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Pairings & Estimated Arrival Dates and Times


FAQs Concerning the Hawthorn Elephants




Feb. 9, 2006
- After an uneventful trip, Billie and Frieda arrived at the Sanctuary at 12:00 p.m. CST and off-loaded from the trailer effortlessly. They joined their sisters within minutes of their arrival. These are the last of the eight Hawthorn elephants contracted to move to the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary hopes that Gypsy, the lone female that remains at the Hawthorn facility will be allowed to join her family in the near future.

Feb. 8, 2006 - Billie and Frieda loaded into the trailer, voluntarily, in less than 30 minutes. Unfortunately, a paperwork oversight delayed their departure by a few hours.

Feb. 7, 2006 - At 12:00 noon, Debbie and Ronnie arrived at the Sanctuary safe and curious. That is, Ronnie was quite curious and off-loaded from the trailer immediately, while Debbie took her time. She was apprehensive and took close to an hour to leave the trailer. Once inside the barn she and Ronnie shared delicate trunk touches and then headed out into the habitat to find their sisters.

Feb. 6, 2006 - At 6:00 p.m., after a stand-off by the Hawthorn Corporation, Debbie and Ronnie were finally allowed to be the next two elephants to depart for Tennessee. Although the loading was delayed by several hours, Debbie and Ronnie are still scheduled to arrive at the Sanctuary tomorrow at 12:00 noon, CST.

Feb. 2, 2006 - Queenie and Liz arrived at the Sanctuary and off-loaded from the trailer into the barn without hesitation. Queenie was a bit reserved while Liz was fearless and investigated every inch of the barn. She cross the chute and the scale and stood in the doorway leading out into the habitat. Minnie and Lottie joined them inside the barn and later led Queenie outside into the habitat. Liz followed later.

Feb. 1, 2006 - At 4:00 p.m. Queenie and Liz, the second set of Hawthorn elephants destined for the Sanctuary, were loaded into the Sanctuary's trailer for their trip to Tennessee. The loading was uneventful; both elephants loaded cooperatively. They are scheduled to arrive tomorrow around 12:00 noon, CST.

January 31, 2006 - Minnie and Lottie arrived at the Sanctuary and off-loaded from the trailer into the barn without hesitation. After a few minutes of investigating the inside of the barn, they both walked through the restraint chute, over the scale and directly outside into the habitat.

January 30, 2006 - At 4:00 p.m. two of the Hawthorn elephants, Minnie and Lottie, were loaded into the Sanctuary's trailer for their trip to Tennessee. The loading was uneventful as would be expected from seasoned circus performers. They are scheduled to arrive tomorrow around 12:00 noon, CST.

January 28, 2006 - Coordinating the many people involved in a transfer of this size is a challenge, but it appears the schedule has been set. The first two elephants to be moved from the Hawthorn Corporation will be Minnie and Lottie. They are scheduled to arrive at the Sanctuary Tuesday, January 31st, at approximately 12:00 p.m. CST. The other girls will also arrive in pairs on Thursday, February 2nd; Tuesday, February 7th; and Thursday, February 9th. All arrivals will be broadcast live on the Sanctuary's EleCam.

January 27, 2006 - TWRA made their final inspection of required fencing this morning; the Sanctuary passed with flying colors. This is the last hurdle of requirements which had to be met prior to rescuing the Hawthorn herd. Now the way has been cleared for the Hawthorn elephants to come to the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is awaiting an OK from CEO John Cuneo to pick up the first 2 elephants on Sunday afternoon.

January 13, 2006 - Three of the Sanctuary elephants, Tarra, Winkie and Sissy migrated to the new barn yesterday. They took their time, explored the woods and the barn. They spent two days at the new barn but had to return to the old barn when it was discovered that the new gate motors, 48 in total, were malfunctioning. These are electric motors with self-locking pins activated by a "seeing" sensor. Unfortunately, the sensors got tricked by the reflection of the overhead lights on the paint on the top of the gates, causing the locking mechanism to malfunction. This has been a nightmare and has brought the migration to a halt. We are told that the problem will be fixed by the end of this week.

January 4, 2006 - TWRA received the required medical records from the Hawthorn Corporation today and is awaiting the blood test results. Due to Scott Blais being at the Hawthorn barn for two weeks, assisting with the emergency care of Sue, the hot wire fence required by TWRA has not been completed. Sanctuary staff is working diligently to complete the fence and move the existing herd. Once the fence is up and the blood tests completed, the Hawthorn elephants will be moved.

