Male Asian Elephant
(also known as Tami)
WAITING FOR SANCTUARY
50 years old
Ecoparque Mendoza, Argentina
Quiet and watchful with some aggressive tendencies
Ex-circus elephant: approximately 10 years; living in Mendoza for over 30 years
Intermittent loose stool, limited range of motion in wrist, no medical testing done
Lacking the muscle tone a male should have
Guillermina’s dad – he was gentle when interacting with her through the steel gate that separated them
His Story From Circus then Zoo...
As we approach Tamy on our initial visit to the zoo (now Ecoparque Mendoza), I am told it’s ok to move closer but with caution.
Tamy often throws rocks; he is visibly frustrated and attempting to establish boundaries. He clearly does not trust his keepers, and the feeling is mutual. His reputation as a killer proceeds him. But as the elephants in our past have shown us, captive elephants are merely a product of their environment; they are what we make them.
Tragically, until now, those who surround Tamy and care for him, operate with fear. This is the life of a male elephant in captivity: not only void of stimulation and companionship but of any emotional support. Today we bring respect and empathy.
When Tamy is able to wander the valleys and hills of Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, he will be free to discover who he truly is. Based on the first few hours of knowing him, who he is, in the core of his being, is far from a killer.
Tamy’s gentle eyes and soft face, his calm approach and tender affection with Guillermina through the steel gate that divides them, are the first signs of his inner spirit. He is a little withdrawn, curious, but not overly engaging. He walks calmly with his spine protruding more than we would like to see. As a mature male, his physical stature should be imposing though he appears weak, but not frail. The struggles of his past show on his weary face.
Sanctuary will change this! With exercise, balanced nutrition, and motivation to explore, we’ll see his bulk return. He’ll soon carry the physical presence that speaks clearly of his masculinity. More importantly, he’ll soon know that he is and will always be respected and honored for his inner nature. This is not to say that he won’t lash out or establish boundaries; this is also an important part of his journey, as he tests our knowledge and challenges our respect. But, for the first time, whoever he chooses to be, he will be embraced and loved.
At sanctuary, respect, understanding, and empathy are always held at the foreground, forming the basis for listening and, ultimately, mutual trust. Creating this safe space allows elephants to begin a miraculous healing journey and recover from decades-old traumas.
We are preparing a space where Tamy can live out the rest of his life in nature, surrounded by others of his own kind and revered for simply being an elephant. In order to remove Tamy from the sterile life he knows now, we are completing a habitat specific to Asian male elephants. The initial habitat will contain three smaller shift yards attached to two 20-acre yards. As of this writing, our team has completed the male Asian barn and training chutes, along with a retaining wall to protect the barn during rainy season. We are in the process of completing the fencing for the yards, which must be significantly taller and more reinforced than that of the female enclosures.
Tamy is a sweet soul in need of nurturing. All of us at GSE are looking forward to offering him a life that very few male elephants in captivity will ever have. We can’t wait to see him in open space and able to vent some of his testosterone through exploration of his environment and play. And eventually, ideally, by sparring with another male. His chance to leave the zoo is one in a million. Thank you for being a part of making it happen.
...to Waiting for Sanctuary
Brazilian License Obtained
30-Day In-House Quarantine
Tamy will need some training before he can be transported to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. The ecoparque at Mendoza will be giving him access to Pocha and Guillermina’s enclosure, but they must first make it safe for males, which means adding some reinforcements. Once that occurs, Tamy can begin learning some positive reinforcement training for the behaviors he’ll need to get permit approval for relocation. He has never had face-to-face contact with his caregivers before, so there is a lot of trust that must be built between Tamy and those who will begin his training. It will not be a short road for Tamy, but each long road begins with first steps.