This one just might move you to tears. Why? Because it’s about ELEPHANTS! Need we say more? Scott and Kat Blais have dedicated their careers to helping captive elephants live out the rest of their lives the way nature intended. This week they join the podcast from rural Brazil, home to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, a project by the organization they founded, Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSE), and the new home of some magnificent and fantastic creatures. In our conversation, we discuss the worldwide mission of GSE as well as its plans for the future. Scott and Kat also tell us why it’s essential that animal lovers avoid visiting “sanctuaries” that allow elephant-human interactions and why that kind of contact can be so damaging for these extraordinary animals. We also get into the broader issues of why it’s crucial for humans to start living within our means instead of further encroaching on animals’ habitats.
*We are thrilled to expand the accessibility of our podcast by offering written transcripts of the interviews! Click here to read Mariann’s interview with Scott & Kat Blais*
Scott Blais, the CEO and co-founder of Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSE), carries a lifetime of experience working for captive elephants. He is an expert in natural habitat elephant sanctuary development and the co-founder of two elephant sanctuaries: the largest in North America – The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee (TES) – and the only sanctuary for elephants in South America -Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. His ground-breaking work has transformed how the world views the lives of captive elephants.
Kat Blais, the cofounder of GSE, began her career with 15 years as a licensed veterinary technician, practicing in all realms, including orthopedics, emergency care, holistic medicine, and wildlife. She worked as lead caregiver and veterinary liaison at TES for six years, supervising and participating in the care of 15 resident elephants. Kat’s past elephant experiences guide her in creating a safe and healing space for elephants in South America.
“People don’t stop and think about what human interaction means to the elephants. It means they were pulled away from their mothers and taken from the wild to live a life of isolation that is very unnatural for them.” – Kat Blais
“It’s just amazing what happens when you give elephants space to be themselves—it’s a journey of discovery and rediscovery.” – Scott Blais
Highlights for Episode 681:
- The importance of climate for elephants’ wellbeing and how Scott and Kat realized the weather at their Tennessee sanctuary impacted the elephants
- Why elephant sanctuaries that allow visitors can be problematic and red flags to look for when researching sanctuaries
- Where elephants in the sanctuary come from and the recent arrivals: a mother and daughter from Argentina
- The sanctuary’s ongoing expansion obstacles
- The number of elephants in captivity and the problems with finding them suitable sanctuaries
- Some of the biggest crises facing captive and wild elephants right now
- Scott and Kat’s thoughts about educating the public on how best to help elephants, realistically
- How they share information on social media in a way that opens up the hidden lives of the elephants in their care
- The importance of seeing elephants as individuals rather than as a cute stereotype
- How Scott and Kat ensure elephants at the sanctuary are adequately cared for without intruding on their natural lifestyles
- How people can find out more about Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSE)
- Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries
- Spy Cams Reveal the Grim Reality of Slaughterhouse Gas Chambers
- Bill would remove defense in animal welfare cases
Connect with Scott and Kat Blais:
- Global Sanctuary for Elephants Website
- Global Sanctuary for Elephants on Instagram
- Global Sanctuary for Elephants on Twitter
- Global Sanctuary for Elephants on Facebook
Connect with Our Hen House:
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The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.
This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.