December 30, 2005 - For the past 11 days the Hawthorn veterinarian of record has orchestrated Sue's medical care. According to blood work her condition appeared to be gradually improving. Under 24-hour care, Sue received intravenous fluids, drug therapy, oral electrolytes, and she was eating and drinking on her own. A harness and hoist were used to help her stand and also to alternate the side she was lying on. Although Sue was not on her feet, the fact that she was eating was very encouraging. Blood was drawn regularly to access her condition, providing attending veterinarians with the information necessary to prescribe round-the-clock treatment. Initially, Sue's prognosis appeared bleak but by Tuesday, December 27, her blood work suggested that the critical care had paid off; Sue's body was beginning to recover. In addition to the drug therapy feed through her intravenous tube, Sue's body was massaged daily; she received acupuncture treatments and all the produce and hay she wanted. For a good portion of each day Sue was attentive and relatively active, leading her care staff to believe she would recover.

On Wednesday, December 28, her prognosis was upgraded; her blood work indicated increased improvement and no liver or kidney problems. But the following day Sue became listless and nearly inactive. Euthanasia was discussed. The vet of record determined that Sue was not suffering and her condition would be reassessed the following morning. Yet, the following morning, December 30, Sue again seemed to rebound. The vet of record oversaw the acquisition of a portable pool filled with warm water. Sue was placed in the pool, partially submerged in the warm water and appeared to be revitalized. In the last few minutes of her life, Sue played in her custom pool, splashing the water with her trunk. Her eyes were clear and bright, her mannerism was relaxed and joyful. Sue then became very still and without a single warning she passed away. Her passing happened so quickly, with no signs of struggle or pain, that the care staff was caught off guard. Sue died peacefully at approximately 4PM CT surrounded by her loving care staff.

December 22, 2005 - Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency inspected the new barn and elephant corral fencing today. We passed the inspection and received the necessary permit to begin moving the resident herd of Asian elephants over to the new barn. This is an important step towards bringing the Hawthorn elephants to the Sanctuary. Once the resident herd has migrated over to the expanded facility, additional hot wire fencing will be constructed at the quarantine facility, the Hawthorn elephants' new home. After one more inspection by TWRA on January 3rd, we will be permitted to move the Hawthorn elephants to the Sanctuary.

December 19, 2005 - The Hawthorn Corporation staff and vet of record drew blood from the elephants that have been promised to the Sanctuary. An independent veterinarian was present to witness the procedure and to take possession of the blood that was collected. A technician and Sanctuary co-director Scott Blais were on hand to observe the procedure and prepare the blood for shipment to the lab for analysis. In preparation of taking blood from Sue, the Hawthorn Corporation's veterinarian administered a tranquilizer and Sue collapsed to the floor. Immediate action was taken to move her body from the sternal position to her side. A reversal was administered. Sue did not appear to come out of the sedative for almost 24 hours. Under the direction and authority of the vet of record, all available individuals worked together in an effort to stabilize Sue but she was not able to get back on her feet.

December 16, 2005 - Blood will be drawn by the Hawthorn Corporation's veterinarian on Monday, December 19. The blood samples will be analyzed by commercial laboratories to determine the health status of the elephants, which is required by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) as a condition for importation of the nine elephants. This is the next step in getting the elephants moved to the Sanctuary.

Nov 29th, 2005 - Following months of negotiations, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee has been granted the care of 12 needy elephants from the Hawthorn Corp in Richmond, IL. Having recently received three elephants from this herd, the Sanctuary will begin transferring the remaining 9 elephants in late December and plans to have completed the transfer by mid-January. As the single largest rescue of elephants in US history, this is an unprecedented event that could not have come too soon. More Information.

Nov 16th, 2005 - More than six weeks ago the Hawthorn Corporation contacted The Elephant Sanctuary offering to donate eight elephants; the Sanctuary accepted. Two weeks ago the Hawthorn Corporation contacted the Elephant Sanctuary offering to donate a ninth elephant; the Sanctuary again accepted. The Hawthorn Corporation's offers were verbal and they have not yet signed a donative agreement.

Nov 1, 2005 - Today the Hawthorn Corporation made a verbal offer to donate Ronnie, a female Asian elephant, to The Elephant Sanctuary. This latest offer increases the number of elephants offered to nine. A formal donative agreement has not yet been reached.

