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Mundi the Elephant Begins New Life at Sanctuary After 35 Years in Isolation



Quick Smiles:

  • Mundi, a 41-year-old African savannah elephant, has been rescued from the Mayaguez Zoo in Puerto Rico and relocated to Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA) in Georgia. Mundi spent over 35 years in isolation at the Puerto Rico zoo, which lost its exhibitor license due to numerous violations.
  • With the help of World Animal Protection, Wild Animal Sanctuary, and Elephant Aid International, Mundi’s transition to her new home was successful. She was transported by a chartered 747 flight and road journey, closely monitored by World Animal Protection.
  • After three decades of solitude, Mundi can now enjoy companionship with other elephants and the expansive 850-acre sanctuary, which includes a spring-fed lake and unlimited outdoor time. Her rescue highlights the ongoing fight against animal exploitation in the entertainment industry.

After 35 years of solitude, Mundi, a 41-year-old African savannah elephant, is ready to embrace her new chapter in life.

World Animal Protection recounts Mundi’s story as one of an orphaned baby elephant captured, trained, and sold into the entertainment industry. Her journey led her to the Mayaguez Zoo in Puerto Rico, also known as the Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo, where she spent over three decades alone.

However, things took a turn for Mundi in 2018 when the U.S. Department of Agriculture revoked the zoo’s exhibitor license due to multiple violations.

Following the zoo’s closure in February, a joint agreement was made in March between the U.S. Department of Justice and the Puerto Rico Department of Environment and Natural Resources to relocate the zoo’s approximately 500 animals to more suitable facilities.

This is when Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA) stepped in. Located in Attapugus, Georgia, ERNA agreed to offer Mundi a new home.

World Animal Protection partnered with the Wild Animal Sanctuary and Elephant Aid International to ensure a safe and comfortable transfer for Mundi.

“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,” said Carol Buckley, Elephant Aid International’s founder, president, and CEO.


“Mundi has suffered in captivity her entire life, and we look forward to caring for her and giving her the life she deserves.”

Mundi’s journey from Puerto Rico to Georgia began with a chartered 747 flight to Jacksonville, Florida. She then traveled by road to ERNA. Throughout the entire process, World Animal Protection closely monitored Mundi’s transfer, ensuring everything went smoothly.

By the evening of May 12, Mundi reached her new sanctuary home, where she was given ample time to adapt to her fresh surroundings. For the first time in many years, she could mingle with other elephants, which seemed to offer her great comfort and contentment.

Mundi’s future now looks promising. Once fully acclimated, she will enjoy ERNA’s sprawling 850-acre sanctuary with its spring-fed lake and unlimited outdoor time.

Mundi’s journey inspires hope for a world free from animal exploitation in the entertainment industry.

“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,” shared Lindsay Oliver, the executive director of World Animal Protection U.S.


Indeed, Mundi’s new chapter could be the first of many more happy endings to come.