Friday, April 6, 2007

Elephants - Wonderful Creatures In A Wonderful Place

I'm very upset about a short, ugly video that I just saw on YouTube. It was from Israel and took place in a "zoo" of some sort. A male elephant was seen killing a smaller female in an small enclosure viewed by the public. I am furious that something like that could happen in this day and age. Males aren't generally kept in US zoos because of their unpredictability and should never be kept with females.
You see, elephants are a special love of mine and I'm going to tell you of a special place here in the US that is for old, sick, and "troublesome" elephants from zoos, circuses, and other such questionable places. This Eden for elephants is called The Elephant Sanctuary and is located on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, Tennessee and is a natural habitat refuge for the retired Asian and African elephants. All of the pictures you see here are some of the twenty "girls" that reside there.
This is the motto for the Sanctuary:
The Elephant Sanctuary exists for two reasons:
To provide a haven for old, sick or needy elephants in a setting of green pastures, old-growth forests, spring-fed ponds and a heated barn for cold winter nights.
To provide education about the crisis facing these social, sensitive, passionately intense, playful, complex, exceedingly intelligent and endangered creatures.

The co-founders are Carol Buckley and Scott Blais who have created a wonderful environment and are truly concerned about and love elephants. Because this is a sanctuary, there is no viewing of the animals or interaction with anyone except the caretakers and veterinarians. They are being allowed, for the the first time in their lives ,to be "elephants" as they were originally intended.
Their web site , is a heartwarming and fun place to visit. Children love it and so do adults. Please visit it - you won't be sorry.
I sponsor an old elephant named Delhi. I chose her because ,like me, she is "over 55" they say. Also, (yes like me) she has a small pot belly and is short and appears stout. She's 8 feet tall and weighs 7,100lbs (no, not like me!) , has large feathery ears, and her favorite food is carrots. She is an Indian elephant and is the upper right picture. Her trunk is a very speckled grey.
Since my sister Cindy introduced me to the Sanctuary I also sponsor an elephant under her name. This "girl's" name is (you guessed it!!) Sissy. Sissy is also an Asian elephant, 8'6" tall, 8,700 lbs and loves carrots too. She lived most of her life alone in a zoo (elephants are extremely social) and had to be inventive for companionship. She became attached to a car tire years ago and now carriers one with her nearly everywhere. A type of security blanket. The lower left picture is Sissy and you can see her trusty tire just to the side of her.

I also support the Sanctuary by purchasing various items from their store as well as sending money during the year. It's the least I can do.
When you read about the previously sad lives these creatures had it will break your heart but the Sanctuary is trying to give them peace and dignity. I think that is what any living creature deserves. There are so many interesting stories and wonderful pictures to view there and this month another addition to the family is slated to arrive. A 42 year old elephant named Dulary from the Philadelphia Zoo will be gaining her freedom and joining her "sisters". It will be exciting.
So, after seeing that horrific video I just had to let others know about the good people in Tennessee who are making a difference for these fantastic creatures.
Nature's great masterpiece, an elephant,
The only harmless great thing.
John Donne (1572 - 1631)

Bye for now,


Gypsy Purple said...

Wishing you and your family a happy and blessed Easter

Ziggywigs said...

Happy Easter Alyssa. Enjoyed reading your post. I've always had a special place for Elephants from a child. This started when i visited the local zoo who had an elephant and I went every week to visit it. I used to take it treats and it would look through my pockets for them. I was most upset when the elephant was destroyed when the zoo shut down and took a great interest in the preservation of elephants. I remember asking my mum if we could move to Africa so i could be with the elephants, of course, she said no. I tried to get on my uncles ship which was Africa bound and asked the captain, his response was slinging down the rope ladder saying if i could make it up the ladder i could go...i was half way up before mum pulled me off. I did eventually make it to Africa to see them in their natural habitat and never forgotton the sight and would love to go back. I hate to think of the destruction of the elephants for ivory and always remember the slogan 'E was for Elephant' from being a kid. Love the website and nice to see something positive for them for a change.

Lizzie A said...

Elephants are some of the least understood of the creatures on this earth. Not because scientists can't understand thier nature, or because people have some good reason not to understand them (like they live hudreds of thousands of miles under the surface of the ocean), but because people don't often want to understand them. Maybe I'm just crazy, but that is the attitude that I get from most people on that subject. To most people elephants are just for circuses or zoos, and they are giant creatures just made to be gawked at. I think that is wrong! That there is a place where they are reasonably understood, is great! I don't have as great a love of them as you do, but they are beautiful!
I have to go! But hear from you later!

Kate said...

Thank you for posting this - watching things like this are disturbing, especially so when you have a deep love and knowledge of the animal in question.

It is great that you are bringing the work of the Tennessee people to the attention of others ... I had never heard of this sanctuary and now both my son and I will look at their website and learn more.