Elephants are better than us.This is Nosey the elephant’s life story: From their earliest moments in the wild, they learn the meaning of family, and they are taught empathy, proper communication, etiquette, survival skills, and love. Female elephants stay with their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, and cousins for life. Each member of the family plays an integral part in promoting loyalty and maintaining the cohesiveness of the group. The loss of one is a great loss for all.
Consider then what happens when humans kill elephants for their tusks and the ivory trade or when adult elephants are separated from the babies so that the babies can be rounded up to be taken to zoos and circuses all over the world.
This is Nosey the Elephant’s Story, and the Story of so Many Captive Elephants in the United States
This is the story of so many captive elephants in the United States.
This is the story of Nosey, an African elephant who was stolen from her home in Zimbabwe in 1984 and brought to the United States to become a circus elephant.
#1 Nosey, Stolen from the Wild
Nosey was only 2 years old in 1984 when her mother and the adult members of her family herd were slaughtered in a cull perpetrated by the government of Zimbabwe.
#2 63 Baby Elephants Terrified
Sixty-three baby elephants were separated from their families and purchased by an eccentric millionaire, Arthur Jones, of Ocala, Florida who wanted to provide his wife with an elephant farm.
The transport of these terrified baby elephants on a large airplane (known as Jumbolair) was documented by ABC News show 20/20 and was dubbed
“The Flying Elephants”
Nosey spent a few years with Jones before being purchased in 1988 by Hugo Tomi Liebel (aka Tommy Liebel, Hugh Blum, or Hugo Bloom) of the Liebel Family Circus (aka Florida State Family Circus, Great American Family Circus, Liebling Bros. Circus, or Liebling Bros. Family Circus) of Davenport, Florida.
#3 Nosey the Elephant, Held Captive for Over 30 Years
She was held captive, alone, for over 3 decades.
Nosey gave rides and performed in fairs, flea markets, festivals, and private events, and wasn’t allowed the company of another African elephant.
(Though the Liebel’s had no other elephants since Nosey’s purchase, they were documented to have had at least one and possibly two other baby elephant deaths.)
#4 Living in Permanent Stress
Nosey was exhibited under the stage names Tiny, Peanut, and Dumbo, and was often contracted out to work in other circuses, such as the Hamid or Garden Brothers Circuses.
Her “normal” route took her from Florida in the winter, up the Eastern seaboard as far north as Maine, and back through the mid-west and Texas.
The stress of travel and performance hangs over the heads of circus/ride giving elephants like Nosey, and the stress rarely goes away.
Because of this stress, traveling elephants suffer egregious ailments such as foot disease, osteoarthritis, and various other debilitating issues which can lead to an early death.
What Gives Humans the Right to Mistreat Captive Elephants in such Disrespectful Way?
Why would we, as humans, wish to place an intelligent creature like an elephant in such a situation?
Why wouldn’t we want them to live the life they were placed on earth to live?
What gives us the right to treat them with such personal disrespect and have no empathy for their plight?
Seized from Her Abusive Owners
In November, 2017, Nosey the elephant was unexpectedly seized from her abusive circus family in a small town in Alabama because of complaints from locals about her circumstances when the circus family who own her was forced to stop for vehicle repairs.
The local animal control officer, supported by the Sheriff and the county District Attorney, was granted temporary custody of Nosey. An emergency hearing was held in which the seizure was upheld for 30 days.
Nosey was Brought to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
Nosey was quickly moved to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee where she has been socially and medically evaluated while enjoying some basic freedoms that she has not had since she was 2 years old.
A trial was convened to hear arguments in December, 2017, regarding custody of Nosey. After an agonizing few weeks of waiting for the order of the court, Nosey was remanded to the animal control officer who elected to keep Nosey at the Tennessee sanctuary.
We thank the local Alabama officials for pushing through the right agenda in this instance, and we support their efforts to keep Nosey the elephant in true sanctuary in spite of appeals and plots to sway them in their resolve.
Elephants are better than us.
Elephants never would have enslaved us for their entertainment or for profit. They have evolved well beyond our capacity for compassion and empathy. They are deserving of personhood rights, they are deserving of sanctuary, and they must have both.
Our efforts will always be to that end.
About the Author: Barbara Lovett is the Co-Founder of Save Nosey NOW! (SNN). This fast growing international group was formed in 2014 to provide actions and education that would lead to sanctuary for Nosey the African elephant. Barbara is the President of the nonprofit organization, Save Nosey Now, Inc., that was founded by the administrators of SNN in March, 2017. The mission of this nonprofit is to provide education, intervention, and litigation that will ultimately lead to sanctuary for captive elephants in circuses and zoos. Both Save Nosey NOW! and Save Nosey Now, Inc. can be found on Facebook, on Twitter @savenoseynow and at the website https://savenoseynow.org.