“As the rest of the world was in captivity, Mara found freedom for the first time”.
In may 2020, Mara, a captive Asian elephant was transferred from a shuttered zoo in Argentina to a Brazilian sanctuary more than 2000 km away. The move was made more complicated as the transfer occurred as Covid-19 began forcing the world into quarantine and stringent restrictions on travel were imposed.
Mara is a 55 year old Asian Elephant born in India. For most of her life she was a celebrity at Argentine circuses and for the last two decades she lived in a dusty enclosure in the former Buenos Aires zoo. The zoo had a lot of complaints about its conditions so in June 2016 the city took the decision to close the 140-year-old zoo and relocate more than 800 exotic animals while converting the property into an Eco-park.
Moving an elephant across international borders requires a lot of paperwork ( And when the coronavirus pandemic took hold in early March, the month Mara was scheduled to move, Argentina imposed one of the strictest lockdowns in Latin America. Against all odds the journey was finally made in May and after 2700 km, 100 hours travel and one international border crossing, she made it safely arriving to open space, grass and trees.