When treated with kindness captive elephants have shown time and time again how willing they are to cooperate when humans have a task at hand to complete (for the benefit of the elephant, of course, such as for medical treatment or, in this case, getting the pachyderms used to a container that will be used to move them overland on a truck.)
And, without a doubt, Pocha & Guillermina have demonstrated just that. Elephant intelligence, indeed!
The brilliance of this endeavor is that Global Sanctuary for Elephants’ Ingo Schmidinger (GSE, Director of International Relations) understands the psychology of elephants and lets Pocha and Guillermina lead the way. Well, encouraging them with great elephant food never hurts!
“The Voyage of Pocha and Guillermina to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil featuring Ingo Schmidinger, trainer of Pocha & Guillermina”:
“To learn from the elephants, what they tell us, how it works, what goes through their heads, right? We need to realize that when we plan something or work on training them, it is very gently so they can get used to the containers and for the trip.
So we thought, look, look, as they will not go in together (they could not because the two containers were separate at first, one on one side and the other over here, further apart). So, the idea was, ‘what would happen if we put the containers together, as you see them now, like a tunnel’, making the best of their mother-daughter social situation, always wanting to be together, inseparable, for example.
So that is what we did, we put the containers together like a tunnel to see what would happen. And what they (the elephants) taught us was that the mother, as she is more prepared, she goes in first, examining the new scenario, and she did it so well, so well! And the daughter, however, stays behind, like a youngster not very experienced with the world, looking up to her mother.
It is why we are here working very gently and waiting so we can watch, observe, monitor the elephants. What are they telling us? What do they want? Because they have the final say.
It can be done in many ways, in zoos, in parks, in safaris all over the world. Transporting elephants can be very rough, as we have seen in many parts of the world, with many chains, too many people around, lots of drugs, too. The thing is, we do not want to use any of that.
“Pocha’s Evolution” by Global Sanctuary for Elephants (1)
We want to use the elephants and their psychology, how they work, and what does that mean? To us it means to observe them closely, to gain a sense of how their mind works, of what will happen, of where they want to to. They make that call.
So yes, like that, with no pressure or anything like it, they will get used to the containers. They get in and out as they wish, on their terms. If they get in, that is phenomenal because it is what we need, but with no pressure.
Going in and going out, hopefully the daughter follows, going in as well. Someday it will be reality, both will go inside and we will be able to close the doors easily and very calmly behind them so we can prepare for the last step of the transport.
For now, they just need to get used to it a little. We need to help them and we do that with food. It is what there is, food. With our hearts, with lots of observation and understanding, and with lots, and lots, and lots of patience.” Transcribed from “Pocha’s Evolution” by Global Sanctuary for Elephants (1)
Adopt these sweet elephants, now at their forever home at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil: “Become Pocha and Guillermina’s EleGuardian” (2)
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(1) Creative Commons Video “Pocha’s Evolution” by Global Sanctuary for Elephants https://www.youtube.com/watchv=1V2wqHe8ywY
Images: from cc video (1) “Pocha’s Evolution” by Global Sanctuary for Elephants
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