Pocha and Guillermina, mother and daughter from Mendoza, Argentina, are our next two rescues. We are excited to share an update today!
Trainers Karissa and Chrissy have been issued visas for Argentina, which allows us to take the next steps. Once they receive their negative COVID test results (required for travel), they will be headed to Argentina to begin working with Pocha (age 55) and Guillermina (age 21) extensively. They will also spend time working with (and spoiling!) the other two elephants at Mendoza—Kenya (a female African elephant) and Tamy (a male Asian elephant). All four will eventually be re-homed with us in Brazil. Only Pocha and Guillermina will come on the first trip.
In addition to CITES permits, which are already in place, to move an elephant internationally, the elephant must undergo a 30-day, in-place quarantine with regular blood draws and trunk washes. Pocha and Guillermina are not fully trained for these behaviors yet. Karissa and Chrissy will use positive-reinforcement training to teach them these necessary behaviors. It’s hard to say how long the training will take, because it is entirely individual. That said, they sell FrootLoops in Argentina, which certainly helps. On her last trip, Guillermina became obsessed with FrootLoops. If Pocha was in a training session and earned FrootLoops, Guillermina would hear the bag crinkle and come running, even if she was in the middle of her own training session. Her mom was not allowed to eat FrootLoops without her. Karissa ultimately had to keep the FrootLoops in a bowl so Guillermina wouldn’t know when Pocha earned the best treats. Once Pocha & Guillermina are trained, they will begin their 30-day, in-place quarantine. Once that is complete, they are coming to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil to have the life they deserve. Guillermina was born in the pit, and she will see the world for the first time.
The needed training and required quarantine means we are still at least eight weeks from their arrival home, possibly longer. Excitingly, Karissa and Chrissy will be writing updates for social media. So while we can’t give you a date just yet, you can celebrate training milestone along with Karissa, Chrissy, and our entire team!
Photo of Pocha (left) and Guillermina (right).