The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee



Asian Ele-Diary 2004


December 28, 2004

Delhi has fit right in as if she has been with the other elephants forever. Contrary to her reputation, Delhi is not too submissive and the other elephants do not pick on her. Instead, she is wise regarding her interactions and appears to be quite comfortable in the herd environment. Her time spent inside the barn at night has strengthened her relationships and caused a shift in her behavior while outside. Instead of always going off on her own during the day, Delhi now spends time in the company of her sisters, both in the habitat and at night in the barn.

Jenny, Shirley, Sissy, Winkie, and Delhi
Jenny, Shirley, Sissy, Winkie & Delhi

 

December 24, 2004

The ice storm left the trees covered with a thick coat of ice which glistened in the sunlight. Delhi found the winter wonderland to be quite inviting. All of the elephants went outside and explored the glittering habitat. The sun shone bright, warming the girls during their hours in the snow.

Delhi after an ice storm

 

December 18, 2004

Delhi has been a member of the herd for several months already, but seasonal change can prompt a shift in herd dynamics, especially when the seasonal change motivates the elephants to come inside the barn. We are always hypersensitive to the possibility of a herd dynamics shift when the elephants first begin returning to the barn in the winter months. Delhi has been with the entire herd in the open spaces of the habitat but not inside the barn for an extended period of time. Confinement is the situation that can be problematic; elephants that are insecure can become stressed and exhibit aggressive behavior.

How each elephant relates to one another inside the barn demands careful monitoring to determine who should be left in what stall, with whom, overnight. It would be easy to separate the elephants out into different stalls but not necessarily the most effective thing to do. In an effort to assist their ongoing social bonding processes we watch for the slightest shift in behavior to tell us what bonds are strengthening, warranting less separation. If we interfere by being overly protective, our actions can harm the bonding process. As the herd grows, the existing members remain stable and new additions, such as Delhi, are monitored closely. If the elephants feel safe, their relationships will form more quickly. If they do not feel safe they may display aggressive behavior towards another elephant. Such aggression will undermine the bonding process, which is built on trust, and negatively impact the process for all of the elephants.

Although the herd operates as a unit, it is comprised of individuals who relate to each other on an individual basis. That means when Delhi entered the herd she multiplied the relationships not by one but by six, since she would be relating to six other individuals. Additionally there is the combinations of relationships, such as Jenny and Shirley, Bunny, Jenny and Shirley, Sissy and Winkie and so on. Multiply all of the individuals and all of the combinations of relationships and you have the number of relationships developing simultaneously. From all indications Delhi has become a viable member of the herd, both outside in the habitat and inside the warm barn.

Inside the barn
Shirley, Delhi, and Jenny

See Slide Show!

 

November 23, 2004

It's Delhi's one-year anniverary at the Elephant Sanctuary. We celebrate her!

See Slide Show!

 

November 18, 2004
An ele-cam fan captured a mingling of friends - Delhi, Jenny, and Shirley. Click to see image.

 

November 2, 2004
We received very sad news today. As we worked diligently to retrieve Lota and Misty from the Hawthorn Corporation, we were informed that Tess had died. Tess is one of the 6 elephants USDA had designated to be moved to the Sanctuary. We regret that we were not able to give Tess a few weeks or months of Sanctuary before she passed away.

 

October 23, 2004

Delhi discovered Jenny's custom-dug mud wallow which, in an elephant's world, is nature's spa. This mud wallow is spring fed, making it useful year round.

See Slide Show!

 

October 21 , 2004

Tarra and Delhi had fun checking out the 4-wheeler together. Later in the day they were found napping side by side with Bella, the dog, sleeping right next to them.

Tarra and Delhi

Delhi is no longer shy about stealing goodies out of the basket of the 4-wheeler (as shown in the Ele-cam capture below).

