Scott Blais, co-founder of Global Sanctuary for Elephants

by | Aug 16, 2023

Scott Blais–co-founder of the Global Sanctuary for Elephants, whose initial facility is the Elephant Sanctuary Brazil (ESB); he also co-founded The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee—starts by attempting to field my curveball opening question: what makes elephants special? Drawing on 35 years of caring for elephants, he responds chiefly observing how quickly these animals—typically traumatized from years of captivity in circuses or zoos—exhibit signs of healing, citing as an example, Ramba, an Asian elephant who’d spent 50 years in a Chilean circus. Blais recalls that within hours of arriving at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil as a new resident, Ramba was already showing signs of healing. Such that a layperson of sorts—a filmmaker there to shoot a documentary, “The Ramba Effect,” chronicling Ramba’s journey from Chile to her new home at ESB—was astounded by the instant metamorphosis. Indeed, Blais notes, that while initially intended as a short video, “The Ramba Effect” itself morphed into a feature-length film, now making the rounds on the festival circuit. This leads to Blais’s broader set of observations, based on his three-plus decades of direct experience, that all captive elephants—regardless of their “depth of trauma”—experience healing upon living in a sanctuary, and as with Ramba, this healing can start to take hold on day one. This conversation is pegged to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil currently marking its 10th anniversary. And Blais reviews the reasons why this “idyllic” spot in “the middle of nowhere, Brazil,” as he describes it, was the first location selected under the Global Sanctuary for Elephants umbrella, detailing some of the more formidable challenges they faced in establishing the 2800-acre refuge. He points out that there is no second sanctuary—that is, a counterpart to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil—on the immediate horizon, explaining that the flagship will require some additional years of expertise and leadership from him and his wife, Katherine (Kat) Blais, sanctuary co-founder and Director of Elephant Health and Well-Being, before they could peel off to undertake the herculean task of launching a new sanctuary. We also touch on, all too briefly, how the Global Sanctuary for Elephants operation is funded. But the website offers a whole host of ways you can support this important work, and all the elephants helped by it—from multiple methods to donate money, to contributing your airline frequent flyer miles, to presenting in-kind donations, to giving appreciated stocks, bonds, insurance, and annuities. (,,,

COMEDY CORNER: Max Rosenblum’s “Dog People”  (

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” Aimee Mann’s “Labrador,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Stray Cats’ “Stray Cat Strut”


Listen Online Now:


| Open Player in New Window




Sign up for Updates

Get weekly updates about upcoming shows and events!

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Talking Animals. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Archives by Date

In Memoriam

Otis McGarr
(Nov. 1989 – Jan. 4, 2006)

John Taylor
(Sept. 29, 1961-Aug. 20, 2011)