Brazil opens Latin America’s first elephant sanctuary

Brazil has opened up the first sanctuary in Latin America for elephants previously in captivity, an idyllic retreat that could eventually house as many as 50 of the giant animals. Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, in the central Brazilian state of Mato Grosso, was founded by the US-based non-profit organization Global Sanctuary for Elephants, and it already has its first two residents.

Maia and Guida, two elephants that spent the past four decades in captivity, arrived at the sanctuary Tuesday. Posts on the group’s Facebook page show that the girls have started to adapt not only to their newfound freedom, but also to each other. Maia and Guida spent the past 40 years with a circus in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. For the past half-decade they were attached to 15-foot chains on a farm owned by the lawyer for the circus.

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