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By: The Elephant Sanctuary

The Elephant Sanctuary is Granted Permanent Custody of African Elephant Nosey

The Sanctuary is thrilled to announce that Lawrence County, Alabama has transferred permanent custody of African elephant Nosey to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee!


The Sanctuary is thrilled to announce that Lawrence County, Alabama has transferred permanent custody of African elephant Nosey to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee!

In November 2017, Nosey was seized by Lawrence County Animal Control in Moulton, AL after concerns for her care and well-being were raised by the public. The Sanctuary was contacted to provide emergency care and Nosey arrived in Tennessee soon after. Since Nosey first arrived at The Sanctuary, Alabama courts have affirmed the County’s actions, which set the stage for Nosey’s permanent residence at The Sanctuary.

Very special thanks to the many individuals and animal rights groups who spoke out on behalf of Nosey!

Nosey was born in Zimbabwe in 1982. She was captured from the wild in 1984 and sent to Ocala, Florida and then in 1986 was transferred to David Meeks of the Meeks Company in South Carolina. She was purchased by Hugo Liebel in 1988 and traveled with the Liebel Family Circus as the sole elephant performer for 29 years.

After years of traveling, performing, and giving rides, Nosey came to The Sanctuary with a number of health issues, including hyperkeratosis, a bacterial skin infection, musculoskeletal stiffness, osteoarthritis, a bacterial urinary tract infection, gastrointestinal parasitism, and dehydration. Today, after three years of daily, individualized care and treatment, there has been much improvement. Her long-time and more persisting health issues, chronic osteoarthritis and displayed abnormal ambulation in her right stifle, continue to be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and laser therapy. Her skin condition has shown drastic improvement through prescription treatments for a customized skincare routine, which includes dry scrubs for exfoliation, medicated shampoo baths, and coconut and Vitamin E oil application.

Along with year-round access to a heated barn and a spacious habitat, Nosey receives individualized veterinary and husbandry care, diverse environmental enrichment, and freedom of choice in a protected-contact setting.

Due to Nosey’s history of exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis — as noted in her health records since 2012 — it has been recommended that Nosey remain separated from other African elephants at The Sanctuary who have no history of exposure to TB. Consideration of her health and well-being as well as the health and well-being of the other elephants is a priority.

Nosey currently has visual, auditory, and olfactory social opportunities with Asian elephants Shirley, Tarra, and Sissy, who share her history of exposure to TB. Even with a buffer between them, Caregivers often observe the elephants rumbling with ears out, distantly communicating with one another. Her opportunities to socialize with her Asian elephant neighbors continue to grow and more introductions are being planned. Our hope for the future is for Nosey to have companionship with other African elephants and to be integrated into a herd.

We delight in the incredible strides Nosey has made in trust, confidence, and strength since her arrival to The Sanctuary in 2017. She has been an active participant in her own healthcare and energetically explores and engages with her surroundings, even creating shortcuts for herself by climbing over large logs and moving trees to forge trails down to the valley in her habitat. Caregivers assert that her enthusiasm for interacting with the world around her is contagious!

If you would like to contribute to Nosey’s care, you may make a donation to The Sanctuary’s Year End Campaign in her honor. Gifts to the Year End Campaign go toward the ongoing care of all of The Sanctuary’s elephants, including Nosey. Nosey T-Shirts are available for purchase on our Shop page and Nosey will be added to our Adopt-an-Elephant program in January 2021.

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