Mara the elephant is packing for what might be the final trip of her 54-year life spent globe-trotting from India to Germany before joining circuses in Montevideo and Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she has been for the past 25 years.
Now she is readying to say goodbye before a 2,700km trip from Buenos Aires to a new home near the city of Chapada dos Guimaraes, Brazil, a vast specially designed sanctuary for elephants like her.
Mara’s road trip is to take almost a week in an overland convoy, during which time she is to be housed in a huge box and accompanied by caretakers to look after her safety — and that of others.
Guillermo Wiemeyer, a veterinarian who works with Mara, said that the team had been getting her ready for the journey, taking blood tests and cultures to ensure she could travel across borders, and acclimatizing her to the mode of transport.
“What we are hoping is that she will enter the box of her own accord, because she won’t travel under anesthesia or any type of sedative,” he said.
Mara’s new home, the 1,133-hectare Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, would give her more space with pasture land, streams, steep hills and the chance to meet other Asian elephants living in the reserve, Wiemeyer said.
“The environment she lives in will go from being a few thousand square meters to hectares,” he said. “The link with the land, water and other elephants will be incomparable.”
However, saying goodbye is not easy. Mara needs to go through a quarantine period before she travels, likely toward the end of next month, to get the green light from authorities in Argentina and Brazil.
“Logically we have mixed feelings because a bond is built up over so many years of living together,” Wiemeyer said.
“But we are sure that the doors of a new life will be opened where what she will be able to do above all is start making choices for herself, and for us that is fundamental because it’s the first step toward animal welfare,” Wiemeyer said.
PASTA PUNCHLINE: Billy McLean’s spoof poking fun at misinformation on the coronavirus was meant for friends, but is being eaten up by frazzled Britons It started off as an ad-libbed joke for some friends in a soccer banter group and ended up being heard by vast numbers of Britons within hours. However, the man responsible for a joke WhatsApp audio clip that claimed the UK Ministry of Defence was about to requisition Wembley Stadium to cook the world’s biggest lasagna has said his viral success also shows the risks of believing everything that gets sent to you on the messaging service. Billy McLean, a 29-year-old Londoner who works in software sales, came forward to the Guardian to identify himself as the creator of the much-shared clip
‘AN HONORABLE TASK’: The brigade to Italy is the sixth contingent of doctors the nation has sent abroad to aid governments contending with the COVID-19 pandemic Cuba has dispatched doctors and nurses to Italy for the first time this weekend to help fight COVID-19 at the request of the worst-affected region Lombardy, it said. The Caribbean nation has sent its “armies of white robes” to disaster sites around the world largely in poor countries since its 1959 revolution, with doctors on the front lines in the fight against cholera in Haiti and against ebola in West Africa in the 2010s. Yet with the 52-strong brigade, this is the first time Cuba has sent an emergency contingent to Italy, one of the world’s richest countries, demonstrating the reach of
There are growing concerns for the health of Rokia Traore, a Malian singer who has been on hunger strike at the Fleury-Merogis Prison near Paris since she was arrested on March 10 on allegations of kidnapping her daughter in a child custody dispute. “I am very worried,” said Kenneth Feliho, her lawyer. “She is only drinking. She has not been eating for over a week and her immune system is weak.” Among those calling for the musician’ release are African stars including Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Damon Albarn, who performed with her in the group Africa Express, wrote: “We demand,
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including