 

October 16 , 2004 - A Convergence

A convergence

 

October 15 , 2004 — Delhi Weighs Herself

When Delhi arrived at the Sanctuary in November 2003, she was suffering from chemical burns on her feet and was slightly underweight; she weighed 7100 pounds. Today was the first day since her arrival that Delhi was weighed. In her calm and confident manner, Delhi walked right up to the scale and after only a minute or two stepped onto the platform. An apple and two scoops of grain were the enticement to get her to "try something new." Delhi stood on the scale for several minutes, giving her caregivers a chance to record her weight. After more than nine months in quarantine, 10 weeks in the habitat exploring the mountain, tens of miles of activity, and the trek back to the barn, Delhi weighed in at 8140 pounds. She has gained an appropriate amount of weight while consuming live vegetation and engaging in muscle building activity. Delhi is doing great!
 
See Slide Show!

 

Napping in the sun.

Napping in the sun

 

October 14 , 2004

Delhi came into the barn tonight. She wandered around the entire barn, ate some hay and then went back outside for the evening.

Delhi explores the barn

 

October 8, 2004 - 11:00 a.m. CST

After spending eight weeks exploring her forest wonderland, Delhi made her way down the hill and went directly into the pond. EleCam viewers watched as Delhi demonstrated her joy for life. After her "dip" in the pond, Delhi leisurely grazed across the pasture to the creek. After a few minutes she settled in for her afternoon nap with Winkie and Sissy near by. Even Tarra showed up to check on Delhi.

What an amazing day! Not only did Delhi come down the hill, she met up will all of her elephant sisters. It was awesome. Delhi has been spending time with Jenny, Shirley, Bunny and Tarra up on the hill but Sissy and Winkie have been down in the pasture and have not had the opportunity to interact with Delhi...until today.

See Slide Show!

Delhi has a dip in the pond

Settling down for a nap

 

October 7, 2004 — The Tree Planting

After months of anticipation the trees have arrived. Earlier this year the Ele-Fans got together and designed a thoughtful surprise for the Sanctuary. They purchased several trees to be donated to the Sanctuary in honor of Carol's (the director) birthday, and in memory of both Barbara and Tina. Marcella Smith spearheaded the plan—managing the fundraising and arranging the purchase and planting of the trees.
 
Today was the day, and Marcella was on hand to orchestrate the planting. The trees were planted in a formation that, once the trees are mature, will create the image of two elephants walking behind a magnificent magnolia tree. The imagery is powerful, as is the intent. Everyone at the Sanctuary is touched by this kind and compassionate gesture and are pleased that the trees, in their thought provoking formation, can be viewed from the road that borders the Sanctuary property. Everyone can be inspired by their beauty.

See Slide Show!

 

October 4, 2004

Today was a big day for Delhi. When Carol went out to feed at 1:00 a.m., she found Delhi, Jenny, Shirley and Bunny all standing close, calming munching on vegetation. A few minutes later Tarra and Bella arrived. This was the first time that Delhi remained in the midst of all the elephants while they were fed. Usually she wanders a few feet away, but this time she did not move at all. Even when Shirley crowded her, Delhi paid no attention. At the 8:00 a.m. feeding it was the same scene - all the girls hanging our together. Delhi is now an official member of the herd!

See Slide Show!

 

September 29, 2004 - Bunny's 5th Anniversary at the Sanctuary

Bunny has been with us for five enchanting years. She is a blessing to everyone. Her days are filled with adventure, ele-sisters and freedom. She wants for nothing.

See Slide Show!

 

September 27, 2004

Watching Tarra Play

We needed a gentle reminder
of the joys we have in life.
After being constantly bombarded
by sadness, death and strife .

Tarra playing and singing ,
such a beautiful sight to see!
Knowing she's loved, accepted,
living her life happy and free .

Sparks memories from over a lifetime
a joyous day, some special thing .
When great happiness bubbles forth
making each of our own hearts sing .

With my spirit feeling lighter ,
there is only one thing i can say .
"All is well in my own world,
I was watching Tarra play !"

Laura Linklater
Sept. 27, 2004

 

September 15, 2004

Scott was bush-hogging today and Sis and Winks thought it was great fun! The bush hog is a giant lawn mower that cuts the pastures, keeping them lush and healthy. (Composite photo from the EleCam)

Winks and Sis love the bush-hog!

 

September 12, 2004

Winkie's anniversary is today.

See Slide Show!

 

September 11, 2004 - Jenny's Anniversary

Jenny celebrates 8 years at the Sanctuary.

