From Circus To Sanctuary, Flora’s On Her Way Home

FloraLOS ANGELES, California (May 28, 2003) – After 18 years performing under the big top, and nearly two decades living alone, Flora, a 20-year-old African elephant, is packing her trunk and moving to her new home, The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

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When Flora hid from her fans by retreating into her trailer, Ivor David Balding, founder of the not-for-profit Circus Flora and her guardian of nearly two decades, knew she needed to be with other elephants. He set out to find a permanent home where Flora, who has lived alone in captivity since orphaned by poachers, could become part of an elephant family.

Come this September, Flora will join two female African elephants at The Elephant Sanctuary’s newly expanded 2700-acre natural habitat, the largest refuge exclusively for endangered Asian and African elephants. There, Flora will be able to roam freely on hundreds of acres of forests and pastures in the company of other African elephants.

"Elephants are highly social, and while Flora and I are very attached, she needs to be with other elephants," said Balding. "After learning that my longtime friend Carol Buckley would be expanding her wonderful sanctuary to include African elephants, I immediately visited and asked if she would take Flora."

Buckly enthusiastically agreed. Now, the only thing left is to raise $200,000 to build an additional stall for Flora at the Sanctuary’s soon-to-be constructed African elephant barn. Ahali African Elephants, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization established to care for Flora, has launched a campaign to ensure Flora’s move to The Elephant Sanctuary and has set up a website,, where donations are being accepted.

"The opportunity for Flora to move permanently to The Elephant Sanctuary is a dream come true for all of us who love her," said Cristina Colissimo, one of Ahali’s founding members. "We’re committed to ensuring Flora’s future, but we need help and are encouraging animal lovers world-wide to visit our web site to help Flora -- think of it as a dowry for her future."

Ahali African Elephants is the first non-profit organization working exclusively to assist needy elephants by establishing endowments for their long-term care and placement at The Elephant Sanctuary. Flora is the first elephant Ahali has donated to the Sanctuary. Plans are to continue fundraising to support Flora and other elephants.

or more information call (310) 858-2995 or visit

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