” Pelusa epitomized everything that is wrong with captivity and ultimately it’s because of human desire. We’re the ones that want to be close to elephants. We want to see animals in a zoo because they’re beautiful and amazing. We want to touch them, feed them. That selfish desire that we have is what causes situations like this. And it’s not just elephants. Many animals suffer in captivity. It’s impossible to do justice by them in these confined spaces”. — Scott Blais, Co-founder Global Sanctuary for Elephants on the passing of Pelusa,
Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSE) was started in 2012 after Scott and Kat Blais saw an urgent need to respond to the growing crisis for captive elephants in South America.
This crisis began as many South American countries began to ban elephants in circus, leaving the elephants with no place to go. Since then, 5 countries in South America have passed laws banning the use of elephants in performances.
Unfortunately, these progressive efforts have had an unforeseen and unintended consequences for the elephants, who are no longer a source of income for their owners. They are left to languish on rural farms or in small zoo enclosures, with little care and increased neglect. Scott and Kat wanted these elephants to have a better life and they set out to make it happen by rescuing elephants from these horrendous conditions and bringing them to sanctuary.
The first sanctuary begun by GSE is Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, which is presently home to 5 elephants: Maia, Mara, Rana, Lady and Bambi. Elephant Sanctuary Brazil sits on 2800 acres of diverse land in the municipality of Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil. ESB’s goal is to house both African and Asian elephants of both genders. Interaction between males and females will be allowed only if the disposition of the elephants allow and a safe method of birth control can be implemented.
GSE plans to bring to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, 2 more Asian female elephants (Pocha and Guilllermina ), who are in captivity at the Mendoza Zoo in Argentina. GSE has also begun construction of an African female habitat, and it plans to construct a male Asian elephant habitat as soon as funds are secured.
As these habitats are completed, the 2 remaining elephants at Mendoza Zoo will be able to call Elephant Sanctuary Brazil their home.
GSE’s goal is also to provide sanctuary to elephants on other continents as well. With over 5000 elephants in captivity worldwide and only120 in sanctuary, there are many elephants in dire need of assistance.
Global Sanctuary for Elephants provides expertise, hands-on assistance and pivotal funding for the development of elephant sanctuaries, domestically and internationally, and supports the global welfare and well-being of elephants. Scott and Kat know that moving elephants to sanctuary can make a profound difference on their health and well-being.
Scott has over 30 years of experience, with captive elephants. He is the the co-founder of two elephant sanctuaries: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (the largest elephant sanctuary in North America), and Elephant Sanctuary Brazil (the first and only elephant sanctuary in South America). Scott has been a consultant for captive elephant health and welfare for many years and he provides insight to promote healthier alternatives for ailing elephants. Scott has a proven track record that elephants can recover from trauma and abusive life if given space, respect and compassionate care.
Kat worked at The Elephant Sanctuary for 6 years, participating in the direct daily care of up to 9 elephants residing on 2200 acres. Kat also worked with veterinarians in the supervision of 15 resident elephants. Kat cofounded Global Sanctuary with more than 15 years of experience as a veterinary technician, practicing in all realms including orthopedics, emergency care, holistic medicine, and wildlife.