Winter Appeal (407F14E-COPY) - The Elephant Sanctuary

Winter Appeal

Because of YOU, The Sanctuary is able to provide gold- standard care to aging, captive elephants. The focus is always on providing the best life possible for elephants living at The Elephant Sanctuary. Veterinarians and Caregivers work together to develop individualized care plans and treatment options.
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We have learned so much about elephants aging in captivity through caring for Shirley, now 69 years old and a Sanctuary resident for 18 years.

In the wild, elephants can live well into their 60s and even 70s. Historically, captive elephants have a shorter life expectancy as a result of chronic, progressive conditions that can negatively impact their health and mobility... conditions like arthritis, foot disease and tuberculosis. With individualized life-long care provided by The Sanctuary, elephants like Shirley can be the exception to the rule.

Shirley’s story is a remarkable one. She survived a ship fire, an overturned transport trailer, a broken back leg and more than 20 years without the company of other elephants. Shirley retired to The Elephant Sanctuary in 1999 after spending 24 years in the circus and another 22 years as the sole elephant on exhibition.

“Despite all that Shirley has suffered, she travels daily throughout her expansive habitat and still chooses to be an active participant in her care,” says Stephanie DeYoung, Director of Husbandry. “All elephants are amazing, but Shirley possesses a keen intelligence that is astounding.”

YOUR SUPPORT MAKES IT ALL POSSIBLE. In the wild, elephants will walk up to 15 miles a day, searching for food, water and resting places. The Elephant Sanctuary now offers hundreds of acres and miles of trails for elephants to roam, swim, forage and simply be elephants. This summer, Flora was often seen adventuring farther into the Africa Habitat, pursuing her favorite activity, pushing down pine trees. Tange and Sukari chose to spend much of their time together exploring the expanded habitat and wallowing in the mud. All of the elephants in our care have the freedom to choose where they spend their days and what activities they want to participate in.

YOU can help us continue to meet the ongoing needs of Tarra, Shirley, Sissy, Sukari, Tange, Flora, Minnie, Ronnie, Debbie and Billie. YOUR donation will also help us prepare for all the elephants that will join us in the future.


The Elephant Sanctuary has set aside unrestricted financial operational reserves of four times its budgeted expenses to ensure the lifetime care and safe haven for an undetermined number of elephants. Elephants have an expected life span of 50-70 years and The Sanctuary is committed to providing food, shelter, veterinary care, medicine, caregivers, property maintenance and security. Along with the public’s continuing support, these funds are needed to provide for the elephants currently in our care and those to come.

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