The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee Announces Search for New CEO

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John Van Mol
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Kristin Robinson
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       

After 15 years of service the Sanctuary celebrates the contributions of
Co-founder and Former CEO Carol Buckley

    Hohenwald, Tenn. – (March, 17, 2010) – The board of directors of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee announced today it is beginning an international search for a CEO of the organization, as co-founder and former Executive Director and CEO Carol Buckley is leaving the Sanctuary.

    “The pioneering work done by Carol Buckley in co-founding The Elephant Sanctuary with Scott Blais and the two of them nurturing it over the past 15 years are sincerely appreciated by all who care about the work of protecting elephants,” said William Schaffner, M.D., president of the organization. 

    “We thank Carol for her work and wish her the best in future endeavors. We are pleased that the Sanctuary’s caregiving staff under the direction of co-founder Scott Blais is carrying on as it has since November, while Ms. Buckley was on a leave of absence. We are proud of the caregivers’ work and dedication, which will be key during the Sanctuary’s new growth,” Dr. Schaffner added.

    Dr. Schaffner said the search for a CEO will begin immediately, and the organization will continue to be led by Acting CEO Mary Baker, a strategic consultant with more than 20 years experience consulting with not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. Ms. Baker, who has led the Sanctuary successfully since December, will continue to oversee the organization’s programs and assist in the CEO search and transition.

    The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee ( is a not-for-profit founded in 1995, and is the nation’s largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered Asian and African elephants. It operates on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, Tennessee, about 85 miles southwest of Nashville with a staff of 25.

    The Sanctuary is known around the world for its primary mission of providing a haven for old, sick or needy elephants in a setting of green pastures, dense forests, spring-fed ponds and heated barns for cold winter nights.  Equally important is the educational component of the Sanctuary’s mission, to provide education about the crisis facing these intelligent, endangered creatures.

    Dr. Schaffner said a new CEO would be responsible for overseeing the entire organization, including second phase development of the sanctuary’s education gallery currently in construction. As he has since the Sanctuary’s inception, co-founder Scott Blais will continue to provide leadership for the elephant caregiving staff and management of facility operations, including supervision and expansion of the outstanding work done by the elephant caregivers at the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary has received and will continue to welcome inquiries from those who wish to place elephants in the Sanctuary’s care.

    “Our future is very bright. We are absolutely dedicated to protecting and providing a peaceful sanctuary to elephants in need,” Dr. Schaffner said.