South Georgia elephant refuge to welcome first resident

Posted at 12:31 PM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 09:27:05-04

DECATUR COUNTY, Ga. (WTXL) - A 34-year-old elephant from Puerto Rico may soon be making South Georgia her new home.

Elephant Aid International (EAI) announced Wednesday that they are working to retire Mundi, a 34-year-old female African elephant, to the organization's new refuge in Attapulgus, Ga., Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA).

Officials say they have been working on the move since August. 

Mundi, who is blind in one eye, currently lives at the Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo in Mayagüez. She was one of 63 baby elephants slated for government slaughter who were airlifted to the U.S. from Zimbabwe in 1984. After three years performing with a small Puerto Rico circus, Mundi was transferred to the zoo, where she has lived since 1988. 

Despite the massive destruction Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico, officials report Mundi is well and that Maria left her supplies and facilities untouched.

Puerto Rico's Department of Sports and Recreation has invited EAI Founder and President Carol Buckley to visit the zoo next week to assess Mundi’s health and living conditions. At that point, they will work out a timetable for the move.

“We will be thrilled to welcome Mundi as Elephant Refuge North America’s first resident,” said Buckley. “We thank the zoo and government officials for acting in Mundi’s best interests.”

The Georgia refuge consists of 850 acres of lush pastures, forests, creeks and spring-fed lakes in Attapulgus. The facility is not open to the public. 

To help cover the costs of the move, EAI launched a fundraising campaign titled 'Mundi's Move'.  Donations can be made on the EAI website here.

Learn more and follow the progress of the move on EAI’s website, on Twitter and on Facebook.