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Sissy and Ronnie Social Introductions

Last week was an exciting week in The Elephant Sanctuary’s Q Habitat. Ronnie, known as ‘the tie that binds' in the Q habitat, and Sissy, the habitat’s newest member, shared space for the first time.

The two elephants spent several hours together, with access to both the pond yard and the 40-acre habitat. They shared Ronnie’s breakfast and Sissy allowed Ronnie to touch her face and trunk.

In the wild, elephants like Ronnie and Sissy would have spent their entire lives with the herd into which they were born and it would be unusual for female Asian elephants to form social bonds outside of their family herds. Captive elephants, however, have different social experiences—often developing close familial relationships with non-related elephants.

Ronnie was wild-born in Asia in 1966. Like so many other circus elephants, she was captured at a young age, separated from her family, and shipped to America for training and performing in the circus. She retired to The Sanctuary in 2006—and has developed close relationships with many unrelated elephants, especially Debbie.

Captured in Thailand as a calf, Sissy first appeared in the United States on exhibit at Six Flags Over Texas amusement park in 1969. By year’s end, Sissy was sold to the Frank Buck Zoo in Gainesville, TX where she spent the next three decades as the focal point of the zoo. After a tragic incident involving the death of a zookeeper, Sissy was moved to the Houston Zoo, and later the El Paso Zoo. The El Paso community spoke out and the decision was made for Sissy to be retired to The Elephant Sanctuary in 2000. Sissy also developed several close relationships at The Sanctuary with unrelated elephants, most notably, with Winkie.

After Winkie’s passing, Sissy was moved to the Q habitat, which was established for the treatment of elephants with exposure to TB. After spending a mandatory period of time separated from the other elephants, Sissy’s introduction to Ronnie was highly anticipated by Care Staff.

After their initial meeting, more “play-dates” were scheduled between the two elephants, who have continued to spend time together grazing and touching trunks in their habitat. Sissy has also continued to share a fence line with Minnie, Debbie, and even Billie—who appears to be curious about Q habitat’s latest arrival. 

Sissy and Minnie
Ronnie and Sissy (Minnie in background)

Holiday Charity Challenge Update

Giving Tuesday was a HUGE Success!

We are beyond amazed at the support we received from all of our fundraisers and donors this Giving Tuesday as 2,239 of you came together, donating $233,861 to make a difference in the lives of captive elephants.

Although we didn't win a bonus prize, we came very close and are optimistic that your generosity has put us well within reach of the Grand Prize of $150,000 at the end of the Holiday Charity Challenge on January 3.

There are also several more bonus prizes up for grabs between now and then. This week, December 5 - December 12, the three organizations that have the greatest number of unique donors to contribute to their Campaign will win one of the prizes listed below.

  • Prize One: A full-page spread for your nonprofit in Newsweek for one week in 2018.
  • Prize Two: Digital Billboard space across the United States for four weeks in 2018.
  • Prize Three: Global digital banner ads on the web for four weeks in 2018.

One of the best ways to make a lasting difference for elephants is by educating others on the crisis facing elephants in the wild and their complex needs in captivity. Your gifts this week will help The Sanctuary get in front of a larger audience to share these messages.

See our standing on the Holiday Charity Challenge leaderboard.

Give to our Campaign and share with your friends and family.

THANK YOU for your continued support!

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