Sanctuary Memory: Joaquim’s Brief Moment With the Girls

As part of this month’s Sanctuary Memory series, Scott shares a brief moment with one of our employees that meant a lot to him:

The maintenance staff at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil often fill their days with manual work, doing repairs and construction; because those tasks don’t involve direct contact with the elephants, their jobs can have more of a regular day-to-day feel. Scott remembers an afternoon when Joaquim, our longest-working employee, had a nice moment with the elephants. 

Joaquim had taken the water tanker to fill the mud wallow and Scott was standing nearby. Mara and Rana were there, and we all know how much they love a mud bath. Once Joaquim was finished, Scott looked over and saw him smiling ear-to-ear. “The girls were being super silly and playful, as they often are in the mud. Joaquim seemed filled with joy to see them playing and watching them move in a way he’d never seen before. When the elephants play, they have a different sense about them than when they are walking around the habitat.” It was likely the first time Joaquim had witnessed this side of their personalities.

Scott remembers, “When they are playing, the elephants can get really silly, putting their heads in the dirt, playing in the water, and opening up their mouths.” Most of our non-caregiving workers at the sanctuary don’t have the opportunity to see the elephants up close very often. “It was great to see someone who has been here for so long and who has been such a huge part of this sanctuary see elephants doing things they are supposed to be doing.” Our workers know they do important things and are part of a bigger picture, but it was a truly special moment watching him see and feel what it really means to be part of a project like ours. There is a pride there that can’t be put into words.

Photo of Maia, who is well known for her love of mud


  1. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Yes, JOY, is good for our soul!

  2. REPLY
    Samantha says

    Thanks to Joaquim for helping take care of the girls.

  3. REPLY
    Carol Ray says

    I’m so happy that Joaquim was lucky enough to witness the girls being who they ARE, in a special moment. Thank you to Joaquim, and all the other behind-the-scene folks at the Sanctuary, who make it so. We fans of ESB SEE you, and are profoundly grateful for all the tasks that you do to make things wonderful for our girls. Hugs from Delta, BC, Canada!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you from all of us. It’s always a joy to be reminded of the big picture. Many on our staff are quiet, so his smile spoke volumes.

  4. REPLY
    Barb says

    Wonderful tribute to Joaquim and the joy he experienced from his efforts!

  5. REPLY
    carey says

    Nice, hard work rewarded, thank you Joaquin.

  6. REPLY
    Wim says

    Some guys have all the fun.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Haha. I’m sure it was very fun for him. It would be for me. All of our workers are great, but he’d probably welcome your help for some “fun” fence building. 😉

  7. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    How wonderful that Joaquim got to experience the girls at play. I would have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I can only magine being near such magnificent beings. Paradise on earth.

  8. REPLY
    Beji says

    Some moments in our lives are remembered forever. This is one of them. Mud buds forever!

  9. REPLY
    Gail Lindley says

    I am happy that Joaquin was able to have this special moment. I would like for all of us to experience that private peaceful moment. Thank you to all the people that make this possible.

  10. REPLY
    Anella Stewart says

    Oh my, I’d love to have seen a video of those precious moments. Priceless, just like our beautiful lovable girls. Thanks to all at GSE whose hard work & commitment make it all possible….God bless.

  11. REPLY
    Marcia Brixius says

    This video showing actual foot care technique was SO interesting! I hope you post more videos giving us insight into the techniques used to care for our girls and reaction to their maintenance.

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