Artie, The Sanctuary's first permanent bull resident, has now called The Sanctuary home for over three weeks. Artie has spent much of his time exploring his new habitat, enjoying enrichment provided by Care Staff, and even downing small pine trees! Many months of planning and preparation for Artie’s arrival, including his safe transport, was no small feat. The Sanctuary had the pleasure of working closely with the care staff at North Carolina Zoo to ensure a safe journey for Artie and a smooth transition into his new home.
North Carolina Zoo’s Animal Management Supervisor, Nancy Kauffman, and one of Artie’s long-time caregivers accompanied The Elephant Sanctuary’s Transport Team during Artie’s move from Asheboro, North Carolina to Hohenwald, Tennessee. Led by Margaret Whittaker, Creative Animal Behavior Solutions, the team also included Dr. Andrea Goodnight, DVM, Dr. Steven Scott, DVM, and Kristy Eaker, Sanctuary Senior Manager – Elephants.
Artie traveled in a large, climate-controlled crate designed and built just for elephants. In preparation, North Carolina Zoo staff worked to introduce Artie to his travel crate by using positive reinforcement throughout the process. When moving day came, Artie calmly and confidently walked inside the crate without hesitation. Once secure, the crate was carefully placed on a semi truck’s special load trailer for the journey. Three experienced animal transport drivers took turns operating the vehicle with Artie’s crate while North Carolina Zoo caregivers and The Sanctuary’s Transport Team followed in a separate vehicle.
Watch more about Artie's transport to The Sanctuary
With safety for Artie as a top priority, many precautions were set in place; planned stops along the way provided time for welfare checks and to offer Artie food and fresh water, cameras in the crate allowed the team to watch over Artie during his journey, and drivers were in constant communication with the Transport Team by phone and/or radio if there were any noted changes or concerns. Colleagues at Zoo Knoxville and Nashville Zoo were also on standby in case of emergencies along the way. "Artie has been a beloved member of our elephant herd for several years. It was important for us to make his transition to a new home as easy and stress-free as possible," says Nancy.
Artie arrived at The Sanctuary late in the evening on January 31st. “Artie traveled well, and the team worked great together,” says Kristy. “I am so incredibly happy to have been a part of his journey, as it was a huge learning opportunity. This move has been very collaborative, and we were thrilled to have Nancy Kauffman, the North Carolina Zoo’s Animal Management Supervisor, stay with us at The Sanctuary to help Artie with his transition. We know it made a difference for Artie and helped promote a very positive introduction to his new Care Staff.”
The Elephant Sanctuary is excited to update our supporters over the coming weeks as Artie becomes even more acclimated to his new forever home, so stay tuned! We are happy to have the opportunity to continue to plan and provide for Artie in this next chapter of life.
Special thanks to North Carolina Zoo for their collaboration in Artie's transport: