Update on Guillermina: How Is She Doing?

We know that the question primarily on some of your minds at the moment is: How is Guillermina handling the passing of her mother? The best answer we can give is to say she’s doing better than we thought she might. Because Guille spent almost all of her 24 years only a few feet away from her mother and their bond was both strong and unique, there was no way to predict how she would process the loss. Additionally, Guille is young. The mid-twenties for an elephant is similar to late teenage years in humans, so (like some humans) elephants in that age group often don’t have a great grasp on impulse control when it comes to their emotions. For Guillermina, that means that she can shift from soft and affectionate to more defiant in just a few moments, something we’ve seen from her for the past few years, dating back to her behavior in Mendoza. . 

All animals, humans included, process grief differently and, since we are still in the process of getting to know Guille, it was hard to predict how she’d approach getting through this difficult time. Truthfully, she’s handling it with more grace than we might have predicted, though she (justifiably) struggles at times. We haven’t seen her show anxiety as much as sadness, which is encouraging. Though watching her deal with sorrow can be difficult, the mental and emotional strain that comes with loss has the potential to overwhelm any elephant, not just one who is young. She’s not leaning into that element of stress at the moment. There is definitely a chance that, given how intensely Guille can express herself at times, her responses could change as days go by. But, so far, her reactions have been encouraging, and it’s heartening to see the other elephants rally around her in her time of need. 

The  night of Pocha’s death, everyone stayed up with Guille; the second night we think most of them were awake together for most of the night. So by the next morning, all of the girls appeared to need a nap. All now seem okay and Guillermina is spending about 90-95% of her time in their company; every once in a while she will go for a walk on her own, seemingly needing to burn off energy that she’s not sure what to do with. She hasn’t been spending much time during the day in the smaller yards near where Pocha is buried, but she does come closer at night. Both Rana and Maia have walked to the smaller yards with Guille in the evenings. She was slightly pushy with Rana one evening, but Rana stayed with her until Maia arrived before leaving. We’ve never seen Guillermina act out physically toward Maia; though Maia is the one elephant who appears completely dominant over Guille in Guille’s mental pecking order, Guille seems to have the strongest pull towards her. Because of the wide range of personalities of the other elephants, there’s always someone who can help meet Guillermina where she is at emotionally, simply due to their individual natures. 

There have been a couple of hours when Guillermina was seemingly angry with the world but, so far, she’s primarily taken out her frustrations on a bucket that she took from Bambi – which she stomped, kicked, tossed, but eventually gave back. All things considered, that’s a measured response when you take into account the grief she could be feeling. Later that morning, Guille went into the area of Yard 4 where the others were spending time and seemed much more settled emotionally. They will touch her and be sweet when it seems that she needs that. It wouldn’t be surprising if Guillermina has more moments of frustration or anger; that’s only natural. The most promising thing we can report about Guillermina today is that things don’t seem remotely as heavy for her as they could. We continue to be encouraged by her state of mind. Of course, we are extremely attentive to her needs and are spending additional time with her but, up until now, she has been taking advantage of her sanctuary support herd and processing her loss at her own careful pace. 

For those who may have missed it, we hope to have a preliminary necropsy report this week which will allow us to share details of what was found regarding Pocha’s passing. Until that point, there is nothing more we can share other than what has already been posted. For those who will find healing in additional answers, we will all try to be patient together.


  1. REPLY
    Pam says

    Thank you so much for this detailed report about Guillermina. She is so much on my mind and in my heart right now. May the loving support from her herd, from her human family at Sanctuary, and from all of us at a distance who are surrounding her with our spiritual arms, assist in her processing her emotions and healing her grief, in time.

  2. REPLY
    Cintia Abney says

    Guille, healing loving lights towards you sweetheart 💚💚💚🧚🏻🧚🏻🧚🏻💚💚❤️

  3. REPLY
    Deanna says

    Thank you ! 🐘🕯❤️ Guillermina we are holding you up with love from afar sweet girl. 🐘💕🦋

  4. REPLY
    wa says

    Your updates are so helpful. I am griveing as though Pocha were a member of my family! The way this has been handled makes me proud to a memver of GSE. Thank you….

  5. REPLY
    Glena says

    Your updates are so helpful. I am griveing as though Pocha were a member of my family! The way this has been handled makes me proud to a memver of GSE. Thank you….

  6. REPLY
    Melinda says

    It’s very encouraging to learn she is coping pretty well. I have lost both my parents and a sister, but not at Guille’s tender age. She has an incredible support system, and I’m sure will get through this ok.

  7. REPLY
    Rosemary F. says

    So sorry for your loss. Prayers go out to Guille and the entire Global Sanctuary family. Sending much love from California USA.
    RIP Pocha. 💔

  8. REPLY
    Barb says

    Thank you for updating us. I am still trying to comprehend Pocha is gone. But thank goodness she had time at ESB and especially since Guillermina has family to comfort her.

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    María Elizabeth Alvarez says

    Thank you!!!

