Flora Finds Sanctuary
Third African Elephant Moves to Tennessee
NEWS CONTACT: Carol Buckley
For Immediate Release 931-796-6500 x 26
931-796-6500 x 24
Hohenwald, Tenn.—(Mar. 2) Flora, a twenty-two-year-old African elephant and former circus star is leaving her performing days behind forever. Flora will be welcomed to her new home and meet her new family members on Wednesday, March 3 at 2:00 pm Central time. Her arrival will be broadcast live on the Sanctuary’s AfriCam at http://www.tappedintoelephants.com/.
Flora has spent the majority of her life isolated from other elephants. That will all change when Flora joins Tange and Zula, two African elephants who recently moved to the Sanctuary from Chehaw Wild Animal Park.
Flora lost her family to a culling in Zimbabwe when she was just two years old. She was shipped to the United States by an elephant broker and spent the next 18 years performing in a circus named for her, the St. Louis, Missouri-based Circus Flora. David Balding, founder of Circus Flora, has been Flora’s caregiver since she arrived in America. In a selfless display of love, Balding will officially set Flora free upon her arrival at the Sanctuary.
The Elephant Sanctuary located in Hohenwald, Tennessee has provided natural-habitat haven for old, sick and needy Asian elephants for the past nine years. In 2002, inspired by its success with Asian elephants, the Sanctuary made the decision to include African elephants as well. Like Asian elephants, African elephants are considered an endangered species.
Several VIPs and celebrities will attend as Flora is introduced to the Sanctuary. Miss America, Ericka Dunlap, will be bidding Flora a final farewell from her current quarters at the Miami Zoo. Among those who will greet Flora when she arrives at the Sanctuary are Joanna Cassidy, award winning actress from the HBO series Six Feet Under, Jim and John Hager, the “Hager Twins” of Hee Haw fame, and John Kay, lead singer for the legendary rock group Steppenwolf. David Balding, Flora’s protector and provider, will accompany her on the trip from Miami to Tennessee and be on hand to witness her introduction to her new family and home.
In addition, Los Angeles filmmakers Christina Colissimo and Jordana Flick-Franzheim of Crossover Films will be filming Flora’s move for their documentary on Flora’s life, “Flora’s Story:From Circus to Sanctuary.”
Ahali, a Los Angles-based non-profit organization established to care for Flora, launched a campaign to raise the $200,000 needed to fund the construction of the additional stall for Flora in the Sanctuary’s new state-of-the-art African elephant house. To date, Ahali has raised $48,000. It will continue its fundraising efforts until it meets the $200,000 goal.
The Elephant Sanctuary is a non-profit organization licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. It receives no federal or state funding and relies entirely on public support. The Sanctuary is currently conducting a capital campaign to raise funds for its recent expansion from 200 to 2,700 acres, including construction of a new barn and fencing to accommodate African elephants.
For more information about how to become a Sanctuary member or to make a donation, all (931) 796-6500 or visit the web site at www.elephants.com.