We Never Pictured Guida Not Here


Sweet Guida.

I won’t lie, seeing her photos still hurts my heart. Although we can think and talk about her and smile, I guess we’re a little like Maia. We’re just not there yet. If I am searching through my phone for a different photo and pass by one of her, I find myself getting a little angry. Mad that she’s not here, that she didn’t live ‘forever,’ that she won’t meet Ramba and all of the other elephants that come after. We pictured her as a leader, we never pictured her not here. And it seems for me personally, that anger is easier than sadness. The latter hurts more.

Onto the reason for this post- Guida’s necropsy. With all that has been going on this post didn’t get written immediately and I was only reminded by people asking about it when we did the Maia post the other day. I apologize. Along with all of Ramba’s processes, we are also working on other relocations, so things slip through the cracks at times.

There was no definitive cause of death from Guida’s necropsy. This happens sometimes, and because of our thoughts on her having a stroke or some other related episode, it makes sense. We don’t allow for an examination of their brain, and if you don’t want to know why, you can skip to the next paragraph. For those that do, and so it doesn’t seem like we are not being thorough, this is something that was never done at the sanctuary in TN either. It requires a full decapitation, with a chainsaw, and is not something we have ever been ok with. For us, a big part of performing a necropsy is to ensure that what caused the elephant’s death isn’t something contagious or something in their care or habitat that needs to be addressed. It is about the safety of the rest of the herd more than it is about us having answers for ourselves. She’s gone and no amount of knowledge fixes that. That being said, we do it to protect her sisters.

Her body was in great condition, no issues with her organs macro or microscopically. The only abnormal finding was a small intestinal perforation that was acute, meaning it had just happened. There was no apparent sepsis, her blood work didn’t show any effects from this, so the theory is that it happened during her episode. But that was all that was found.

Although it was not required, we also performed a DNA TB test. It is not known if TB is as prevalent in captive elephants in South America as it is in the US. Guida’s results came back negative, and for those that may know a little bit about TB testing, this is a definitive negative, unlike a negative trunkwash.

A necropsy isn’t exactly a pleasant event, but being there is part of the promise we make to every sanctuary elephant- from beginning to the absolute end. We stay so they have someone who loves them with them through it all. Once it was done, Scott covered her up, while Bugsy and I looked on. Bugsy always feels it is his place to protect his humans. Once she was mostly covered, we laid flowers upon her, and the caregivers came out to say goodbye. She is buried in the habitat, and we still stop at the spot, sometimes leaving fruits and hay. It just seems rude to not give her anything, and it means Maia or Rana will get a treat when they pass by or stop to say hello. Another chapter closed although Guida will always be with us, helping her sisters find their way.

September 9, 2019


Please Visit Guida’s Memorial Page


  1. REPLY
    Maggie says

    Beautiful Guida, you were the most amazing elephant. We all loved you so much. Once Ramba is here I shall be donating to your beautiful tree. Hope you don’t mind Maia and Rana helping themselves to the boogies left by you. ??????

    • REPLY
      Pat Griffiths says

      First apologies are not needed. We know the girls come first. I always had the feeling she had a stroke. I am so glad she is there, her soul will stay among you and you will feel her spirit now and then. Thank you for this information. Love to all

  2. REPLY
    Nancy Shaw says

    It also shares the unending love everyone in the Sanctuary has for eachother.

  3. REPLY
    Susan says

    Thank you for the update on sweet Guida, I crying myself as I read it so I still cant imagine how hard it still is for all of you. I, too, had always pictured Guida as the Matriarch of the herd at Sanctuary, for years to come ?. Still miss her so much, as I know everyone does. Thank you again for the update. ❤️?❤️?❤️?❤️????

  4. REPLY
    Kelejan says

    Thank you so much for all you do, and always with love and respect.

  5. REPLY
    Carol says

    Your words are heartfelt and beautifully assembled. They evoke both tears and joy. Thank you for all you feel and do!!!

  6. REPLY
    Sue Dicker says

    Thank you so much for just caring so much. Guida knew it, Maia and Rana know it and Ramba will soon too. Your herd is a beautiful herd and will always remain such, walking together, as one beating heart, that of free elephants ???? blessings to you all ?

  7. REPLY
    Sherry says

    She is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge and she is happy!!!

  8. REPLY
    Debbie Sides says

    She is part of ESB and always there shining her light. Love you dear Guida.

  9. REPLY
    Carey says

    Thank you very much for this update about Guida, I miss her too, still, that goes to show how closely you reported her, its as if I knew her – almost.

  10. REPLY
    Gramma Tammy says

    So so very sorry for your loss Scott Kat and all those fortunate to have been deeply touched by such an amazing incredible Elephant as sweet Guida. Her time at the sanctuary was not as long as we would of liked but sweet Guida was able to bask in the glory of how Elephants are supposed to live, free………God Bless

  11. REPLY
    Mary K says

    I fell in love with Guida in the space of a few moments and felt like I had known her forever. I had only discovered the GSE page a couple of months before Guida died but cried my eyes out when I heard the news. It wasn’t Guida that I cried for because she is in a much better place now. My heart broke for Maia and for Rana and for the grief that must have been heavy on their hearts.

    Thank you all for giving this beautiful girl the life that she deserved. Sweet Guida will be waiting for you at the Rainbow Bridge.

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