The simple answer: no. Visitation is something we have discussed at length.There is so much emotional healing that needs to take place at sanctuary; we will have elephants with deep-seated insecurities and trust issues. Having people that the elephants don’t know, close to them, can be an issue for some. Some elephants wouldn’t be affected at all, but with elephants at sanctuary, we often plan for the worst and hope for the best. In other words, we have to plan for the one elephant that may take a step backwards in their healing if people they don’t know are close to them, because that is the elephant that will need the most help and have the toughest journey of recovery. This is their home and they truly have to feel, that for the first time in their life, it is all about them. They are no longer on display or need to perform.
That being said, we also know the benefit of having people able to see elephants in a natural habitat, the feeling that comes from being in their presence, and the bond that can form. With the layout of the property, there is the possibility of building an observation deck at the top of a big hill along the border, looking down into the valleys where the elephants will be. There will be no guarantee you will see an elephant, but that is only because they will be doing whatever it is they choose to be doing at that moment.
For now, only small educational groups will be allowed and viewing will be done from a large distance and on a limited basis. For us personally, taking into consideration what elephants have shown us in the past, this is what we see as the best solution to protect their privacy and space, yet allow for educational groups, researchers and a few select others to get a glimpse of what their life is like when allowed to roam on 2800 acres in Brazil. Our first priority is the elephant, once all of the habitats are completed and rescues are here, we can then contemplate the human side of thing. We are also planning on having a camera system in the future, but due to cost, and creating areas for the elephants being the priority, that will not happen initially.