We finally have a bit of news to share from Mendoza. As we mentioned in our last update, the pandemic has been an ongoing impediment to making firm plans about the transport of Pocha and Guillermina to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. Recently, Mendoza has also experienced a cold snap and that, in combination with the Covid-related complications, has raised the level of difficulty in preparing the two for transport. Through it all, the team in Mendoza has remained dedicated, patient, and present for the elephants.
This year, Argentina and much of the southern portion of South America have experienced unusually cold temperatures. When coming out of the barns in the morning, the elephants seek whatever sunshine they can find to warm their bodies before the next cold night. While the ecoparque does have heat in their barns, it is almost impossible to combat the abnormally cold conditions. And there is nothing quite like the feeling of sunshine on a cold winter day to make you feel warm and relaxed. Pocha and Guillermina have often chosen to forgo the special training session treats in exchange for some time in the sun.
One of the primary reasons the Argentinian government supports relocating the elephants is that many facilities’ designs, including Mendoza’s, are unable to allow for sufficient long-term care of the species. At the Mendoza Ecoparque, their limited facilities don’t allow for protected contact training sessions, unless the elephants are willing to go into the lower area of their enclosure – and that is their choice. As you have seen in photos, the enclosure is virtually all below ground level, meaning most human access is only from above the elephants’ heads, except for the two training areas and where the transport crates are located.
This week, thanks to the devotion of the Mendoza team and cooperative elephants, the veterinarians were able to collect two more of the necessary blood samples, one from Pocha and one from Guillermina. With the cold temperatures, the blood in their ears becomes more restricted and limited, making it difficult to take a good sample. The elephants were more tolerant of the procedure than in the past, and this collection marks the next milestone toward their transfer.
We would love to be able to provide you a date for when the two will be transported, but we cannot – nor would it be responsible for us to offer an estimate of time. Although 50% of the population in Argentina is vaccinated against Covid, they have a mandatory 14-day quarantine in place, and transit across the border is limited by both land and air. Please trust that everyone here and our colleagues in Argentina are looking at all possible avenues and talking to the authorities necessary to make the transfer happen at the earliest opportunity. At Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, we see great promise in the progress that is being reported to us. We know you share our optimism, but we must also remind ourselves: things happen all in their own time.
Photo of Pocha (left) and Guillermina (right) by Ignacio Blanco
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Charlotte Hansen saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:09 pm
Thank you for this update.
Kenneth B. Newman saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:11 pm
Thank you VERY much for this update. I was worried about what coronavirus might be doing in terms of both Guillermina’s and Pocha’s diet, plus whether their keepers might have gotten the coronavirus, or if the Ecoparque was doing a good job of looking out for the elephants welfare, but your email is reassuring that the place is under good control and that the elephants are fine. Obviously, the border situation may get worse before it gets better, and since the coronavirus in Brazil has been especially serious, but lets hope that Guillermina and Pocha can arrive by Thanksgiving, or at least by Christmas, if not sooner. That would be great presents for GSE !!!!!
Barb saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:23 pm
Make it so is our most fervent desire! Thank you for updating us and we will continue to be hopeful.
Tammy saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:36 pm
Greatly appreciate the new information at least it’s all moving in the right direction unfortunately it’s a hurry up and wait scenario all things considered its going to happen but faster pretty please 💞🐘💞🐘💞
Sara saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:38 pm
We wish we could make that happen!
Pam Knaggs saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:45 pm
I look forward to the day when these humble animals look up, it will not be to see humans staring down at them, but to see the sun, stars and the beautiful surroundings of sanctuary.
Nancy HartGold saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:46 pm
Thanks for the update, Unfortunately they don’t know yet how wonderful it will be for them when they can finally make it to the sanctuary.
Jennifer saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:50 pm
If all your transport people have been vaccinated I don’t understand what the problem is that they can’t cross the border.
Sara saysAugust 4, 2021 at 5:12 pm
We did not confirm that our team has been able to receive vaccinations. That process is quite complicated at this time and is something that is a priority for us. However, vaccines are not as readily available in Brazil as they are in other countries. However, our ability to transport Pocha and Guillermina has nothing to do with vaccination status. It is dependent on Argentina’s border status. They have a limit on the number of people that can come in or out of the country and a list of countries that are banned from crossing their borders. Things are incredibly strict at this time and, though we are constantly trying to find a way to make things move along more quickly, it is almost entirely out of our hands.
