Refuge's Latest Elephant Given Grim Prognosis

Staff Writer
Middle Tennessee News & Information
The Tennessean
Wednesday, 12/10/03

The Elephant Sanctuary's newest resident, a 57-year-old Asian elephant confiscated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture last month, suffers from a severe case of ''foot rot,'' according to a report by a University of Tennessee veterinarian.

Ed Ramsay's report on Delhi the elephant was released yesterday by sanctuary founder Carol Buckley during a news conference in Nashville. The sanctuary is near Hohenwald, 60 miles southwest of Nashville. Delhi came to the sanctuary after USDA inspectors seized her from The Haw- thorn Corp., a company that leases elephants to circuses.

''What she's under is hospice care, basically. We'll manage her pain. She's taking 66 pills twice a day,'' Buckley said. The pills are fed to her, inserted in apples and other fruit.

The Elephant Sanctuary was founded in 1995 on 800 acres in Lewis County as a natural-habitat refuge for endangered Asian elephants. Currently, there are nine elephants in residence.

Ramsay's report, which was based on a physical examination and X-rays of Delhi's front feet taken using a portable machine, revealed severe osteomyelitis with infections in both feet.

''Her health evaluation is not very good at all,'' Buckley said.

The USDA has cited The Hawthorn Corp. of Grays Lake, Ill., and a handful of employees, alleging numerous violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

''What happened to Delhi is not natural. Elephants in the wild don't have the foot problems that those in captivity do,'' said Buckley, who noted the sanctuary's elephants have acres to roam.

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