above: Lady at the zoo

Captivity Has Taken an Excruciating Toll on Lady

Lady’s feet are in need of extensive care, but in order to be able to do this, she will first need to learn the basics of positive reinforcement training. This will require lots of patience, understanding, and goodies. We use everything from pineapple and watermelon to fruit loops and acerola cherries. Once we can earn her trust and she learns how to present her feet, then we can start with some trimming and get more of an idea of the depth of damage. We are purchasing multiple types of treatments from the states to give us the best chance at having what she needs. We already know we will need the pad treatment and protectant- Lady has obvious and extensive cavities on her pads, but unfortunately, there will be more that we uncover.

Lady at the zoo

Ways to Support Lady’s Healing

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Become Lady’s Ele-guardian

“But then you look at her feet, and your heart sinks.  Of the dozens of captive elephants we have known, her feet are in the top three worst.”

Lady's Upcoming Rescue


Lady is an adorable, fuzzy, 50-year old elephant that immediately brings a warm smile to your face. But then you look at her feet, and your heart sinks. Of the dozens of captive elephants we have known, her feet are in the top three worst. Lady is suffering from years of debilitating foot disease that needs immediate and intensive care. Elephant Sanctuary Brazil has 45 days to rescue Lady and bring her home where we can begin to earn her trust and help heal her body.

Since Lady lives in Brazil, her move can take place fairly quickly. Our team needs to assess other possible health issues to plan her transport in the safest way possible. The drive will be similar in length to Rana’s rescue, but Lady’s body is not as strong.

The expense and time put into her recovery will be significant, but Lady deserves a chance at healing and happiness. At this point, her condition is so far progressed that we do not expect her feet to ever fully recover. Our goal will to improve their condition and make her much more comfortable, along with the emotional healing sanctuary and other elephants bring.


Click on photos to read.

Lady's Story


An ex-circus elephant, Lady was confiscated in 2013 and sent to live at the João Pessoa zoo, where she currently resides.  Her circus owner transitioned to the zoo to be one of her keepers. According to officials related to the zoo, her foot disease was already evident at that time. We visited the zoo several years ago, offering a home to Lady, but the zoo decided against it. This year Animal Protection Associations filed a Public Civil Action against the City Hall of João Pessoa and IBAMA (Brazil’s agricultural agency) seeking, among other requests, the transfer of Lady to a more suitable location. The reasoning stated was that Lady is in dire need of highly specialized care, a habitat more conducive to her species and development, and the companionship of others of her kind. After a lengthy legal battle, Elephant Sanctuary Brazil joined the process, and through many conversations, everyone involved has decided that the best place for Lady is Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, and a judicial agreement was signed.

above: Lady at the zoo

Sanctuary Awaits Lady


Maia, Guida and rainbows