Mundi The Elephant Is Finally Free After 35 Years In Captivity

Most of us don’t have the opportunity to get up close and personal with elephants, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the animals. They are beautiful, intelligent creatures that sometimes find themselves being taken advantage of by humans.

That was the case with Mundi, an elephant that spent the majority of her life in isolation.

Photo: Facebook/World Animal Protection

Thanks to efforts by the World Animal Protection and Elephant Aid International, the elephant has been rescued and is now living the good life at a sanctuary.

World Animal Protection shared about the rescue on Facebook, explaining that Mundi is 8 feet tall and weighs 8000 pounds but she is described as calm and curious. During a mass culling organized by the Zimbabwe government in the 80s, she was orphaned.

At that point, she was moved to the United States with 63 other young elephants in an effort to rescue them. They were housed in Ocala, Florida on the Jumbo Lair estate owned by Arthur Jones. They stayed on the estate for two years but unfortunately, Mundi was blinded in one eye when she got in a tussle with another elephant.

Photo: Facebook/World Animal Protection

Eventually, the elephant herd was sent in different directions, with some ending up with private individuals and others being sold to zoos. Mundi ended up at the now-closed Mayaguez Zoo in Puerto Rico.

Her area at the zoo was only about 15,000 square feet and she spent 35 years at the zoo alone, as there were no other elephants.

That changed in 2017 when the governor of Puerto Rico ordered that the elephant and 10 felines be released from the zoo. There were concerns about their well-being during the economic crisis at the time.

At that point, Elephant Aid International went to work to bring Mundi to the Elephant Refuge North America in Attapulgus, Georgia. Unfortunately, when the governor was ousted in 2019, the project was stalled.

Elephant Aid International continued to work toward getting the elephant released but their efforts fell on deaf ears for a few years. They had closed the zoo due to serious violations, but the animals were still located on the premises.

According to Elephant Aid International, in 2023 the Department of Justice ordered that all of the animals at the zoo be relocated to sanctuaries. That gave Mundi the opportunity she needed.

A 747 took Mundi from Puerto Rico to Jacksonville, Florida. She traveled in a transport crate, but it took some time to get her comfortable with the idea. She was then taken to the Elephant Refuge North America via vehicle and introduced to the other elephants at the sanctuary, Bo and Tarra.

This is a huge step up from the small enclosure where Mundi used to live. Rather than being stuck in a 15,000-square-foot enclosure, she now has 850 acres to explore. You can see her new home in the Facebook post below:

The news is that she is doing well in her new environment and is loving her neighbors.

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