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Our Mission

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, founded in 1995, is the nation's largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered African and Asian elephants. The Sanctuary operates on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, Tennessee—85 miles southwest of Nashville.

The Elephant Sanctuary exists to:

  • Provide captive elephants with individualized care, the companionship of a herd, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being;
  • Raise public awareness of the complex needs of elephants in captivity, and the crisis facing elephants in the wild.

Our Values

To inform its mission and overall vision, The Elephant Sanctuary affirms that:

  • Elephants are intelligent creatures with complex physical and social needs.
  • Elephants in Sanctuary deserve nothing less than Individualized, whole-elephant care for life.
  • ‘Sanctuary’ means providing a safe haven and natural habitat, dedicated solely to elephant wellbeing.
  • People can and must make a difference in protecting wild elephants so that the species can survive for generations to come.
  • Protected contact and positive reinforcement are cornerstones for working humanely and effectively with captive elephants.
  • Collaboration and sharing of best practices leads to better management, treatment, and care for elephants everywhere.
  • Staff thrive on teamwork, continuous learning, and shared commitment to the wellbeing of the elephants entrusted in our care.
  • Honesty, integrity, and open communication with partners and key stakeholders are foundational to The Sanctuary’s relationships and business practices.

A 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is accredited by Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, and licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.