May 15, 2012
Ned's boundless and beautiful spirit, despite his trials and tribulations, moved elephant lovers everywhere. The heart-wrenching video and photos of Ned's emaciated frame being forced to perform in the circus rallied public outcry, and Ned became the second elephant ever to be confiscated by the United States Department of Agriculture. The story of Ned and his rescue, a joint effort between The Elephant Sanctuary and PAWS helped raise awareness of the plight of circus elephants.
Ned's benefactors and supporters everywhere, determined to give him a life of sanctuary, helped raise funds to build a barn for him at PAWS. Because of Ned's weakened state and compromised health, he first came to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, where we had hoped he would gain strength and recover to finish his journey to sanctuary in California with our friends at PAWS. Ned quickly captured the heart of his Caregivers, with his youthful exuberance and charming personality. Ned's final months in Sanctuary were those of happiness, where he discovered the sensation of soft green grass under his feet. Caregiver Angela remembers, "He was scared of it at first, tip-toeing around on it." Ned was very playful, and Angela remembers more than once being showered with flakes of hay Ned gamely tossed on her head.
Caregiver Angela remembers taking notes on Ned's condition in the elephant care log, "Ned also liked to toss clumps of oatmeal, and they would stick to the wall above our heads. It sometimes became a game of stealth - logging entries to avoid the oatmeal and hay, as Ned seemed to relish knowing he would not be punished for his pranks. We just moved slowly from one end of the barn to the other as we wrote in his daily logs, this way he didn't have time to line up a shot.
When we would clean his barn, he would be closed into one stall while we cleaned another. Sometimes he would forget to take his big tire with him, and would wait at the dividing wall, staring at it, as if asking you to give it to him. We would spray it off, and push it over with a broom so he could keep it with him while we worked. It wasn't the same as Sissy and her tire as a constant companion for a while, but he would drag it around occasionally. He seemed pretty content just knowing he could get to it if he wanted to.
Seeing him outside with sun on his back, watching him get a little bit of a "grass belly" from eating healthy grass and hay, and just spending time outside with the freedom to go or not go on his own was a tremendous joy. It was always fun when he would playfully follow a caregiver along the fence line up or down the hill on his long and lanky legs, as so many simple things were his to experience for the first time. Another of my favorite memories was just to watch him watching the world around him…no chains, no circus tent or music, no bull hook. Just Nedly, and a peace he had never been allowed to appreciate before in his young life."
Ned's joy in his final months could not make up for years of tribulations, and he left us too soon. We will always remember you, Ned!
Please visit Ned's Tribute Page if you would like to remember him in your own way.
Your beautiful spirit still lives on Ned. Thanks for your videos, they have been a great blessing to me. Elephant heaven is very fortunate to have your soul living there now. Thanks for walking this earth with your gentleness and leaving your elephant footprints all over my heart.
~Melanie, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Ned you are majestic, you are beautiful and if only you could have been spared a little more time to have enjoyed your freedom. I love to see this silly photo of you, tho I cried to have read your story. I truly hope there is a heaven for angels like you Ned. Your image is engraved in my mind and your legacy will remain in my heart forever!
~Rosemarie, Union, NJ