Home / News / EleNotes / Hadari's One-Year Anniversary
By: The Elephant Sanctuary

Hadari's One-Year Anniversary

After 35 years, Hadari now spends her days like many retirees…doing what she chooses, when she chooses.

September 24 marks one year since African elephant Hadari retired to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee from the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere. After 35 years, Hadari now spends her days like many retirees…doing what she chooses, when she chooses.

Born in 1980, Hadari was captured and imported to the United States in 1981. She spent 14 years at Jungle Larry’s African Safari in Cedar Point, Florida. She was then moved to the Nashville Zoo in 1995. Hadari spent 20 years at the Nashville Zoo where she lived with other African elephants, including Rosie and Sukari who joined her in retirement at The Sanctuary last November.

There are now five African elephants in The Elephant Sanctuary’s Africa Habitat. Hadari is often seen via live-streaming EleCams with Flora or Tange in their newly-fenced 60-acre East Habitat expansion. The expansion area gives all the elephants access to new trails, mud wallows and forested areas and the opportunity to choose how and where they spend their time.

“Seeing Hadari transition into a sanctuary elephant has been a highlight of my nearly 20-year career working with a variety of animals,” said Stephanie DeYoung, Director of Elephant Husbandry at The Elephant Sanctuary. “Of the many firsts that Hadari has had over the past year, two of the greatest moments Care Staff observed include the first time Hadari crossed the creek bed at the farthest end of her habitat, as well as the first time she ventured down into her habitat’s deep valley. I can't wait to see what other firsts Hadari will share with us in the future.”

The Sanctuary’s state-of-the-art barns and hundreds of acres of habitat lends itself to not only an elephant’s physical health, but also their social, behavioral and psychological well-being. Hadari, who had been described by her former keepers as an anxious, antisocial elephant, is now sharing space and activities with other elephants. At The Sanctuary, Hadari has been given time to adjust to her new surroundings at her own pace, and introductions with Tange and Flora—two of The Sanctuary’s long-term African elephant residents—has gone extremely well. Thanks also to Sanctuary’s Protected Contact/Positive Reinforcement management program, Hadari readily participates in routine husbandry behaviors including foot care, baths and other medical treatments all aimed at providing her optimal and individualized health care.

Hadari’s retirement and transport to The Sanctuary was planned in collaboration with her former owner, the Nashville Zoo and The Elephant Sanctuary.

"We understand we share a common interest in wanting to make good choices and provide best care for elephants,” said CEO Janice Zeitlin, “We invite zoos and owners to see The Sanctuary as a good option when they make decisions about retiring their elephants."

Become a Member!

With the help of our members, we are working to provide a safe haven where elephants can retire with dignity, roam free in a natural habitat, and receive a lifetime of individualized care. Become a Member today! 

<  Previous Next  >

Current Residents

Learn More Donate

Sign up for EleNews!