a life-long animal lover, i have recently become enamored with elephants. jodi picoult’s most recent novel, “leaving time” (to be published october 14), is about a young girl who is trying to find her mother, an elephant researcher who disappeared from a sanctuary when the girl was but a baby. the story is compelling, as are all of ms. picoult’s, but i am particularly captivated by the research she has done on elephants.
sanctuaries were often created to provide former circus elephants a safe place to live out their lives, away from the rigors and cruelty experienced under deplorable conditions which included cruel trainers, being chained up in small cages, and grueling transport for long distances in small trailers. there are currently two accredited sanctuaries in the states, one founded in 1995 in hohenwald, tennesee and one in galt, california, founded in 1984. this wonderful video shows two former circus elephants’ reunion at hohenwald after 22 years. it is obvious that these animals remember each other and their gentleness and intellect are evident in the video.
the david sheldrick wildlife trust and its orphans’ project, created by dr. dame daphne sheldrick in memory of her late husband, were born from one family’s passion for Kenya and its wilderness. the david sheldrick wildlife trust is today the most successful orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program in the world and one of the pioneering conservation organisations for wildlife and habitat protection in East Africa. (from the website)
the orphans’ project is world-renowned for its elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. the animals are under threat in kenya due to poaching for their ivory and horns and to the loss of their habitat due to increased human populations, deforestation and drought.
i encourage you to learn more about the plight of these magnificent creatures and about the wonderful sanctuaries that have been established for their future well-being.