A poem for Jenny...

See Slide Show!

Bunny and Jenny

Bunny is seldom seen on the EleCam this time of year because she spends so much time in the wooded areas outside of camera range. The keepers see her several times a day when they go out to feed and give supplements and treatments. She is always happy to see them and content to continue foraging and exploring her habitat. Sometimes she is alone but most of the time she is with Jenny, Shirley, Tarra, and Delhi.

See Slide Show!

The Peanut Butter Arrived!

After weeks of anticipation we received the donation of a 55 gallon drum of peanut butter. Jane Hardin, an avid supporter and dedicated letter writer contacted Unilever Incorporated of Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey requesting that they donate peanut butter for the elephants. Walter Taylor responded and agreed to provide the Sanctuary with a 55 gallon container of peanut butter.

The staff was challenged to transfer the contents from the drum into smaller buckets to be stored in the produce cooler. The 55 gallon drum was too bulky for the cooler and once the peanut butter got cold it would have proven difficult to get the last of it from the bottom of the drum. Bill Cowan came to the rescue with a donation of buckets, lids and plastic utensils to scoop and transfer the peanut butter. Caregiver Barbara Anderson and volunteer Kate Elliott "jumped" right into the project and came out covered with peanut butter from head to toe...for a good cause.

Another group project with a happy ending. Thanks to Jane, Bill, Walter, Unilever Incorporated, Barbara and Kate for a job well done

See Slide Show!

 

September 9, 2004

Today marks one month that Delhi has been a free elephant. What an inspiration!

See Slide Show!

Everyone loves the orange barrel. Winkie entertained herself for some time today playing with the suspended toy.


September 8, 2004 - 11:35 p.m. CST

A milestone event...Winkie slept for the first time since her arrival to the Sanctuary. Many captive elephants never lie down and Winkie has been one that resisted the vulnerable position for nearly 4 years. What a joyous sight to see Winkie rise from the ground, waking from her nap. We have all waited for the day that Winkie would finally lie down to sleep. There is no doubt that the soft pasture bed brought a welcomed relief. Some things simply cannot be explained, but what we know is that Winkie took her very first nap in a very special place, right on top of Tina's grave. Tina continues to bring hope and comfort to all of our lives.

 

August 22, 2004

Delhi and Tarra
Delhi and Tarra have become very good friends.
 

 


August 16, 2004

Delhi in the pines
Delhi is enjoying her freedom, immersed in nature


August 14, 2004

Delhi has settled into her freedom amazingly well. She has taken to life in the "wild" with a instinctual sense shown in her comfort level with everything she encounters. She is calm, content, at peace. The way we know how well she is doing is because we monitor her continually. We know when and what she eats, where and when she sleeps, when and how much she drinks and where she wanders. This is one of the benefit of the Sanctuary; the elephants do what they want and we monitor.

Although we know Delhi is very aware of the locations of the different water troughs, until we are confident that she is drinking from them well, we will continue to bring her fresh water several times each day. Delhi has always been a "good drinker" and we know her normal in take. Her first two days out she did not drink to her normal capacity but now she is settled in and drinking 40-50 gallons a day, which is normal for her.

At her 8pm check up we found Delhi nestled way back in the pine forest, nearly a half mile from where she was earlier in the afternoon. The sun was beginning to set. An orange glow was peeking through the pines over Delhi's shoulder. She was calm, munching away on the vegetation. Scott brought her a bale of hay and several buckets of fresh water; she leisurely drank 25 gallons. We left her with three more buckets just in case she got thirsty before our next visit at 1am.

See Slide Show!

 

August 12, 2004

Message from Joanna to fellow staff members:

As I rounded the corner of pines up the hill behind the pond this morning, Delhi and Tarra, and Bella, of course, stood together up in the trees. All very content, they ate breakfast together. It was so wonderful to see Delhi and her new sister together with the sun coming up in the pines behind them.


Tarra and Bella are a phenomenon.

