December 31, 2006
Enjoy our slide show of memorable events from 2006!
December 7, 2007
During a late night feed last week Carol lost her favorite earflap hat. It
was pouring down rain, so she headed back to the barn with the plan to retrieve
her hat the next morning. But the next morning the hat was nowhere to be found.
All of the staff at the Quarantine barn were on the lookout for this favorite
hat, but it was soon accepted that some form of wildlife had found it and carried
it off to their den; what a warm bed that would make! But today while Julia
was out feeding the elephants, she found Carol’s hat and called immediately to report
her find. Carol rushed out with the camera in order to share the news with all
of you. Lottie had not only found the hat, but had tasted it, chewed on it, dragged
it through the mud, played tug of war with Minnie with it, and finally tossed
it on top of her back where it lodged itself in the fresh mud caking Lottie’s
It was kind of cute, like a colorful mouse-size throw blanket. When Carol
approached to take pictures and retrieve the hat, Lottie was amused and Minnie
was by her side, likewise interested in what Carol was so focused on. Lottie
approached Carol chattering, and after many photos were taken, was happy
to stand still as Carol reached up to the top of Lottie’s back with a long
stick to retrieve the hat. Well, it was really no longer a hat; actually at
this point it resembled more of a turtle neck sweater, minus the sweater part
because of the large openings at either end. It was no longer any use as a
hat so Carol tossed the hat to Jessie the dog who grabbed it and raced off
as if he had just scored the best toy ever, with Miai and Java on his heels!
November 23, 2007
Knowing Delhi makes it easy to accept that she refused to live up to predictions
that she would not live long after arriving at the Sanctuary. Four years ago
today Delhi stepped on the scene and has been a blessing ever since. Her love
of life and deep attachment to Misty brings a great joy to everyone, especially
Delhi. Her osteomyelitis is terminal and severly debilitating, but attitude
is everything; and Delhi’s attitude is phenomenal. She enjoys each day to the
fullest. Delhi is on a new foot soak remedy called "runner's relief," a remedy
used on horses. She may be the first of her species to test out this remedy
currently favored by high dollar race horses. Delhi does not do much racing
around these days, but hopefully this new remedy will bring her added comfort.
November 17, 2007
Just as Tarra was the inspiration for the creation of the Sanctuary and Barbara
the driving force behind the Sanctuary’s land expansion, Lota and Misty
were the catalyst for a huge shift in consciousness regarding the plight of
Lota was wild caught, captured as an infant and sold to
the Milwaukee zoo at less than one year of age. Her total worth was that of
an attraction; first as a zoo exhibit and later as a circus performer for the
Hawthorn Corporation. In both situations Lota was undervalued, misunderstood,
and systematically abused. After years of mistreatment Lota contracted tuberculosis.
Misty shared an equally sad existence. After killing a person, she disappeared
into the dark underworld of circus, resurfacing at the Hawthorn Corporation.
Misty and Lota were two unlikely pals. Misty, confident, cheeky and playful—
Lota, seriously disgruntled about her lot in life. The deadly disease tuberculosis
brought them together. We found them living in a tin shed, out back, behind
the Hawthorn elephant barn, isolated from the other elephants due to their
contagious condition. Winters in Illinois can be brutal; no place for an Asian
elephant chained to the ground in a windowless metal building.
Finally the two sick elephants caught a break. The USDA won their animal abuse law suit
against the Hawthorn Corporation and the two TB-positive elephants were deemed
surplus and in need of a home. It was on this day, three years ago, that
Lota and Misty arrived at the Sanctuary gate; Misty, grinning from ear to ear,
Lota, stately and proud. It felt like a homecoming. Bless them both for helping
the public to understand the plight that they and other captive elephants suffer.
Bless them for holding on long enough to find sanctuary with us.
Lota and Misty with a new toy
Lota and Misty grazing
October 23, 2007
The rains have been non stop for days. The girls are loving every glorious moment
of the long-awaited weather. The ponds have all benefited as well, filling
over their banks. AND the two new ponds in Asia and Africa are full. Thank
goodness that Scott was able to identify the proper location for the ponds
so they would be naturally filled by rain water run off.
Tennessee weather has finally returned with its gloriously wild characteristics.
Last night as all of the caregivers, less one, were settled in for a well
deserved night's rest. The girls perched themselves on clear cut ridge tops
and open valleys to fully immerse themselves in the weather that fast approached.
It has been weeks, actually months, since we have felt the fierce power of
Mother Nature rage through the Sanctuary; she has been missed. In the distance
the night sky lit up fluorescent billowing clouds, illuminated by the flicker
and flash of distant lightning. No noise at first and then wind began to
rush through the tree tops, the sky began to howl, the trees swayed, cracked
and some tumbled; the girls stood silent, inhaling the energy. Shirley, Bunny,
Tarra and Bella were silhouetted on a clear cut ridge, horizon on all sides,
faces pressed into the increasing wind; their eyes were placid, like they
were in another realm. Maybe carried back to their childhood, standing in
a family circle with elders telling them about the storms of their youth.