Carol saysAugust 4, 2021 at 2:55 pm
As the proverb says…slow and steady wins the race. Praying for more quickly and steady!💗💗
Wim saysAugust 4, 2021 at 3:08 pm
Thank you for explanations about the current situation.
Must be very stressful and frustrating for all of you.
Wish you strength, courage and much needed safety.
SHEILA saysAugust 4, 2021 at 3:08 pm
THANKS FOR THE UPDATE👍THAT WAS VERY EXCITING TO KNOW THE LADIES GAVE A BLOOD SAMPLE! I FEEL SO SAD THEY HAVE NO HEAT IN THE BARN! YES CLIMATE CHANGE IS COOKING US IN CDA& USA BUT IN ARGENTINA IS IS VERY COLD‼️ JUST NOT FAIR TO THE ANIMALS WHO HAVE LIVED IN A NICE CLIMATE! YES THE COVID QUARINTINE IS THE ISSUE NOW MOSTLY! I WONDER IF GUILLERMINA 🐘and POCHA 🐘 HAVE GONE INTO THE 🚃CONTAINERS❓ SURE HOPE THEY GET TO BRAZIL SOON! IM STILL VERY EXCITED AND AS EACH DAY GOES BY IN THEIR LIVES THEY MISS A DAY IN FREEDOM AND NATURAL HABITAT THAT WILL HELP THEM GET HEALTHIER🙏
Zoi saysAugust 4, 2021 at 3:19 pm
Just yesterday I was checking Current Progress in hope of finding news about P&G, so thank you so much for the update. Coming from the Caribbean and having to bear winters in these last years I can totally related to “there is nothing quite like the feeling of sunshine on a cold winter day to make you feel warm and relaxed”. My appreciation to the wonderful Argentinian team. I’m eager to start counting the dots!!!
Patricia saysAugust 4, 2021 at 3:24 pm
Muchas gracias por las noticias, Espero que pronto puedan viajar y agradezco a los cuidadores mendocinos el cuidado. Desde chica sufro por el zoologico de mendoza, y todos los animales presos
Julie saysAugust 4, 2021 at 3:55 pm
I remain cautiously optimistic thanks to your very welcomed and careful report 😁. So happy Guillermina seems to be growing and is more willing to try new things.
Rache saysAugust 4, 2021 at 3:59 pm
Thank you Sara for the update – much appreciated. As always, I feel a mix of emotions for P&G; sadness for the inability to get them to the sanctuary due to this terrible pandemic, and hope that the day WILL COME. It’s going to be a HUGE celebration when it finally happens.
Anita J saysAugust 4, 2021 at 8:04 pm
Thank you so much for this update! Glad everything is progressing well. And so glad to hear the blood draw was done so another goal reached! Slowly but surely we will get there. My dream for the girls is that it will all happen all of a sudden AND this month still in August! But will NOT blame anyone if that is not possible! The times we are living in are terrible. Unprecedented. All will be well.
Maureen C. Allen saysAugust 4, 2021 at 9:27 pm
The best news is the dauntless devotion of the teams in Brasil and Argentina. Our hopes and hearts are with you. and with these elephants. If only they would wear blankets like the orphan elephants in Africa!
margareta Kjellström saysAugust 5, 2021 at 9:44 am
Keep our fingers crossed that they will be able to cross the border soon!
Katie Howard saysAugust 5, 2021 at 2:40 pm
Wow! I’m impressed that they were able to get blood samples! This IS good news.
I think it’s hard for people in the US and other countries where vaccines are readily available and have had a positive impact, to really comprehend the COVID situation in other countries. The reality in Argentina and Brazil is so very different than our current experience.
Eventually, Pocha and Guillermina will be relocated and that will be a joyous occasion. We need to be patient and persistent. Thank you for not giving up! ❤️🐘🐘❤️
Sara saysAugust 5, 2021 at 3:16 pm
Thank you so much. It can be hard for some to understand, but we know everyone’s heart is in the right place. We want them to come here just as badly and will absolutely get them here the moment we can. Every positive step is something to celebrate, especially when there is so much we can’t control.
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Your ticket for the: Pocha and Guillermina – An Update From Mendoza
Pocha and Guillermina – An Update From Mendoza