 

August 10, 2004 — Delhi's first day of freedom

At 1am, Sissy and Winkie discovered that Carol was camping out with Delhi and approached the creek. After some lively chatter from both Sissy and Winkie, they found a convenient spot on the embankment where they could see Delhi in the dry creek bed below. For more than an hour the three silently watched each other while calmly grazing. Delhi paid little attention to the on lookers as she was so intent on feeding on the lush vegetation all around her. Sometime in the early hours of the morning Sissy and Winkie wandered off further Delhi into the pasture.

At sun rise Carol woke to a gentle warm breeze on her face. When she opened her eyes all she could see was grey. Winkie was standing over Carol with her trunk hovering over her face, gently smelling. When Carol greeted her, Winkie began to flap her ears wildly and gave her signature greeting; placing the tip of her trunk on the side of her trunk with a soft tap,tap,tap, while inhaling. The effect is a unique noise reminiscent of a suction cup being removed. Winkie's eyes were dancing with delight obviously pleased that she was able to wake Carol. As it turns out Sissy was fast asleep in the pasture and Delhi was snoring in the creek bottom; the only one Winkie could wake was Carol.

After 30 minutes Sissy woke and joined Carol and Winkie. Shortly after that Delhi was fully awake as well. Breakfast was served and Delhi eat ravenously. Once breakfast was over Delhi began to explore. Winkie came into the creek bottom to investigate while Sissy watched from the embankment above. Winkie and Delhi stood close but there was no urgency to interact. Then Delhi walked off down the creek bed, deeper into the habitat. Winkie returned to Sissy in the pasture, they both followed along the edge of creek where they could watch Delhi closely.

Delhi found tasty vegetation and trees to scratch on. At one point she came to a tree which was blocking her way. At first she tried to push it but this was a large tree, much too large for her to move. She was distracted for a few minutes as she discovered this tree made a great scratching post. Then she attempted to climb over the tree. That was not going to work either, so she did the reasonable thing, she turned around climbed out of the creek bottom. With ease she pulled her body up the embankment into the pasture. She immediately found a fantastic tree where she spent nearly 30 minutes scratching every inch of her body.

Next she crossed the pasture, heading directly toward the pond. By this time Scott had joined in the adventure. It looked like Delhi was going to take a swim but instead, without even a sideways glance at the pond, she walked right past it and straight up the hill. This is a steep hill, one that Sissy and Winkie have not yet mustered the courage to climb, but one that Jenny, Shirley, Bunny and Tarra climb regularly. Delhi climbed the hill like she had done it a million times.

As she neared the top she met up with Jenny and Shirley. It was awesome. All three elephants interacted with Jenny being the most interested. Delhi took a submissive posture. It was wonderful to see how receptive all three were to getting to know each other. Jenny began to be more forward then Delhi was comfortable with so she left to continue her climb up the hill.

Exhausted from the mornings adventure Delhi found a soft place to take a nap. When Carol and Scott left Delhi was fast asleep and Jenny and Shirley were off in another direction.

See Slide Show!

 

July 27, 2004
 
In the days following Tina's death we have observed that the elephants are spending more time together throughout the day and night. Notice Bella, Tarra's faithful dog friend, in the mix.


EleCam composite

 


July 23, 2004

At dusk the herd gathers. Tina's passing has seemed to bring the family closer together.


 

 

July 22, 2004

When we dug the wells in the habitat for the elephants, we made sure to add a solar pump. The idea was to be sure we would have the ability to provide a garden hose for elephants like Sissy and Delhi, who both have partially paralyzed trunks. Obviously all of the elephants like drinking from the hose, regardless of whether they have 100% use of their trunk. (Ele-cam composite)

 

July 21, 2004

Delhi grazes happily in her corral.

Delhi grazes happily

July 19, 2004

Thanks to one of our avid EleCam viewers, Delhi's supervision of fence painting was caught in a series of screen captures. Delhi stood close as the new fence and gate were painted. She would have helped if we would had given her a paint brush but she is retired!

Delhi Supervises the Painting of the Fence
 

 

July 15, 2004

Tarra and Bella continue to amaze us with their unconventional relationship. Surprisingly, the other elephants have accepted their relationship unconditionally. Today Bella and Tarra were spotted moving from the back 60 towards the barn, ambling along together, ever conscientious of the other's need to either graze on some tasty vegetation or plop down in a puddle of water to cool off. What an endearing relationship they share.