It was powerful. The storm dumped lots of much needed rain and the temp remained
balmy, glorious. We all got soaked to the skin, feeling more alive than ever.
All is well.
October 18, 2007
There was much excitement around Diva Land today when Minnie uprooted a large
pine tree and proceeded to make it her stomping toy…she had a blast.
You may have seen her on the Ele-cam—she was having a great time. A caregiver
came out to the pasture and moved the tree to a more open area so that Minnie
would not wedge the tree in the cable fencing that protects the water trough.
From experience we have learned that Minnie knows no boundaries when it comes
to play. If the tree had gotten wedged in the corral, it could have become
just another one of Minnie’s well used toys!
October 17, 2007 ~
Jenny and Shirley holding trunks
One year has passed since Jenny left us. The pain was like no other, like
losing a limb perhaps, or the dearest friend you had ever known. It seemed
the sky weeped for days. Shirley was in deep despair and only Bunny could
console her. The silence was deafening. Tarra was dazed, and the rest of
us walked through our chores blindly.
Today, the thought of Jenny brings a quick smile and endless
memories of the fun-loving girl who welcomed everyone into her ever-growing
family. Limping along, there was no road, hill, trail, or uncharted course
too daunting to prevent her from exploring new territory. With her entourage
at her side, Jenny blazed many trails into blackberry thickets which provided
a cover from sight; even caregivers were challenged to find her.
With a three-year regime of two-hour supplemental feedings, Jenny grew accustomed
to the extra love and attention showered on her. Loved she was, loved she
continues to be. Blessed we are to have known her, to have touched and been
touched by her. Jenny will always have a special place in our hearts...dearly
September 29 , 2007
During my bi-weekly water-wagon responsibility in the expanded habitat known
as New Asia, I found myself gazing into Bunny’s gentle eyes as I recounted
the time I spent with her before her arrival at the Sanctuary. Her eyes grew
wide as the pitch of my voice raised in excitement. When I said, “Bunny,
you have been here for eight years,” she let out her tiny chirp, a
signature sound, unmistakably Bunny. In that moment my mind spun back to
that time, precious and fleeting with so many memories of preparing Bunny
to embark on her great adventure to freedom—her caring zoo staff
as they patiently introduced her to the transport trailer; sharing many
conversations with Bunny describing what her new home would be like and
the loving elephants that were awaiting her arrival; the hundreds of miles
I drove, back and forth from the Sanctuary to the zoo, week after week,
preparing for the great day.
Just then Bunny’s
eyes relaxed and she stepped closer to me, dropped her head ever so slightly
(for a pet), and blinked in slow motion. My heart melted in that moment.
All I could say was, "Eight years, my beauty; you have been here for
eight years and every day has been a blessing." Join us in celebrating
anniversary; eight years of sanctuary.
September 21 , 2007
a caregiver was fortunate to be in the habitat with camera in hand when Queenie
decided to go for a swim. Minnie stood on the embankment watching Queenie
and the photographer, as well as the dogs who were making a nuisance of themselves…at
least as far as the elephants were concerned.
September 17 , 2007
It has been weeks since Billie has been in the pond and even longer for
most of her fans to catch a glimpse of this elusive diva. I know our most ardent
fans will love to see these elecam screen captures since so many of you
missed Billie's blissful romp in the pond. The photos were submitted by an
excited supporter who was watching the elecam at the exact moment that Billie
decided to come out of hiding. » View Composite Photos
September 14 , 2007
One look at this peaceful scene would dispense the greatest skeptic’s
doubts regarding Dulary’s transition and acceptance in the herd.
This morning was like every other day of the past many weeks; Dulary protectively
standing over Misty as she takes a beauty nap. Look closely and you will
see that Dulary eyes are closed, she is napping as well.
Dulary and Misty
After several days of rain the new pond in the Asian habitat
has begun to fill with rain run off. Ele-size foot prints in the mud lead
right up to the edge of the water where a pile of partially eaten hay has been
discarded. There is no doubt that Dulary has already discovered the partially
filled pool but she has not taken a plunge….. during day light hours, YET.
Many of you have asked how Shirley is doing. In a word, GREAT!
The long hot summer has found the girls wandering, as usual, all over the habitat.
Tarra is nearly always in their company and a closer bond has developed among
the three since Jenny’s passing. But just don’t take
my word for it—see for yourself.
