The Elephant Sanctuary Founders

Carol Buckley, Co-Founder The Elephant Sanctuary

Carol Buckley

Carol has over thirty years experience in the care and management of elephants in captivity. For nearly fifteen years Carol traveled the US, Canada and abroad performing in a number of circuses including Circus Gatini in Quebec, Canada and the Big Apple Circus in New York City. She has implemented educational demonstrations for a number of zoos throughout North America including Racine Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo, Kansas City Zoo, Nashville Zoo and Granby Zoo in Quebec, Canada. Carol has an extensive background in developing elephant management programs and providing elephant medical care.

Before founding The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, Carol owned and operated her own elephant management company, Tarra Productions, for twenty years. Her experience with Tarra Productions included promoting, exhibiting, training and caring for Tarra, a female Asian elephant, who performed for television, motion pictures and circus shows.

From 1995-2010, Carol helped create and manage the nation's first natural-habitat refuge for sick, old and needy endangered Asian elephants, and was honored as A Hero For The Planet by TIME magazine for her innovative work. As co-founder, she helped care for the elephants at the Sanctuary, ran the business office, organized elephant acquisitions, provided educational programs for the public, and worked with governmental agencies and private organizations to strengthen regulations pertaining to the welfare of captive elephants. She is a well-known speaker on the subject of elephant care.

Carol attended the Exotic Animal Training and Management Program at Moorpark College in California.


Scott Blais, Co-Founder The Elephant Sanctuary

Scott Blais

Scott has been managing and caring for Asian elephants for over twenty years. While studying biology at York University in Ontario, Canada, Scott spent five years as an elephant keeper at Ontario's African Lion Safari. As an elephant keeper, he treated sick animals, monitored elephant breeding, trained elephants, assisted in the training of other keepers, and presented educational demonstrations and elephant rides to the public.

In 1993, Scott became an elephant trainer for Tarra Productions where he provided care for Tarra, a female Asian elephant who entertained in circus, television and motion pictures. Two years later, he co-founded The Elephant Sanctuary with Carol Buckley.

As Vice President of Operations, Scott managed both elephant care and facilities maintenance for The Sanctuary. He was instrumental in the design and construction of our state-of-the-art elephant houses, more than twenty miles of fencing, and installation of wells and watering stations. Scott continues to work on behalf of captive elephants both in the United States and internationally.


Read an article published by the Public Broadcasting System (PBS)
featuring the Elephant Sanctuary and Carol Buckley.
This article followed the release of "The Urban Elephant,"
a PBS and National Geographic Documentary in November 2000.