September 29, 2015

Hadari has arrived!

On Thursday September 24th, Hadari - a 33 year old African, became the 25th elephant to retire to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Hadari joined Flora and Tange in The Sanctuary’s Africa habitat.

Earlier this summer Hadari’s owner visited The Sanctuary. He was considering the option of sanctuary for her retirement. He was given a tour of the facility and introduced to staff. We shared information about The Sanctuary’s protected contact management program and provided an opportunity for him to discuss Hadari’s specific health and behavior needs with Dr. Steven Scott, Director of Veterinary Care, and Margaret Whittaker, Director of Elephant Programs.

We found it easy to talk with Hadari’s owner about what we had in common; he wanted the best care for Hadari for the rest of her life, and The Sanctuary’s focus is on our mission to provide best care to elephants living in captivity — for their lifetime.

Hadari spent 20 years at the Nashville Zoo where she lived with African elephants, including Rosie and Sukari, and was cared for by her owners and Zoo staff. Hadari’s retirement and transport to The Sanctuary was planned in collaboration with her owner, the Nashville Zoo and The Elephant Sanctuary.

In preparation for Hadari’s move, The Elephant Sanctuary transported The Sanctuary’s recently renovated trailer to the Zoo grounds. Hadari was introduced to the trailer by her owner and given the opportunity to become familiar with it.

Day 1

Early Thursday morning, Sanctuary staff Dr. Steven Scott, Margaret Whittaker, Stephanie DeYoung and Janice Zeitlin drove to the Nashville Zoo and stood by in support as Hadari’s owner and Zoo staff loaded her into The Sanctuary’s trailer. With Hadari’s transport in the lead, Zoo staff, Sanctuary staff and her owner left the Zoo grounds for the 2.5 hour trip from Nashville to Hohenwald.

Cameras installed inside the trailer transmitted video to laptop computers in the trailing vehicles allowing veterinarians and Care staff to monitor Hadari’s safety throughout the move.

The caravan made one short stop along the way to double check Hadari’s comfort to find she was eating hay and checking out all the locks and hinges in the trailer.

As the truck and trailer pulled onto The Sanctuary grounds, there was a quiet cheer from staff who were anxiously awaiting a first glimpse of Sanctuary’s newest resident.

Sanctuary staff worked tirelessly to make sure the barn and Africa South Yard habitat were ready for the new arrival. Staff picked banana leaves, selected fresh produce and had favorite melons ready in the barn.


Upon arrival, the truck backed the trailer up to the Africa barn. The Facilities staff wanted to make it as easy as possible for Hadari to quickly and safely exit the trailer. So they built an earth ramp just outside of stall #5 where she would walk off the trailer into her new home.




Trailer doors were opened, the safety bars removed and Hadari followed as her owner called to her. She stepped onto the dirt ramp that led directly into the barn. Hadari discovered the first banana leaf along the way.














For those watching it seemed only moments later that Hadari was in the barn feasting on produce, fresh cut browse and a special welcoming treat of watermelon.




The barn doors were quietly shut as Hadari inspected her new surroundings, using her trunk to investigate every gate and every new smell. She often stopped her search to relish the welcoming array of foods.

With doors and gates shut, Sanctuary Facility staff quickly removed the dirt ramp blocking her easy access from barn to the South Yard 12-acre habitat.

No one had to wait very long after the doors and gates were reopened before Hadari, with encouragement from her owner, exited the barn and began to discover Sanctuary.

To everyone’s delight, Hadari walked along a length of the perimeter fence, stopping to reach for branches just on the other side. Sanctuary care staff have stayed with Hadari around the clock to both observe her and to assist her introduction to her new surroundings.

Hadari spent her first night in Sanctuary undecided as to whether she should be in the barn or checking out Sanctuary in the moonlight. She did both. Staff have described her in her first days in Sanctuary as “curious and calm”.

Welcome, Hadari, we are excited to have you here!