October 20, 2005 - We are still waiting for a response from the Hawthorn Corporation. Although there has been some dialog between both organizations legal counsel, the Hawthorn Corporation has not yet agreed to the stipulations imposed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

October 19, 2005 - It has been reported that Joy, the lone African elephant previously owned by the Hawthornn Corporation, has been moved to the Endangered Ark Foundation.

October 13, 2005 - Several days ago The Elephant Sanctuary spoke with representatives of the ROAR Foundation to encourage them to make an offer to accept Nic. We are excited to announce that the offer has been made. It is our understanding that the Hawthorn Corporation is seriously considering Shambala Preserve as a permanent home for Nic.

October 13, 2005 - TWRA responded to the Sanctuary's formal request for permission to import the Hawthorn elephants in the form of a letter outlining all of their requirements. As expected, the Sanctuary will be required to install a hot wire fence and move the administrative office to an off site location. Hawthorn Corporation will be required to provide medical records and administer blood tests. The Sanctuary sent USDA and the Hawthorn Corporation a copy of the TWRA requirements.

October 4, 2005 - Hawthorn Corporation has offered to donate 8 female Asian elephants to the Sanctuary;

Frieda - born 1966
Billie - born 1953
Lottie - born 1963
Minnie - born 1966
Queenie - born 1959
Liz - born 1957
Debbie - born 1971
Sue - born 1965

It is the Sanctuary's understanding that the Hawthorn Corporation wishes to hold back two female elephants, Gypsy and Ronnie, as company for Nic until a home is found for him. Once Nic is placed, the Sanctuary hopes that both Ronnie and Gypsy will be sent to the Sanctuary as well.

Today Sanctuary officials met with The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to learn exactly what would be required before the Agency will issue an import permit for the Hawthorn elephants. As result of recently acquired health status information regarding the Hawthorn elephants, TWRA is imposing more stringent requirements. The Sanctuary fully intends to meet these requirements.

As a result of the health status of the Hawthorn elephants, the Sanctuary is required to install additional fencing and relocate the administrative office which currently occupy the upper floor of the main elephant barn. Additionally, several medical tests will be required prior to the Hawthorn elephants being allowed to come into the state. These additional requirements are reasonable considering the circumstances, and the Sanctuary is more than willing to adhere to the requirements. Unfortunately, meeting the requirements and making the changes will take several weeks to complete.

September 27, 2005 - Negotiations between the Hawthorn Corporation and the Sanctuary are progressing well. Due to the health status of the elephants, both the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the USDA have special protocol that must be met prior to approving the move. We feel confident that all arrangements will be finalized soon.

September 18, 2005 - Counsel for the Hawthorn Corporation has contacted the Sanctuary expressing an interest in placing some of their elephants with us. According to counsel, John Cuneo is ready to discuss the release of six of the remaining 11 female elephants. We will soon learn what requirements the Hawthorn Corporation will make regarding the release of the elephants. This has been a painfully long process; one can imagine how it has been for the elephants. The good news is that after almost two years it appears we might be nearing the end of this struggle. Much thanks go to our membership which rallied to raise the funds to build the facilities, making it possible for the Sanctuary to offer a home to the Hawthorn elephants. Updates will be posted as they become available.

September 7, 2005 - Months have passed and still the Hawthorn elephants remain in their Illinois barn. Communications have broken down Neither USDA nor the Hawthorn Corporation is giving out information regarding the condition of the elephants or pending placement. The attorney for the Hawthorn Corporation continues to state that his client will not discuss the placement of any elephants to the Elephant Sanctuary until four female Hawthorn elephants are placed with The Endangered Ark Foundation, a subsidiary of the Carson and Barnes Circus.

Our new Asian elephant barn is nearing completion. The required perimeter fence system is also close to completion. The contractors are confident that by the beginning of October the barn will be ready for its new occupants.

May 18, 2005 - Today the Sanctuary learned that the USDA has cleared some of the remaining Hawthorn elephants to be placed at the Endangered Ark Foundation, a subsidiary of the Carson and Barnes Circus.

TES did not refuse Hawthorn Elephants

In response to inaccurate information contained in a letter provided by the USDA to the general public, The Elephant Sanctuary made public that we repeatedly offered to take all of the female Hawthorn elephants.