  10. REPLY
    Jenny says

    Thank you for keeping us updated. I also worry about how you, her human caretakers, are doing. It must be very, very hard to comprehend and deal with.

  11. REPLY
    Finn Jørgensen Lock says


  12. REPLY
    Rand Cooley says

    Good to hear imagine if she were still in that concrete pit ALONE . You folks are angels I know you will demur but you are. Thank God you were there for Guille

  13. REPLY
    Helen LeBrecht says


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    Susan says

    Thank you for the update. I really appreciate that you are letting Guille have and express whatever feelings of grief that are coming up for her. I like that she has a place to go when she feels like it that is similar to people’s grave sites. As you said, they were basically velcroed to each other for Guille’s whole life.

  15. REPLY
    Wim says

    Much to read and think about for everyone.
    May Guille stay brave and balanced.
    Let it be a blessing to have many caring aunts.

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    Carey says


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    Cheryl Thornton says

    Your beautiful writings provide so much comfort for all. I look forward to reading more about how all are doing since Pocha’s sad death. I hope we all can provide some comfort to you and the other staff members. With you all Pocha was able to know real love and know and feel the freedom she so deserved. Thank you

  18. REPLY
    Dr. Jim Bonura says

    Heartbreaking. She’s so sad!!!!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      She has much support though – and that can make so much difference.

  19. REPLY
    Tammy says

    Thank you for our updates as you know we anxiously wait for news on how Guille and the girls are coping so glad they have each other to lean on but I’ve been thinking with all things considered Pocha passed away in the closest place to Heaven possible surrounded by love in this beautiful Sanctuary her home and not in that awful cement pit she was forced to endure for so many decades so yes in my eyes there is sunshine peeking through the clouds and a double rainbow over her so rest in peace sweet Pocha 🙏🐘💞

  20. REPLY
    Julie says

    I’m definitely not an expert on her behavior before her Mama passed, but this video seems to show she doesn’t know much what to do with herself. She seems lost. I have a feeling her psychic peace is going to be a hard fought battle. I am praying for the sweet dear!

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      There is no way to know, of course. She has her “aunties” to stand with her, which will hopefully make things easier.

  21. REPLY
    Julie says

    And is she happening by her Mama’s resting place much?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Not that much. She is spending much of her time with the other girls near the pond and out by Lollipop Tree.

  22. REPLY
    Debra says

    I believe that this loss is not a surprise for Guille. The bond between these two seemed so tight given their lives alone with each other in their former prison. I do not know how but do think that Pocha conveyed her physical feelings to her daughter and may have even given her the strength she needed to be without her in their new paradise with a new family to join. Grateful that she was able to leave her with the others, and with the dedicated humans who care for them daily. Thank you all again and peace to hour hearts today.

  23. REPLY
    Susy says

    Gracias GSE por compartir el estado de ánimo de nuestra querida Guille. Gracias por leer nuestras consultas y dudas. Me cuesta muchas lágrimas no ver a reacciono de que ya no está… pero tenemos, tanto ustedes como nosotros, que fortalecernos para poder acompañar de la mejor manera a la pequeña Gui. No dejen de comunicarse ..estoy pendiente de lo que escriben. quita un poco la tristeza. Gracias

  24. REPLY
    Bonnie says

    Thank you all for the update on Gullie I was reading about her in today’s post Animals are like humans they feel and know lost and get mad and angry because they don’t what that person to nerve be gone but she has her Auntie’s and she will be ok parents are our rock

  25. REPLY
    Janine Proctor says

    It is such a sad time for Guille, I know what it’s like to lose a mother, so her pain must be unbearable sometimes. I thank you from the bottom of my heart that you and her sisters are there to help her get through her heartbreaking time. You have shown her that there is still some goodness in this world❤️

  26. REPLY
    Viviana Gallo says

    He perdido a mis padres cuando era joven y todavía los extraño. Han pasado 20 años y muchas veces siento frustración y enojo. Encontré consuelo en mi familia y mis amigos… por eso sé que Guillermina encontrará alivio en la compañía de su nueva familia, sus tías elefantas y su familia humana. Aún así la ausencia es dura… el tiempo la ayudará a curar el dolor. Bendigo a todos ustedes en el santuario que están atentos a su bienestar. Dios los bendiga.

  27. REPLY
    Linda says

    This is still so sad and I hope Guille continues to get through this with your help and the help of her herd. What a loss this must be for her and how confusing. I hope she will be alright. I can’t imagine how bad you must feel and how bad the rest of your employees at the sanctuary must feel also. Thank you for the updates on mom and daughter. I hope the necropsy shows a “natural” death for Pocha, that is was naturally her time to leave the earth and that it was a painless and calm process for her. Oh my god this is so sad…….

  28. REPLY
    Maureen McGill says

    Thank you for the updates. Following their story for so long we feel great sadness at Pocha’s passing and for Guille’s loss. You are doing a great job as are the wonderful ellies at you sanctuary.

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