise. Second, the statement about an elephant lying down, putting pressure on vital organs and killing them is a myth perpetrated by those who benefit from having an excuse to euthanize an elephant within 24-hours of them going down. There is no proof of this, only to the contrary. The statement used to be if it was more than four hours, which Misty defied almost every day at nap time with her 6-10 hour naps. But if you look at stories throughout Asia, of elephants who have been down for days and then lifted or were able to get up on their own, you would know that statement is false. Yes, there are certain positions while an elephant is down that are dangerous and lots of specifics, but as a general, please ignore that statement and do not allow for it to be a cause of concern.

Scott’s flight should land in about an hour, but he still has a 1.5 hour drive to get to the zoo. We’ll keep you posted, but keep sending love and light. Wherever this path leads Pelusa, she should know she is not alone and that she is loved.

photo from Fondation Franz Weber

June 3, 2018



June 8: Future Of The Zoo Where Pelusa Passed

June 5: From Suz: Her Service To Pelusa

June 5:  Our Beautiful Lady Has Left Us

June 4:  Pelusa Update From Scott

June 3:  Pelusa: There are No Major Changes At This Point

June 2:  Pelusa Health Update


  1. REPLY
    Susan Hunt says

    Thank you so much for the beautiful update. Pelu could not be in better hands. Whatever Pelu wants to do I know you will be the very best people there to support her. She is on her own journey and I can only pray she wants more than anything to get to the sanctuary. But as you say it is her decision to make. Sending you strength and love. Thank you for taking time to think of us too and send a message. However I understand it needs to be all about Pelusa right now.

  2. REPLY
    Liora Davis says

    It brought tears to my eyes to hear the love and consideration that Scott so eloquently conveys. I pray for whatever is for Pelusa’s highest good, and a secret prayer that she survives and gets to have some wonderful life quality, as much as possible with Guida and Maia. Thank you so much for sharing this and for all of your loving care for these magnificent beings who deserve so much more than most humans have bestowed on them.

  3. REPLY
    Marian says

    Thank you for the updates, beautifully written and full of information.

  4. REPLY
    noel says

    Gracias por intentar ayudar a Pelusa y a scott por venir, lo conocimos a través de los distintos medios periodísticos, soy de Argentina, de la Ciudad de La Plata, estoy muy cerquita de Pelusa, y nos tiene a toda la ciudad preocupados y rogando de que Pelusa mejore, aunque esta muy mal, y se esta muriendo, lamentablemente en un maldito zoologico…. todos en la ciudad teniamos gran expectativa de que pudiera llegar al santuario y poder vivir feliz en un lugar similar a su habitat natural… pero creemos que ya es demasiado tarde, pobre Pelusa, una vida condenada al encierro, llego a la Plata con 2 años, siendo separada de su madre, y hoy tiene 52, sin poder conocer otra cosa que alambrados….Igual quiero destacar que siempre la cuidaron en el zoologico, muchos de sus cuidadores le dieron todo el cariño posible… una verdadera tristeza!!!!

  5. REPLY
    Frank Wang says

    Poor Pelusa, she looks so fragile in the photo, best wishes to her and all of you who take such good care of her.

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