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By: The Elephant Sanctuary

May 14, 2013

Memories, New and Old

The Elephant Sanctuary has taken in 24 elephants since its founding in 1995. Many of those elephants were not in the best health when they arrived, indeed many were already in the final stage of their life. This third week of May is always a bittersweet one for The Sanctuary because we remember the passing of two of the Girls and the only Boy: Barbara on May 18, 2001, then Bunny and Ned on two consecutive days – May 14 and 15, 2009.

If you are familiar with The Sanctuary, then you know their stories Barbara was The Sanctuary’s second resident, and she came to The Sanctuary suffering from a “wasting” disease. She had been chronically thin for much of her adult life, and this condition would plague her until her passing. Bunny was captured in the wild and spent over 40 years in an Indiana zoo. She came to The Sanctuary after the zoo management and community made the decision that she needed a change, a decision that allowed Bunny to live the rest of life grazing on fresh grass and sleeping under the stars. Ned was confiscated from a circus trainer by the USDA in 2008. He arrived at The Sanctuary shortly thereafter, thus earning the distinction of The Elephant Sanctuary’s lone male elephant. Ned was not intended to be a permanent resident; however, as The Sanctuary does not have the necessary separate facilities for bull elephants. The Sanctuary would be a temporary place of rest and recuperation until a more suitable home could be found. Sadly, Ned’s health had already deteriorated past the point of possible recuperation by the time of his arrival. The Sanctuary is honored to have been able to provide Ned a place of rest and comfort for the short time that he was with us. 

The memories of these elephants and others who have passed are part of the DNA of The Sanctuary, and their roles are crucial elements in the telling of The Sanctuary story.  They are missed.

Barbara and Ned
Barbara and Ned



Even while The Sanctuary takes time to remember those who have left us, new memories are being made every day. Last week was a normal week in the Asia and Africa habitats, or at least normal by Sanctuary Standards. Caregiver Laurie has these observations to share:

“Dulary has really perked up this week (see last week’s Ele-Note).  She and Misty are enthusiastically enjoying each other’s company.”

“Sissy and Winkie are happy to be back outside in the warm weather. Warm rain is one of Winkie's favorite things and she appeared to be having a good time in last week’s showers with lots if excited ear flaps and her high pitched noise which sets off Sissy's signature ‘trunk-popping.”

Shirley and Tarra have been doing what they do in the summer, exploring their habitat. Shirley spent the previous few weeks wondering around the farm corners of the habitat. Last Friday, we found her moving back and forth between different fields north of the lake. To get from the left field to right field, she crosses a dry stream bed. In some places it's shallow, in other places it is very deep and steep. Shirley was approaching a deep steep section and I told her, ‘Shirley, that part is pretty steep, maybe you should come down this way and cross here.’  But she decided that spot was fine and down and up she went like it was no problem at all. She is amazing.”


“Flora and Tange have been enjoying the mild weather mostly hanging out together, but a few times this week they have chosen to have some alone time and were found at opposite sides of their habitat.  Flora was in a very calm mood on Friday, and she greeted us with sleepy eyes and a trunk wave. Tange was much more lively, eagerly following down the fence line for her breakfast.”


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