What is a “True” Elephant Sanctuary?
A true sanctuary is a place of refuge where injured, confiscated or abandoned captive wildlife may live in peace and dignity for the remainder of their lives. True sanctuaries do not breed or exploit the animals for for commercial purposes (including, but not limited to: use of animals for entertainment or sport, or the sale or trade of animals, their offspring or animal parts and by-products). A true sanctuary respects the integrity of individual animals, providing safe, healthy and secure refuge in enclosures specifically designed for the unique animal which it supports.
We believe Nosey has earned retirement in one of these true elephant sanctuaries in the Americas.
The Elephant Sanctuary – Tennessee
The Elephant Sanctuary — the largest in the US — is a beautiful home to both African and Asian eles. Co-founded by Carol Buckley and Scott Blais in 1995, the sanctuary is a non-profit organization, licensed by the USDA and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and fully accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. Their mission is 1) to provide captive elephants with individualized care, the companionship of a herd, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being; and 2) to raise public awareness of the complex needs of elephants in captivity, and the crisis facing elephants in the wild.
Ten elephants (7 Asians and 3 Africans) — PLUS Nosey (at least for now) — currently roam separate areas of the sanctuary, which totals 2700 acres. The sanctuary does not allow public contact or viewing, but they do have a visitor center nearby in downtown Hohenwald as well as internet “Elecams” installed throughout the grounds.
Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA) – Georgia
The newest elephant sanctuary in the US, ERNA will soon be opening to both African and Asian elephants retired from zoos and circuses. It is a project of Elephant Aid International, a non-profit organization founded by Carol Buckley in 2009. Their vision is “a world in which society respects elephants and provides environments in which they can not only survive but flourish. Elephants who live in semi-wild and wild environments would be free of human harassment and exploitation; elephants in captivity would live as humane and natural a life as possible.”
In October 2017, the sanctuary announced that its first resident will be Mundi, one of the elephants who came over with Nosey on the Jumbolair transfer from Zimbabwe. Eventually, as many as ten female elephants will find new peace and freedom at ERNA, which comprises 850 acres of rolling hills, woods, lakes, and meadows in Attapulgus, Georgia.
Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) – California
Since 1984, The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) has been at the forefront of efforts to rescue and provide appropriate, humane sanctuary for animals who have been the victims of the exotic and performing animal trades.
The sanctuary was founded by former TV and entertainment animal trainers Pat Derby and Ed Stewart and is the oldest elephant sanctuary in the US. In addition to both African and Asian elephants, they provide refuge for tigers, bears, primates and more. PAWS is the only US sanctuary that currently allows bull elephants, and the only one that allows the public limited access to the elephants during their periodic open houses.
A total of eight elephants — 5 Africans (all females) and 3 Asians (1 female and 2 males) — currently live in separate areas of the sanctuary’s 2300 blissful acres.
Global Sanctuary for Elephants (GSE) – Brazil
Global Sanctuary for Elephant’s (GSE) pilot project is Elephant Sanctuary Brazil. GSE was founded by elephant experts Dr. Joyce Poole and Scott Blais. Dedicated to the development of international elephant sanctuaries, Scott and wife Kat Blais are presently in Brazil opening the first-phase sanctuary on 2800 acres of land. Their first two elephants — Maia and Guida — arrived in October 2016, and their transition to new life is well underway.
The sanctuary is now expanding to receive its first African and first male elephant, with a number of female Asians already in waiting. The need is critical, since five countries in South America have banned circus elephants, and if they don’t go to the sanctuary soon, they may be doomed to zoos for the rest of their lives. it is possible that elephants from North and Central America may also find their “forever home” at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil.
Photos courtesy of the respective sanctuaries.