When in the process of an elephant rescue, crate training, or getting an elephant used to the transport container that will be their over-the-road home (for several days if traveling overland by truck), is necessary to acclimate the animal to the restricted space and unknown environment it will be placed into.
Crate training involves having an assortment of delicious elephant snacks (bananas, apples & a multitude of melons), a peaceful atmosphere and the all important act of setting one’s watch to ‘elephant time’.
When one is on ‘elephant time’ one may as well have all the patience in the world for one never knows when a captive elephant will decide to demonstrate what her kind rescuers/trainers have proposed that she do.
Former Mendoza (Argentina) Elephants , Pocha and Guillermina, were fortunate to have had a team of elephant experts/trainers from Global Sanctuary For Elephants/Elephant Sanctuary Brazil to gently encourage them along the way.
GSE’s Ingo Schmidinger, explains the moment he knew everything was going to be okay; when he first spotted, through the gates of her elephant transport container, an ‘elephant bum’ inside (that’s walking in backwards, to us humans).
But which elephant did that bum belong to…?!
“Pocha snd Guillermina’s voyage to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil”
featuring Ingo Schmidinger, trainer of Pocha & Guillermina”:
As you can see behind me we had a big surprise yesterday. What happened? Last week we did tons of training inside of the first container, going in head first, bit by bit by bit and with every inch, working hard, observing everything, always with food which works really well. But with lots of patience, too. And everyday we experienced one centimeter more, or three, with a big surprise…
So what happened yesterday was that we were here, like every other day, picking up the keys to open the site, and as I walked by the crates I saw a bum, an elephant bum!
And I thought, ‘it cannot be Pocha’ because she generally goes inside head first. So we thought, ‘let us take a look’. And we saw a hairy tail, and I know Pocha has no hair on her tail.
So it was a huge surprise seeing that Guillermina, all of a sudden, went inside the crates butt first, like it was no big deal. It was a gigantic surprise because it was her first step exploring the inside of the containers. She was always interested to find out what went on inside, with all the food, all the fresh, beautiful food; watermelons, melons, everything so delicious.
But she was always a bit scared, insecure.
Suddenly it clicked. That is always a surprise, the evolution of the process, as we are always planning, observing, taking it step by step, bit by bit. We keep getting a little further everyday. And suddenly they click, the animals.
In Guillermina’s case she has surprised us big time and we are so proud of our little girl because she has helped us so much, saved us so much time and she is now inside.
For me, personally, it is the same going in, head or butt first. The important thing is that she is very relaxed inside the crate and she can take her time discovering and exploring her new place.
Sometimes she almost naps inside. And the next step today, from yesterday, that also happened really fast, we can now touch her while she is in the crate. That was not possible yesterday because of her insecurity.
Today we continued bit by bit, again with lots of food when she was inside. And we got closer and by the end of the day, today, we can say, ‘well, look, she is not afraid, she is very secure and relaxed,’ I mean, almost happy to be inside with us close by feeding her, so calmly, so beautifully, very relaxed. She took a huge step and we are thrilled. Let us see what happens in the next few days.” Transcribed from “GUILLERMINA’S PROGRESS” (1)
Adopt these sweet elephants, now at their forever home at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil: “Become Pocha and Guillermina’s EleGuardian” (2)
DONATE TO Elephant Sanctuary Brazil (3)
(1) Creative Commons Video “GUILLERMINA’S PROGRESS”by Global Sanctuary For Elephants
Images from cc video: “GUILLERMINA’S PROGRESS” by Global Sanctuary For Elephants (1)
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