We have a tractor!!! This is exciting for a lot of reasons. One reason is that we desperately need a tractor, and another is because it has been a bit of a saga.
Most important information first – it’s shiny red and named Spartacus. ? Maybe.
Last year we held a fundraiser through the Big Payback to raise money for fire prevention equipment. We raised money for an auger, a bush hog, a water trailer, and a used, blue tractor. So far, we were able to purchase everything except for the tractor. It’s challenging to find decent used equipment in Brazil. There isn’t a lot of waste, so people use things until they cannot be used anymore. We spent a lot of time researching and finding the perfect used tractor to fundraise for last spring-one that was reasonably priced but was also in good shape. With a fundraiser like the Big Payback, it takes a few months for organizations to receive the money. By the time we received the funds, the tractor we had been dreaming of was already sold. We didn’t think it was a big deal at first and started shopping for another used tractor. Like many other lessons in life, we learned the hard way that we were wrong.
Apparently, in this part of Brazil, used tractors generally only go for sale at one specific time of the year. Everyone uses their tractors regularly throughout the rainy season. They also use them at the very end of the rainy season to cut back the pastures before the dry season comes (which is the primary reason we need one-fire prevention). Then, once the dry season gets underway, any tractors that will be sold that year are listed on the market. By the time we received the money from the fundraiser, there were no decent tractors left for sale – but what we didn’t realize is that the listings would be few and far between for the next few months.
As our concern grew, we started looking at the price difference of new and used tractors. We knew that, whatever we purchased, we would use it all of the time. We kept coming back to the fact that, if we waited until used tractors came on the market again, we wouldn’t be able to bush hog all our pastures down before the fire season started. There are many reasons we wanted a tractor, and many things we will use a tractor for, but protecting the elephant habitat is the biggest. We asked each of you to donate towards a tractor to keep the sanctuary safe during fire season. We didn’t want to wait an entire additional year before it could start doing its primary job. We started contacting different companies, trying to find one that would do what we needed, but wouldn’t break the bank.
Once we found a company that offered us a nice discount, we started to move forward with it. We approached a very generous donor with our situation and asked him if he would be willing to cover the cost difference between what we raised for a used tractor last spring and needed for a brand new tractor. He happily agreed and we moved forward with the purchase. That was around a month and a half ago.
And it was finally delivered!! A huge thank you to everyone who donated to our fire fighting efforts last year! This may not be the one you donated for, but, please know, Spartacus is a fabulous investment of the money you all so generously gave. Your donations remained earmarked for this use all year, and we are happy to use them. Scott is delighted with his new toy, and, most importantly, we will use it to keep the sanctuary safe during this fire season and many to come.
There are a lot of other things we will use this tractor for (although it’s already hooked up to the bush hog today) – including Kenya’s fences. Its inaugural project is creating an area outside of Yard 4 for an outdoor stall. This area will allow Lady to enjoy her foot soaks off of the 4th yard, requiring her to come back to the barn less frequently. Of course, it can be used for other elephants as well, but her desire to wander and her need for care was the inspiration behind this construction.
Thank you again to everyone who made this possible! Thank you for protecting our girls.