Height: 7' 11"
Weight: 7500 lbs.
Favorite Food: Oranges
Birth Place: Portland, Oregon, USA
Birth Status: Captive born
Life before the Sanctuary: Oregon Zoo, African Lion Safari, Greater Vancouver Zoo
Reason for coming to the Sanctuary: Living alone and debilitating foot disease
Tina was born April 26, 1970. She was the third of four calves, all female, born to Rosy and Thonglaw at the Portland, Oregon Zoo. Rosy, Tina's mother, had two additional calves, both male, sired by Packy, the first elephant to be born at the Portland Zoo.
In all, Tina had sixteen brothers and sisters: three were full sisters; two were half brothers by her mother; and eleven more (seven males and four females) were half siblings by her father.
all Tina's sixteen siblings,
only four are known to be alive. Packy, age 41, and Rama, age 20, still live at the Portland Zoo, Hanako, age 40, is living at the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington and Cora,
age 38, was sold to Ringling
Brothers Barnum and Bailey
Circus where she remains
to this day. Cora is Tina's only
surviving full-blooded sibling.
At two years of age Tina was sold to the Vancouver Game Farm in Aldergrove, BC, Canada. With the exception of a temporary move to the breeding facility at African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ontario, Tina lived her entire life at the Game Farm in Canada.
For many years Tina lived alone at the Game Park except for a Saint Bernard dog named Susie and the occasional night when the owner's children camped out in her barn. Apparently she loved both the dog and the camp outs.
In 1986 Tina
was joined by another elephant, a young female African named Tumpe.
In the Early 1990s The Game Farm sold to new owners who changed the
name of the facility to The Greater Vancouver Zoo. Around this time
it was identified that Tina was overweight and was experiencing foot
problems. Consultants were hired to instruct the staff on proper diet
and foot care. Tina and Tumpe continued to be on exhibit together until
2002 at which time Tumpe was sent to a zoo in the United States and
Tina was once again alone.
Tina was blessed with a staff that cared deeply for her and did their best to give her a quality life. After Tempe left many recognized that Tina's environment was detrimental to her well-being. Her caring staff joined the effort to find her a more suitable place to live.
On August 11,
2003, after a 3000 mile, 3.5 day, cross-country trip, Tina arrived at the Elephant Sanctuary. She was accompanied by her long time keeper Tony Guenther and Sanctuary
co-founder Scott Blais. She was our eighth resident, our first Canadian
and the first captive born elephant to join our herd.
On July 21, 2004, nearly one year after her arrival, Tina passed away.
A message from Carol Buckley
My heart is heavy with grief. I can hardly find the words to say what I must, because it is so
Wednesday morning at 2:45 am, in the company of me, Scott, Winkie and Sissy, our dear
Tina passed away. She was calm; her eyes were soft and ever-knowing. I could not help
myself, I begged her to stay. But she just looked at me in her tender Tina way and I knew that
her decision was made. She was going home, leaving us to feel that excruciating void that
only the loss of a great love can cause.
I am so very sorry to bring you this painful news, it breaks my heart. I wished for a miracle
and then realized that Tina is the miracle. She has touched so many lives in her short thirty-four years.
Her health and welfare raised awareness collectively, individually, locally and internationally.
Resulting in an entire community coming together in one of the most selfless and righteous
act of kindness known; letting Tina go. Tina embodied love and compassion and imparted that
to everyone she met. You were there when Tina needed you most, she knew. Even after she
was freed to come live with us at the Sanctuary, you remained her family, continually
concerned for her welfare and happiness. Tina knew, she always knew. Magnetism was her
very essence and a huge loving heart, her legacy. We are all blessed to have known and loved
her. Her absence will create an unbearable void.
Over the next few weeks a wave of sorrow will blanket every person and place that Tina
touched. Please reach out to each other for comfort, Tina would want it that way. It helps me
to see her in my minds eye; that Cheshire cat grin from ear to ear and sparkling eyes,
mischievous and innocent. Unconditional love radiating from her, engulfing me
in a warm blanket of pure joy. You have felt this also, it is Tina's special gift to you. I know
you cherish it as I do.
We do not know what caused Tina's death. Her foot condition was improving and there were
no signs of a problem until a few days ago when we noticed that she was having difficulty
coordinating her movements. When she tried to put food into her mouth she would miss,
hitting her chest or face instead. The effort did not appear to be painful, just awkward. After
consulting with our vets, we ran tests and started Tina on a new remedy and saw an
immediate improvement. Two days later her motor skills again appeared to be impaired, again
her remedy was adjusted and we saw an improvement. Then on Monday she began to eat less
and the stiffness in her legs was worse than we had seen in the past. She was given additional
therapies, her response was good. Then early Wednesday morning she quietly folded to the
floor in the barn. We attempted to hoist her to her feet but it appeared that she was unable to
place her legs underneath herself, as if she had no muscle control. We helped her to gently lie
over on her side on a mattress of hay. She relaxed onto the hay and then without a fight, not a
groan or complaint, she passed away.
As Tina's necropsy results become available I will share the information with you. Losing
Tina is painful enough, not knowing why is unbearable. I pray for answers.
We share a special love and profound grief for our beloved Tina.
View a slideshow of Tina's time at The Elephant Sanctuary