35 years in isolation: Mundi finally finds sanctuary in US
World Animal Protection joins forces with the Elephant Aid International to relocate Mundi from a Puerto Rico Zoo to her new home.
This weekend, Mundi, a 41-year-old female African savannah elephant, has safely been transported to the Elephant Refuge North America sanctuary (ERNA) in Attapulgus, Georgia, US. Mundi has been rescued from Mayaguez Zoo in Puerto Rico, that was ordered to shut down due to numerous failures to meet required animal welfare standards.
After spending nearly 35 years in isolation, cruelly trained, and exploited for entertainment, Mundi will now spend the rest of her life at the Refuge run by Elephant Aid International (EAI).
Born in Zimbabwe in 1982, Mundi was brought into the US by the millionaire Arthur Jones, after being orphaned following a government organized mass culling. Mundi, alongside another 62 elephants, was transported to Jones’ Jumbolair estate in Florida, where she lived for two years and then donated to the Mayaguez Zoo, after being exploited in a circus. The zoo after facing numerous irregularities regarding the mistreatment of the animals in their care, lost its license by the US Department of Agriculture in 2018.
World Animal Protection and EAI have come together with local authorities and partners for the rescue. All were focused on ensuring the safe transportation of the 8,000 pounds (3600kg) elephant, who is described as calm and curious.
The operation supported and monitored by World Animal Protection The transportation went smoothly, and care and time will be taken to allow Mundi to settle into her new surroundings and adapt, before potentially meeting the two other elephants who reside there.
Mundi’s rescue is part of a more extensive operation by Wild Animal Sanctuary to rehome all Mayaguez zoos’ animals to sanctuaries and for this rescue supported Mundi’s flight to her new home at ERNA. This place has 850 acres of rolling hills, lush pastures, dense forests, and a spring-fed lake. Each elephant receives individual care, that considers past traumas and life-shaping experiences. Mundi will be joining resident elephants Bo and Tarra, who are already under the care of the refuge.
Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, Head of Wildlife Research and Animal welfare at World Animal Protection said:
“Seeing Mundi arrive safely is honestly a beautiful sight. For almost 35 years, Mundi has been on display at the zoo. She lived alone in a small enclosure with access only to a dark indoor shelter. That is no life for any wild animal. I hope Mundi gets to live out her remaining years with the freedom and care she deserves.”
Carol Buckley, Elephant Aid International Founder, President and CEO said:
“We are thrilled that Mundi will be coming to live at Elephant Refuge North America and are grateful to World Animal Protection for joining us in her rescue. Mundi has suffered in captivity her entire life, and we look forward to caring for her and giving her the life she deserves.”
World Animal Protection is working to end the exploitation of wild animals for entertainment. Hundreds of thousands of wild animals are currently forced into captivity because of the global tourism industry. Animals, like Mundi, live their whole lives away from their natural habitats, subjected to daily abuse and made to perform. This is why we must make this the last generation of wild animals suffering for profit.
To donate to the rescue efforts, please visit Mundi's emergency rescue page.
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Mundi has suffered in captivity her entire life, and we look forward to caring for her and giving her the life she deserves.