How is the operation to deliver elephants to the reserve in MT – 15.05.2022 – Daily life

About 150 kilograms of food a day, hundreds of liters of water, dozens of people mobilized 24 hours a day, and a long journey by land or air. All this with a little sleep in hotels and hotels on the roadsides and even in makeshift camps.

This is how SEB (Elephant Sanctuary in Brazil), the first elephant sanctuary in Latin America, has already transported 9 elephants in 7 flights to Chapada dos Guimarães in the Cuiaba metropolitan area.

The SEB team details how this work, which began in 2016, is carried out in order to save rescued animals with dignity and peace.

Daniel Moura, biologist and director of the sanctuary, explains that once the elephants are allowed to be rescued, experts set a period of 30 days before the start of the trip to plan logistics and mobilize a team that includes veterinarians, biologists, animal rights activists, designers, lawyers and publicists who work in the most different areas.

During this period, routes are drawn up with stops and places for the group to rest, prepare food such as fruits, vegetables, hay and leaves, and all materials needed for transport such as crates and cranes.

PRF (Policia Rodoviária Federal) is helping to develop a safety plan – on the first trip that brought Maya and Guida to the reserve in October 2016, so many onlookers came up to the truck to admire the elephants that they had to accompany him along the highway.

When animals are rescued from other countries, there are almost 30 members in the teams that accompany them. This is exactly what happened in the case of Pocha and Guilhermina, new residents of the sanctuary, who arrived in Chapada dos Guimarães last Thursday (12) after a five-day journey from Mendoza, Argentina.

At the animal feeding stops, the team also takes food. As for lodging for the night, inns and roadside hotels are chosen. “We get four to six hours of sleep, at the most, to meet our arrival date and time schedule,” says Daniel.

During the pandemic, when the elephant Mara was rescued from Buenos Aires, there were even more setbacks on the trip. It was May 2020, and “it became more difficult to find a hotel and a hotel, so part of the team had to camp at gas stations and near hotels where we only had rooms for a few people,” says Daniel.

Steel boxes for transporting animals have a height of 3 to 4 meters. In addition to the truck that carries these boxes, the trip is accompanied by two more cars.

As for the total cost of transport operations, SEB says that it changes with each trip, depending on the partnerships made and the market value, but they do not cost less than 200 thousand reais. In the case of the first trip, for example, only two transport boxes cost 80,000 reais. In the case of the last trip, there was a campaign to raise 50,000 reais just to feed two elephants.

The biggest transport costs came in 2019, when the trip took place in two stages. The first is by plane flying from Santiago (Chile) to Campinas International Airport (93 km from Sao Paulo). After a three-hour flight, the group traveled by land to the sanctuary. The total cost was more than 600,000 reais received from donations.

The biologist reminds that the care during the trip is doubled, as the elephants are brought to the reserve without sedation and are monitored by cameras installed inside the transport boxes. During the journey, elephants take a short nap while standing. In fact, according to the expert, these animals do not usually sleep in flat areas. They prefer sloping places that they can lean on, which makes climbing easier.

All seven trips were made by the same team, who are gaining experience to ensure that the trip runs smoothly and the animals arrive at the shelter with low levels of stress.

Only in two cases were two animals transported at once. The former with Maya and Guida, and the latter with mother and daughter Pocha and Guilhermina, respectively. All elephants ever rescued are females of the Asian species.

Currently, Rana, Lady, Mara, Bambi, Pocha and Guilhermina live in a Mayan sanctuary. Guida died in June 2019 and Ramba died in December of the same year.

Death in the sanctuary will become common as rescued elephants are often elderly, living in unsuitable locations and suffering abuse.

When an animal dies, the SEB team buries it in the same place where it died after the other elephants mourn. “This mourning lasts a day. They feel the loss, surround the body and leave. When this happens, we call specialists from the Federal University of Mato Grosso (UFMT) to collect material and certify the cause of death. buried him with the approval of the Secretary of State for the Environment,” explains Daniel.

The biologist predicts more trips this year. Tami, Guilhermina’s father, is awaiting permission to leave Argentina and join his family. Kenya, a 35-year-old African elephant is also expected to move to the reserve, as is Sandro, who is waiting in Sorocaba (83 km from Sao Paulo) for travel permission.

SEB is the first place in Latin America dedicated to the conservation of these animals.

On an area of ​​1,100 hectares, equivalent to seven Ibirapuera parks, there is a medical area, water tanks and a food sector. Elephants receive daily care and can roam the 29-hectare area adapted for observation.

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