• Female elephants in captivity in the United States far outnumber males.
• Male elephants in captivity have very different needs and requirements for their individualized care.
• Elephant herds are extended family units comprised of females and headed by a matriarch – an older female. When a male elephant reaches maturity, he leaves the herd.
• The Sanctuary has provided for one male, Ned. All decisions regarding new elephants are made on a case by case basis.
• The Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Sanctuary in California does provide a facility for male elephants.
• The Elephant Sanctuary is one of two sanctuaries for elephants in North America accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
• The Elephant Sanctuary is the only sanctuary for elephants in North America certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
• The Elephant Sanctuary does not condone free contact management or dominance training of elephants and takes a stand against the use of the ankus (bullhook).
• The Elephant Sanctuary does not support the use of elephants in entertainment.
• Elephants are wild animals with complex physical and social needs not supported by the training, performing, confinement and travel demanded of elephants in entertainment. (Reference: Carol Bradley, Last Chain on Billie: How One Extraordinary Elephant Escaped the Big Top)
• The organization does not support increasing the number of captive elephants.
• There is no assurance elephants born in captivity will ever be released in the wild.
• The Sanctuary's Distance Learning program provides live webinars for classrooms all over the world. The program utilizes staff led two-way conversation, photos, videos, and live-streaming footage from the elephants' habitats. Visit www.elephants.com/distance-learning to learn more.
• The Elephant Discovery Center in downtown Hohenwald, TN includes interactive multi-media exhibits, a theater, an outdoor classroom, and regularly scheduled programming about elephants, the purpose of Sanctuary, and conservation efforts in the wild. Visit www.elephants.com/discovery-center to learn more.
• The climate of Middle TN is mild for most of the year.
• Seasonal variations offer a range of vegetation for foraging and enrichment.
• The elephants at The Sanctuary all have free-choice year round access to expansive habitats and heated barns.
Many people in the animal care and conservation field have degrees in zoology, biology, wildlife conservation, and wildlife management. The Sanctuary's Care Staff recommends getting volunteer and internship experience during college. Often, local wildlife rescue organizations are a great place to start. These experiences not only help you decide your specific areas of interest but can also help new graduates get jobs in their desired area of work. Internships are often advertised on organization websites such as Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) www.sanctuaryfederation.org and Association of Zoos and Aquarium www.aza.org. Many universities also offer Study Abroad programs, which allow students to receive college credit while studying in range countries.
The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, founded in 1995, is the nation’s largest natural-habitat refuge developed specifically for African and Asian elephants. Accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) and certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), The Sanctuary operates on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, TN – 85 miles southwest of Nashville.
The Sanctuary exists for two reasons:
The Elephant Sanctuary is a true sanctuary - a place of retirement for elephants.