September 12 , 2007
With so much room to roam, Sis and Winks stay in shape. It has been a long
year on the road to Winkie’s recovery, and Sissy is her ever-faithful
friend. Winkie continues to solicit affection whenever Scott or Carol approach
with the water wagon, and who could resist her energetic vocalizations and
silly body language. She dashes up to the 4-wheeler, barking her greeting,
spins around in circles and drops her head, nearly touching the ground; her
way of begging for a pet. Of course tongue rubs are still her favorite, and
we are happy to report that last month Winkie shed one of her molars. On one
visits, Winkie proudly opened her mouth showing Carol the huge vacant cavity
where the old molar had been and the new one was growing in. It was interesting
that she made a point to show off the loss of her tooth. Maybe she was expecting
a visit from the tooth fairy with a crate of strawberries or a wagon load of
2007 - Jenny Remembered
Since 2001 this date has signified a national tragedy, but in years prior
this date signified great joy and new beginnings. This is the day in 1996 that
our dear Jenny arrived at the Sanctuary. From the moment she limped off the
trailer she brought joy into everyone’s days. Tarra was her earliest
playmate and Barbara was her gentle mentor. Scott was her favorite from the
first, while Carol was simply tolerated. Of course, after some months passed,
Jenny decided to welcome Carol into her circle of friends as well.
When Shirley and then Bunny arrived it was obvious to everyone that Jenny loved
her family and enjoyed every day of her life. Jenny always got very excited
when a new elephant arrived; soon her family grew and she took them on endless
adventures. Imagine how she felt after Shirley arrived and then Delhi, both
elephants that she had known from her past. She probably thought we were collecting
all of her friends and bringing them to the Sanctuary to rekindle their friendships.
What a wonderful thing to look forward to each day.
Not a day goes by that we don’t find ourselves reflecting on how
blessed we are to have known Jenny. She taught us so much about life and love,
family and trust. Most importantly she taught us that life, no matter how difficult,
is meant to be lived to the fullest. And that is exactly what she did.
Namaste, dear Jenny.
11, 2007 ~ Tina Remembered
Tina arrived at the Sanctuary on this day in 2003. What a blessing she was
to the Sanctuary. With never a complaint about her terminal condition, Tina
taught us patience and acceptance. She is deeply missed by all who love her.
August 6 , 2007
The hottest month of the year; seems like a good time for a new pond. Thanks
to the support of so many of our donors, the elephants have two new ponds—one
in Asia, dubbed "Dulary’s Pond" and the other hidden in the
wilds of Africa. Scott spent many hours excavating
and shaping these ponds, and boy, are they beautiful. The girls are going
to love them…once we can figure how to fill them with water. We are
experiencing a bit of a drought so the plan to collect rain water is not
going to work, at least not right now. Our back up plan is to secure the
use of a water truck and pump water from our lake to fill up the ponds. We
are still working in this plan!
August 1 , 2007
This summer we have been busy trying to catch up with our rapid growth over
the past two years. For the past month Maury Fence Company has been busy building
more corral fencing. The first project was at the quarantine facility; next
they go to Asian for some expanded fencing and then onto Africa to construct
some heavy duty African fencing to create another section of enclosed habitat
for the girls. These additional fenced areas give us more flexibility to accept
July 6, 2007
has been with us for eight glorious years. Her wisdom and compassion are palatable.
Known as the matriarch, the glue that holds the herd together, Shirley survived
the greatest loss you can imagine when her adopted daughter Jenny died last
year. Bunny and Tarra have been of great solace to Shirley during her time
of grief. The biggest change we have observed is how much time Tarra now spends
with Shirley and Bunny; the three grand explorers. It is always a thrill to
come around the bend in the road to see Bunny, Tarra, and the grand dame Shirley
calmly grazing, browsing or just napping, enjoying whatever each moment brings.
Happy anniversary, Shirley!
June 17 , 2007
Dulary has settled in quite well; independent but sociable with the elephants
and caregivers as well. The other day one of her caregivers mentioned that
Dulary has a unique hobby; she collects rocks. You will never believe where
she stores them!
June 16 , 2007
Dulary cannot resist the water; a pond, a rain storm or a
caregiver with a hose!
June 13 , 2007
Elephants develop 6 sets of teeth in a lifetime; 4 huge molars in the
back of their mouth used to chew the hundreds of pounds of vegetation they
eat daily. In the natural process, an elephant wears his/her teeth down, allowing
the new teeth to migrate in to replace the worn ones. For the past couple of
weeks we have noticed that Lizzie has been pushing on one of her teeth with
her tongue. She was teething. She lost a 5th molar as it transitioned out of
her mouth. The red area on the side of the tooth is the connective tissue.
Lizzie experienced no obvious discomfort and there was no sign of blood. She
is now on her last set of teeth which are designed to last up to 30 years.