Tarra and Bella


Convergence by the upper pond.
EleCam screen capture.

 

July 13, 2004

Sissy and Winkie appeared to be the focus of the EleCam today. Luckily one of our avid fans in England compiled these great screen captures.

 

July 10, 2004 - 4:35 p.m.

The convergance, a scene that is becoming more and more common on the EleCam. Jenny, Shirley, Sissy, Winkie and Tarra all share in a relaxing afternoon by the pond. They are truly a family.


 

July 8, 2004

Lots of composite photos from the Elecam of Sis and Winks swimming!

Sis and Winks love the pond.

 

July 6, 2004

Today is Shirley's five year anniversary. We are fortunate to have her in our lives and blessed by her wisdom and nurturing nature. Shirley is the glue that holds this family together.

See Slide Show!

Messages and Cards for Shirley from her friends to commemorate her 5th anniversary at the Sanctuary

Happy Anniversary, Shirley!

Anniversary card from Jac.

For Shirley
I am a mighty pachyderm,
As true a friend can be.
I am the matriarch of my herd,
A gentle giant for all to see.
I am the mentor for all my children,
An ambassador of good will.
I am the minstrel for those who listen,
The chronicler of all our ills and thrills.
I am the strength, unity, and tutelary,
The inspiration for those in need.
I am Shirley,
A protectress and confidant indeed.

From Barbara

Shirley
If I could look
through Shirley's eyes
oh the beauty I would see.
Open sky, grass and trees
a herd, no HER family !

If I could walk
in Shirley's place
oh the joy it would bring !
Matching steps with her baby girl
making her spirit sing .

If I could listen
through Shirley's ears
the beautiful music I would hear.
Rumbles, trumpets, elephant song
and caregivers ever near .

If I could feel
with Shirley's heart
oh to finally know pure love .
This gentle and proud matriarch
guided by Barbara up above .

Laura Linklater, July 6/2004

 

July 2, 2004

Sissy and Winkie have been spending more and more time outside at night. Of course they never want to come inside during the day but nights are a different story. We notice that elephants that have spent a lifetime living in a zoo are less comfortable staying outside at night then circus elephants. This is understandable since circus elephants have experience being outside at night where many zoo elephants do not. Most zoos lock their elephants inside their barns at night. Now Sissy and Winkie are spending most of the night time outside, even staying out all night on many occasions. This night Winkie came in to say hi to Tina who appeared to be very excited to see her as well. 

 

Sissy and Winkie

 

June 28, 2004

Tarra and Bella
Tarra and Bella ~ just being together.


Jenny naps; others stand watch
Jenny naps as Shirley and a world of cyberspace viewers stand watch.
 

 

May 29, 2004

Dr. Tapp had the chance to see all of the girls today; Tina in the barn, Delhi in her quarantine yard; Sissy and Winks in the back 60 acres; Jenny, Shirley and Bunny up behind the small pond in the pine forest and Tarra on the other side of the hill near Barbara's grave. She was just getting up from a nap and still had wrinkles on her face where she had been lying down in the grass. Everyone is doing exceptionally well.

See Slide Show!

 

May 28, 2004

Several weeks ago we installed an additional water trough deep in the habitat. As result, Bunny, Jenny, Shirley and Tarra have spent weeks immersed in the forest, a magical world of trees and wildlife. At night the moonlight streams through the trees casting dancing shadows on the elephants and the forest floor below. For weeks now the girls have engaged in their elusive behavior, content to spend day and night in the woods. During this time Sissy and Winkie have spent a great deal of the daylight hours in the back of the habitat, known as the back 60. Only yesterday did Scott discover that Tarra had forged a trail from her forest hideaway with Bunny, Jenny, Shirley, to the back 60 where Sissy and Winkie were grazing away. A new direct route was now opened and within hours Bunny, Jenny and Shirley pooped out from the forest cover into the lush pasture and began to graze side by side with Sissy and Winkie. Oh, what a sight.
 
Tonight was the first time in this family's history that Sissy and Winkie stayed out in the habitat all night with the other elephants. When Carol went out for the late night feeding, there was the happy group peacefully grazing. They rumbled as Carol approached and accepted their late night snack. As Carol drove away Shirley trumpeted and Jenny joined in the cheerful vocalization. Sissy and Winkie added their percussion with trunks tapping and popping in unison. Glorious!


