We Have a Tractor!


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.

March 16, 2020

Read our Current Progress page for Kenya’s Fences updates and more! →


  1. REPLY
    Barb says

    Smart move to purchase Spartacus! He’s a real beauty and so needed at ESB. Congratulations! Happy trails!

  2. REPLY
    Bobi StaySee says

    This is wonderful! Thank you SO much generous donor for Magnificent Spartacus. He’s a doozy of a dozer.

  3. REPLY
    Heidi says

    Congrats! Special thanks to the donor!

  4. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    Spartacus is most handsome, and will save you all hours of hard labour and Spartacus will keep on giving. I am sure you will look after him and treat him with the respect he deserves so that he can work for you and the elephants for many years.

  5. REPLY
    Julie says

    I’m so grateful this elephant-loving community includes such generous humans.! And, yes, so happy the lovely ladies will be safe from fire! Spartacus certainly is a lovely beast of a machine!

  6. REPLY
    Patricia says

    I am so happy to hear this and so grateful to the generous donor who came through for this beautiful tractor! To be honest, I think you humans, and the elephants, bring out the best in everyone. So good that you can do brush abatement! All my love to everyone.

  7. REPLY
    SHEILA says

    wow‼️ thats a beautiful looking “ spartacus the warrior” tractor!!! a lovely looking unit! and im sure it will be of alot if value at the sanctuary! i hope its engine is not too loud to alarm the ???ladies⚠️ may spartacus get all that “bushwhacking” done soon

  8. REPLY
    Lila says

    Spartacus is lovely 🙂

  9. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    Great news of the arrival of Spartacus! A bright red shiny tractor to help keep our precious girls safe……..that has got to be a priority. Thank you to the generous donor. So many good people in the world.
    Sending much love. XXXXX

  10. REPLY
    Elke Riesterer says

    Wonderful – a sparkling red spartacus! Keeping the girls save from any fire danger is of absolute importance .
    A Big thank you to the generous donor to make this happen in time.

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