The Sanctuary Prepares to Welcome Nicole (Nichole)

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is excited to welcome a new member to our herd, Nicole!

Nicole, a 47-year-old female Asian elephant, was part of San Antonio Zoo’s geriatric herd coined “The Golden Girls.” After the passing of Nicole’s two companions, Karen and Lucky, in 2022, San Antonio Zoo made the decision to transfer Nicole to The Sanctuary to provide her with continued social and herd opportunities.

Nicole has been residing at San Antonio Zoo since 2016, after spending decades as part of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey traveling circus. She will be one of 11 elephants now living at The Sanctuary and the 30th elephant resident since The Sanctuary was founded in 1995.

Nicole will take the 800-mile journey from San Antonio, Texas, to Hohenwald, Tennessee the week of March 6, alongside a transport team and San Antonio Zoo’s veterinarian and support staff.

Upon Nicole's arrival, The Elephant Sanctuary’s Care Staff and Vet Team will work closely with her to make sure she is comfortable. Nicole will have access to a nine-stall heated barn and vast habitat space equipped with enrichment to help build curiosity and confidence as she explores her new forever home. 

"It has been an exciting year for The Sanctuary as our herd continues to grow! We are honored to have the opportunity to care for Nicole as she ages," says Janice Zeitlin, CEO of The Sanctuary. “We have been modifying facilities and cross-training staff to ensure a comfortable transition for her. Nicole will be provided with space and opportunity to explore her new surroundings at her own pace."

Read San Antonio Zoo’s full announcement here.

We will be updating our supporters as we learn more about Nicole's arrival!

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Zoo

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