May 18, 2004

This photo was captured on the Elecam by an ele-fan who turned it into a birthday card for Carol.

 

May 10, 2004

Scott installed a new water trough for the girls. So far only the Asians have been to this part of the habitat but it shares a common fence line with the Africans so we expect the two groups will meet each other in the next few weeks. As usual, the girls, Bunny, Jenny, Shirley and Tarra were on hand to lend assistance and ensure that the project went smoothly.

See Slide Show!

 

April 26, 2004

Many EleCam viewers have commented on seeing the elephants together in larger groups for extended periods. You are witnessing the evolution of the herd. Each day, week and season, the herd continues to grow closer. For those who watch the EleCam, is it happening right before your very eyes.

Sissy, Winkie, Jenny and Shirley
Sis, Winks, Jenny & Shirley

 

April 20, 2004

The girls gathered by the upper pond, a common occurrence these days. Winkie, Sissy, Jenny and Shirley all spend a great deal of time together, interacting as Carol gave Jenny her supplements. Winkie has come a long way in learning how to relate to other elephants and the entire herd has benefited as result. Another glorious day.

Convergence

 

February 16, 2004

Snow is very unusual for our neck of the woods, and 5 inches is something we have not seen in the nine years that Sanctuary has existed. The girls loved it. The snow was deep enough to be fun and the temperature was warm enough to melt it in 24 hours.

See Slide Show!

 

January 22, 2004

What an EleCam day! Scott spent all day installing fiber optic cable for our new AfriCam in anticipation of the arrival of our new African elephants. EleCAm viewers got an eye-full as they watched the herd congregate around the track hoe that was digging the trench. As soon as the fresh dirt was exposed the girls gathered it in their trunks and proceeded to cover their bodies, filling in the newly dug ditch in the process. It was a full day of behavioral enrichment which included Winkie chasing Maggie the dog, endlessly. NO it was not poor Maggie, she is a cattle dog and sees the management and movement of the elephants as her sole responsibility. Of course the only elephant that really takes her seriously is Winkie. They played chase back and forth across the pasture until Maggie finally was too tired to "herd" Winkie anymore. Winkie still had lots of energy left and continued to encourage Maggie to play, to no avail. Joanna had to come to Scott's rescue several times throughout the day when the elephants were "really getting in the way". With a 4-wheeler full of treats and hay Joanna would distract the girls long enough for Scott to make a little progress.


January 1, 2004

It was a beautiful day again; warm with clear skies. Jenny decided that today would be a good day for a hike...straight up the hillside. She disappeared from the pasture into the woods. Shirley patiently waited in the pasture with her unfaltering focus on the woods. Jenny blended in so well with the trees that the EleCam could barely find her as she climbed what appeared to be an impossible incline, several hundred feet up the hill. After browsing on some tree branches and root plants she turned to make her descent. Being crippled does not prevent Jenny from the most exertive activities. She loves life and is determined to enjoy every moment of it. Shirley greeted Jenny with her usual gentle caresses as Jenny folded to the soft grass for her well deserved nap.

 

Tributes from Viewers

There is a day called Judgement,
all creatures great and small;

Will come to God and whisper,
we've come, please hear us all;

We served man faithfully,
we're food and clothes and shoes;

We've fought in battles honorably,
Searched hills and become glue;

The elephants all trumpeted in unison,
In praise and honor to God;

On bended knee they pleaded,
Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Our God;

Now Tarra she stepped forward,
a spokesman for all;

With Shirl and Jen and Bunny,
all the girls were there;

She spoke so soft and whispered,
Lord, please, make them care;

We walked the earth in peace and calm,
Not a creature did we slay;

We drank and ate the food you grew,
But yet, man came, the day turned gray;

My Mother and Father, they stood their ground,
With their trunks they did warn;

But their efforts were no match for them,
Man culled, it's called, and did them great harm;

We come to ask, not revenge Lord,
But, please, your judgement on;

Those who came to do us harm,
On field, in sky and farm;

Blessings on those who kept us safe,
Who fed, kept us warm, with love and respect;

Love to all who watched and prayed,
And kept of safe while we grazed;

Our lives were full with love and peace,
Please reward those who kept;

The love you gave to all mankind,
And gave it back to us with respect.

