This weekend we remember with joy the arrival of Lota and Misty into sanctuary on November 17, 2004. They were the first two of ten Girls who eventually traveled to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee in the Caravan to Freedom – the largest transfer of elephants from circus to sanctuary in US history.
All of our Girls now living in sanctuary started out life free in the wilds of their native lands. Lota was captured near a salt lick in India when she was a baby. At four years old she was shipped to the United States and spent her time at a zoo and then in circuses, where she contracted the human strain of tuberculosis. Lota’s life in the circus was captured on film and publicized, helping to expose the inappropriate and harsh reality of circus life for elephants. Lota’s time in sanctuary was far too short, but she did find a peace in her last few months of life that only comes with freedom and friendship. She gently passed away, after a long battle with tuberculosis, on February 9, 2005.
Misty, her dear companion, was also captured in India when she was but one year old and shipped to the U.S. to perform in circuses. She was also exposed to tuberculosis while at the Hawthorn Corporation barns with Lota. Upon arrival in The Elephant Sanctuary with her friend Lota, Misty found freedom to roam. After the loss of her dear friend, Lota, Misty was treated for exposure to tuberculosis. She now lives with the founding herd at the Asia Barn and enjoys her life in sanctuary as she now shares her days with her best friend Dulary.
Today, Misty is as happy-go-lucky as ever; she spends her time exploring her sanctuary and interacting with both her elephant companions and her human Caregivers. Caregiver Laurie, who works with Misty regularly on her Protected Contract training, says that Misty is willing to do just about anything for “over the top” praise. She is exploring her habitat with great ease these days - even venturing out to areas that seemed to be too steep or too far from the barn for her comfort in the past. All of her Caregivers love to see her always discovering new areas of her sanctuary!
She remains the ever-loyal sister to Dulary and is always supportive, no matter what kind of day Dulary is having. Leave it to Misty to lighten the mood with trumpets and squeaks and mischievous grins. According to Caregiver Laurie: “The other day Tarra came into the South Yard to visit with Misty and Dulary so I went out on the ATV to drop hay for the three of them. It was just then that Tarra made her way to the pair and Misty let out an enthusiastic trumpet upon realizing she had a visitor. I laughed, feeling lucky to be able to witness Misty’s joy, and went on dropping hay in various places throughout the yard for the girls to search out and enjoy. Each time I would make eye contact with Misty, she would cock her tail out and to the side, lift her head a bit and let out another blasting trumpet! I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard. She was so loud and excited that Steve, who was all the way at Africa Barn at the time, texted me to make sure all was well. I let him know that everything was good; apparently super good, if you ask Misty!”
Watch a video of Lota and Misty as they stepped off the trailer for the very last time and into sanctuary.
The Elephant Sanctuary recently dedicated a campaign to establish the Lota Veterinary Care Center in honor of Lota who we lost much too early in life. If you would like to support the Lota Veterinary Care Center, please make your donation In Memory of Lota: Donate Here