An elephant named Mundi is finally getting her happy ending. After spending most of her life in isolation and questionable conditions, a group effort between Elephant Aid International and World Animal Protection has rescued the pachyderm and gotten her a brand new home where she'll happily be surrounded by friends for the rest of her days.
Described as a calm and curious creature, Mundi is a gentle giant standing at 8 feet tall and weighing 8,000 pounds. Born in Zimbabwe, this African savannah elephant was left orphaned by a government-organized mass culling in the 80s. She was then brought to the United States as part of a group of 63 young elephants in a rescue mission orchestrated by entrepreneur Arthur Jones, who housed them at his Jumbo Lair estate in Ocala, Florida, for two years. During that time, an altercation with another elephant left her with one blind eye and a permanently damaged tusk.
Sadly, the young herd was then broken up, and the creatures ended up being sold to zoos, circuses, and private individuals. Mundi was sold and relocated to the Mayaguez Zoo in Puerto Rico. Since her arrival in 1988, she has lived in an area of 15,000 square feet with access to an enclosed shelter. She spent 35 years living alone, as there were no other elephants on the premises.
In 2017, the governor of Puerto Rico ordered that Mundi and 10 felines were transported out of the zoo following concerns for their well-being amid an economic crisis. Elephant Aid International started making plans to welcome her at their Elephant Refuge North America in Attapulgus, Georgia. Although a contract was signed, the ousting of the governor in 2019 led to the project being canceled.
Still concerned for Mundi's wellbeing, Elephant Aid International pushed for the rescue of the elephant. The organization received no response for a few years. While the zoo had been closed for years after losing its USDA license due to a serious of violations—which includes providing subpar care for their animals—the creatures remained sequestered on the premises. Finally, in 2023, the Department of Justice ordered the relocation of all the remaining animals to reputable sanctuaries.
With that, Mundi was cleared for take off. To get her safely from from Puerto Rico to her new home, a 747 flight from Puerto Rico to Jacksonville, Florida, was chartered, bringing the elephant alongside a rhino and two hippos, each in their own custom transport crate. To get her ready for the three-hour plane ride, Carol Buckley, Elephant Aid International founder and CEO, visited the zoo to help Mundi become comfortable with her crate at her own pace. After arriving in Florida, the elephant was then driven to Elephant Refuge North America, which is home to two other elephants—Bo and Tarra.
Mundi's new home is a huge improvement. The elephant now has access to 850 acres of greenery which she'll be able to explore as she pleases once she has fully adapted to her new environment. In more good news, she looks comfortable and happy with her new neighbors, despite having been on her own for several years.
“World Animal Protection is proud to partner with Elephant Aid International to bring Mundi to her new home at Elephant Rescue North America, where she now has the freedom to roam in a natural environment. We're thrilled for Mundi, but there are still thousands of wild animals used for entertainment, and we'll continue to fight until every animal is free from exploitation,” said Lindsay Oliver, the executive director of World Animal Protection US. As for Buckley, she is excited to have Mundi join the refuge and lead a peaceful life. She says, “Mundi has suffered in captivity her entire life, and we look forward to caring for her and giving her the life she deserves.”
If you wish to support Mundi in her new home, you can donate to Mundi's campaign on Elephant Aid International's website and learn more about this fascinating creature and how she is thriving in her brand new environment.
After spending most of her life in isolation and questionable conditions, an elephant named Mundi is finally getting her happy ending.
Thanks to a group effort between Elephant Aid International and World Animal Protection, Mundi has a brand new home where she will happily be surrounded by friends for the rest of her days.
Mundi now also has access to 850 acres of greenery which she'll be able to explore as she pleases.
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