Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Elephant Sanctuary

As the website says, "They loaded up their trunks and they moved to Tennessee..."

Unbeknownst to most Tennesseeans, in the heart of this great state lies America's largest private natural animal refuge: The Elephant Sanctuary.

Over 2,700 acres of wooded farmland in Hohenwald, Tn has been transformed into an immense rehabilitation and relocation facility dedicated to the care of captive elephants. At the moment, the facility houses 19 retired zoo and circus pachyderms, but plans are to one day support as many as 100 animals.

The Sanctuary is funded almost entirely by private donations from roughly 62,000 private supporters. From what I've read, it costs approximately $1,000 per month to care for each of the animals.

Again, to quote from the website:

The Elephant Sanctuary exists for two reasons:

To provide a haven for old, sick or needy elephants in a setting of green pastures, old-growth forests, spring-fed ponds and a heated barn for cold winter nights.

To provide education about the crisis facing these social, sensitive, passionately intense, playful, complex, exceedingly intelligent and endangered creatures.

In my book, there are few endeavors as worthwhile as this. Certainly humanitarian causes top the list of noble charities, but when it comes to the animal kingdom, it is rare to find such a tremendous facility.

Have a look at the website and find out more about this unlikliest of Tennessee wonders. Maybe take a few dollars and make yourself donor number 62,001. If for nothing else, enjoy the sheer unexpected presence of African and Indian elephants in the middle of Tennessee.


Nathan Fortner said...

Oddly enough, this is about a 30 minute drive from my home town of Lobelville, TN.

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