The Elephant Sanctuary

The Sanctuary is currently home to 11 elephants retired from zoos and circuses, many of whom suffer long-term health and behavioral issues common to elephants that have spent their lives in captivity.
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An Elephant Never Forgets

In 1995, The Elephant Sanctuary was founded on 110 acres in Lewis County, Tennessee.  Tarra, a former performing elephant, was the first resident, and construction of the first barn was completed. 

Barbara, a former circus elephant, was the second elephant to find sanctuary in Tennessee in 1996.  That same year, Jenny arrived.  An emergency fundraising campaign was developed to bring her to The Elephant Sanctuary from a Nevada animal shelter.

Shirley and Jenny were reunited in 1999, after 25 years apart.  They immediately recognize each other from their previous lives as circus elephants.  Also in 1999, the first EleCam, a live-streaming video feed from the habitat, went live on  

Visitors were not allowed at The Elephant Sanctuary for the safety of both elephants and humans.  Many elephants later and a Sanctuary encompassing 2,700 acres of peace for its residents, the EleCam system and the Elephant Discovery Center were welcome additions to engage adults and children, to create awareness and educate them of the plight of captive elephants and the conservation efforts worldwide for elephants.


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