Elephant Refuge North America celebrates Mundi's birthday and first year of freedom

May 14—ATTAPULGUS- This year is exceptionally special since it is Mundi's first birthday as a free-living elephant on May 12. She shows profound confidence living in the vast space of the Refuge, absorbing and appreciating her new autonomous life.

Mundi, a 42-year-old African savanna elephant who is 8 feet tall and weighs 8,000 pounds, arrived at the Refuge in southernmost Georgia in May 2023 after a highly anticipated and lengthy battle to rescue her from a Puerto Rican zoo where she lived completely alone in a small yard for nearly 35 years, according to a press release from the Refuge. Now, after twelve months of calling the Refuge her home, Mundi not only has access to 850 acres of elephant paradise and receives the highest quality of specialized care, but she also has the best birthday gifts an elephant could ask for: freedom and family.

Mundi was born in the wild and was one of 63 young elephants brought to the United States after a mass culling organized by the Zimbabwe government, the press release said. Eccentric millionaire Arthur Jones purchased all the systematically orphaned elephants in 1984 and brought them to his Jumbolair estate in Ocala, Florida. A few years later, he broke up the herd and sold them to zoos, circuses, and private individuals. Following a brutal attack by another elephant that left her with one blind eye and a permanently damaged tusk socket, Mundi was sold to the zoo in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

When she arrived at the Refuge in May 2023, Mundi spent a few days in an adjoining habitat next to the other elephants, Bo and Tarra, as she acclimated to her new life, the Refuge said. Mundi demonstrated an immediate interest in and acceptance of the other elephants, reaching out with her trunk touching, talking, and standing as close as she could.

"Elephants are extremely resilient creatures, and Mundi is a perfect example," the Refuge said. "At first sight, she ran full speed to Bo, standing on the other side of the fence. When Tarra appeared, she and Mundi immediately began touching softly through the fence. After a few days, Mundi was released into the full 850-acre habitat with Bo and Tarra, where she has been in their constant company ever since."

Located in Attapulgus, Elephant Refuge North America spans 850 acres of gently rolling hills, lush pastures, dense forests, spring-fed lakes, creeks, and streams, with a climate that allows the elephants to remain outdoors 24/7 almost all the year.

To learn more, visit https://elephantaidinternational.org/mundi-campaign/.