June 1 , 2007
Dulary has been steadily acclimating to her new environment, new elephants
and new caregivers. She is independent but spends time with the other
elephants, especially Misty, Delhi and Tarra. She still shuffles her feet
to make the dogs go away and although she has always been interested in
her new caregivers, she had not yet let down her defenses. This is normal
behavior, especially for a strong-willed, self-confident individual like
that make her a prime candidate for life at the Sanctuary. Today is the day
we have been waiting for; Dulary finally demonstrated that she wanted to
interact with her caregivers in a respectful way. When Scott approached the
corral, Misty and Dulary walked right up. Misty was her usual animated, vocal
self and to Scott’s sheer joy, Dulary gently placed her head against
the bars, stuck her flapping ear through the opening, dropped her head
down in a submissive posture and began to talk. This is exactly what
we have been waiting for, for Dulary to demonstrate that she wants to
interact in a respectful manner with her caregivers. This is a day to
May 5, 2007
We simply could not resist posting this photo of Sissy and Winkie enjoying
the services of the ele-water wagon. Sissy drinks from the hose which is
powered by a battery driven pump while Winkie siphons water directly from
a hole on the top of the tank.
April 17 , 2007
months ago today our dear Jenny passed from this earth. Her time spent at the
Sanctuary was nothing short of a miracle. She was the one who discovered a
spring and excavated the mud wallow on the spot, with the precision of a schooled
expert. Over the years, that mud wallow has been the focus of much mud flinging
and slip-'n-slide fun for all of the elephants, including Delhi, and continues
to be utilized by the divas today.
Jenny was the one who taught us that poison
oak can be your friend—that is, if you are an elephant suffering from
mosquito bites! Jenny taught us that life was meant to be enjoyed with friends,
and that when a storm was approaching she could identify harsh weather hours
before it hit.
Jenny took her family up every unexplored hillside and down
the most precarious ravines. She even discovered swimming holes hidden
from caregivers when she was released into the new expanded habitat. When it
was her time to leave this earth, Jenny made her way, with her sisters in tow,
to a gorgeous wooded area, lush with vegetation. She lay down and sang
herself into the next world; blessing us with her passing.
Jenny we love you,
Your friends and family.
March 21 , 2007
Frieda had all of her front toes X-rayed today and she was amazing. Calm and
cooperative, she placed her feet on a film cassette, in the precious position
to take a good X-ray 11 different times. She never got impatient or concerned;
she was a model patient, standing still each time the machine took the picture.
We are so proud of her. These X-rays will give us the image of her toes so
our vet team can evaluate why her feet have been so tender since her arrival.
March 11 , 2007
At the first hint of Spring, Bunny and Shirley headed out towards the lake.
They spent the day grazing on the grass that is so abundant in their habitat.
Today, the day before the one year anniversary date of the final two Divas'
arrival, and the two year anniversary of Lota’s death, I was distracted
from my work in the quarantine barn office by a loud trumpeting, and jumped
up just in time to see Minnie tearing through the creek. As the managing
director, I have no direct contact with the divas but I am privy to
their activities from my second story office window. I admired how gracefully
Minnie moved, her upper body held high while her legs raced her across the
ground. Her best friend, Lottie, had summoned her, and Minnie as usual wasted
no time in joining her. Soon the valley was filled with trumpets, Queenie-squeaks
and a magnificent low rumbling that I have come to learn may mean the elephants
are pleased to see someone. Minnie, Lottie, and Queenie were soon jostling
for a prime viewing spot along the fence line, of what I wondered. The rumbling
and trumpets grew louder, and then I saw what their focus was; it was Carol,
who had been working at the keeper’s house, coming out to greet them.
These three magnificent elephants were showing and receiving love from
their caregiver, after lifetimes filled with pain and disrespect. Amazingly
resilient, they are able to open their hearts and we are blessed to be in
their presence. Java and Jesse tumbled in the grass, Ronnie and Debbie carefully
made their way out of the barn into the sun, while Liz, Billie and Frieda
enjoyed some refills of timothy hay and newly-cut bamboo in their freshly-cleaned
stalls. Happy Anniversary to the Divas and Namaste, dear Lota.
Frieda is enjoying the special attention she receives with her daily
foot soaks. Her ankles are stiff and feet are sore from a condition
she has suffered from for years. Hopefully this therapy will bring
her some permanent relief.
January 29, 2007
Today a supporter sent this e-mail: "This sounds like a nice word to
and/or Misty from what I've read on your site." We could not agree more
- but she forgot to include Minnie!
gadabout\GAD-uh-bout\, noun: Someone who roams about in search of amusement
or social activity.
January 1, 2007
What a way to start the new year; Ronnie shows us how with sun, fun and friends.
December 31, 2006
Enjoy our slide show of memorable events from 2006!