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By: The Elephant Sanctuary

Sukari and Rosie One-Year Anniversary

After years of exhibition, Sukari retired to The Elephant Sanctuary November 4, 2015 and Rosie followed the day after, November 5.

Sukari and Rosie were both captured as calves from the wild in Africa and imported to the United States. Rosie spent her early years in captivity on exhibit at various facilities in Florida before moving to the Jackson Zoo in Jackson, MS where she spent the next 33 years. Rosie then moved to the Nashville Zoo in 2010. After Sukari was captured as a one-year-old calf in Africa, she was imported to the Reston Animal Park in Vienna, VA. Sukari was on exhibit there until 1999 when she moved to the Nashville Zoo.

Now 31-years-old, Sukari is The Sanctuary's youngest elephant. Having shared habitat space at the Nashville Zoo, Sukari and Rosie are closely bonded and have spent much of their first year at The Sanctuary together. Toward the end of summer, Sukari began to have socialization opportunities with Tange, and by the beginning of fall, Sukari began expressing much more independence—a sign that she is growing more and more comfortable in her new home.

At 46-years-old, Rosie is the African elephant requiring the most care and attention due to a variety of health and mobility issues common in aging captive elephants. In her first six months at The Sanctuary, Rosie spent the majority of her time in the Annex, a secure area of the Africa Habitat. Serving as a corridor to the larger habitat areas, the Annex is a relatively flat habitat space that allowed Rosie to safely explore with her limited mobility. Dirt ramps to walk up and down and logs to step over and around were added to the Annex by The Sanctuary's Facilities Team to allow Rosie opportunities to exercise and build strength. This individualized health care and innovative barn renovations, including a sand stall, have helped improve Rosie’s strength, flexibility, and overall health in her first year at The Sanctuary.

In late summer, Rosie began spending time in the South Habitat. She was observed traveling down into the habitat’s small valleys, and back up again with relative ease. Since then, Rosie has been given access to all of Africa’s larger habitat areas. Recently, Rosie and Sukari have been seen at the pond in the East Habitat—the farthest the Caregivers have seen the duo travel. As fall settles in at The Sanctuary, together with Sukari, her long-time companion, and Tange, Rosie can often be observed grazing or wallowing in the mud on The Sanctuary’s live-streaming EleCams, only returning to the barn in the evening around PM feedings.

Adopt Rosie or Sukari! 

You can adopt Rosie, Sukari, or any of The Sanctuary's 13 elephants! By adopting one or more elephants you become a partner in The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee’s efforts to provide the gift of herd, home, rest, refuge, and individualized care for life. Donations at the $50+ level receive a Certificate of Adoption; a photo and bio detailing the amazing story of your “adoptee”; and one-year membership, including a subscription to The Sanctuary’s triannual newsletter, Trunklines. Adopt an elephant today!

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