Hugs and Kisses to all the girls,

Karen Wilson


Once again it's Christmas time, when good deeds do abound,
But in one very special place, they always can be found.
In a sleepy little valley in the hills of Tennessee,
You'll find a wooded paradise, we call a sanctuary.
While birds may flock here by the score, to eat the bounty free,
It is a loving peaceful home for elephants, you see.

Scott and Carol needed a very special place,
A home for their sweet Tarra with a vast amount of space.
With Tarra being of such size and weight upon her feet,
Here she would have nice soft grass and a barn to offer heat.
But Tarra needed much much more, some friends to make life grand,
To walk with her for endless days upon this precious land.

And so it was that Barbara came, a frail and sickly gal,
To hopefully recuperate and be Tarra's first pal

And then came little Jenny, dumped by some wicked soul,
Years of neglect for this poor lass had taken a great toll.

Shirley came next with crippled leg to finally be free,
And recognized Miss Jenny, which filled her heart with glee.
They since have been inseparable and at each other's side,
While roaming through the meadows, ponds, and wallows far and wide.

Next along came Bunny with unbearable foot ills,
Her preferences soon helped her with her love of climbing hills.

Then Sissy came who nearly drowned and left with awful fear,
She found the love, and no more threats, and comforting friends near.

Winkie with aggression and wild spirit to be free,
Arrived and then found Sissy, side by side they'll always be.

Tina rode a long long way, from north to south she came,
With deadly fatal foot disease, she did arrive quite lame.
And sadly only had great bliss for just one memorable year,
She left thousands to mourn her and many shed a tear.
At her side her friends did walk, to the gravesite place,
They stood a vigil, shed some tears, and guarded her new space.
Sissy left her "tire" to help Tina on her way,
As if to let her know, they would play another day.

Barbara too has left this Earth, without her warming sweater,
Her wasting illness took its toll, she couldn't get much better.

Delhi was the next to come, officials intervened,
Her health was much in jeopardy, at least that's how it seemed.
But months alone in quarantine and much intensive care,
Changed her to gleeful healthiness instead of sad despair.

Surviving water, belly deep, were Zula and Tange,
Who arrived together just as happy as can be.
Free at last to enter, the deepest, densest wood,
To knock down trees and have some fun as any elephant could.

Flora from the circus, had tired of the game,
Her owner wanted TES for her, and so along she came.

Misty living miserably, and chained from morn to night,
Had somehow managed to survive despite attempted flight.
She and Lota have arrived to this miraculous place,
And share a barn and yard for now, their very special space.
Lota is a shadow of what she used to be,
Both must conquer lung disease and then they will be free.

So join with me in wishing, these elephants long life,
Now free from stress, ankus, or chains, and any other strife.

God Bless The Elephant Sanctuary And All Who Reside There.

Merry Christmas, Laura Cotter


There was a day in heaven,
when everyone came to play;

With earth's most precious angels,
the elephant, you say?

The elephants spoke softly,
but everyone could hear;

Thank you all for coming,
glad you all are here;

We came to praise and worship,
Our Lord, Our God you see;

So everyone please listen,
and we'll tell you what came to be;

Our load was hard and heavy,
we worked so long for man;

We gave our lives and children,
and crumbled under man's hand;

They never asked or pleaded,
they took and hit with hooks;

They sold us into slavery,
living their lives as crooks;

We climbed and danced and shouted,
In tents filled with guests;

But never did we ask of them,
What for? Was this a test?

A test of strength and courage?
A test no man could share;

A burden placed on us you see,
it seemed no one cared;

But wait, a truck is coming,
I'm going, can't you see;

To a place almost heaven,
The Elephant Sanctuary!

My Lord, I see neighbors,
with trunks and feet like me;

Oh Yes! my preciouhe sancs sisters!
I'm here at ttuary!!!

So friends stand up and listen,
please don't forget to write;

and say hello to all of us,
God Bless you all, Good Night.