Elephant photos and ele-diary entry used with kind permission of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.
***image2***We are honored to share our lives with each and every elephant that arrives at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. Most arrive with painful physical and emotional scars, and each soon learns that we are will care for them in the deepest most loving ways.
Our most recent arrival, Dulary, a 43-year old Asian elephant from the Philadelphia Zoo is a healthy confident elephant. She was deeply loved at the Zoo, and is blooming each day as she discovers all the delights of her new home at the Sanctuary.
On April 30, Dulary surprised everyone by walking right into the Sanctuary transport trailer, which had been parked in her yard at the Zoo. Her journey began the very next day, and ended with an excited crowd of journalists and new herd sisters waiting as Dulary’s trailer pulled into the Sanctuary Asian Elephant Habitat on May 1. Tarra, the Sanctuary’s first resident, was beside herself with excitement when she saw the truck; she spun and barked her delight. Luckily this was captured on camera in the Dulary Arrives video . It is always a very emotional moment when the trailer is put into place, Scott Blais and Carol Buckley, pull open the door, and we anxiously await that first glimpse…..and there she was… the great beauty Dulary. Confident and curious, she put one foot on the ramp….and there she stayed.
***image1***Over four hours later, and having shifted to the back of the trailer, it was finally Tarra that Dulary followed out of the trailer. Why so long?
It is important to remember that the Dulary’s decision to get IN the trailer was the first choice she had made in decades. Once in, the choice to get out was hers, and what would await her when she did alight? Tarra must have given her the reassurance she needed.
One of the most moving moments of the day was just before she finally got out of the trailer. The few camera crews who remained and I were just at the edge of an elephant stall, our cameras fixed on Dulary, who had two front feet planted firmly on the truck ramp. Just to our left, in the adjacent stall, three of the most beautiful gigantic elephant heads pressed themselves close, as if their determined excitement would help Dulary.
***image5***Misty, Delhi and Tarra, eyes big, waiting for their new sister to come close.
Following a mighty Misty trumpet of excitement and encouragement, Tarra made her move and Dulary joined the herd.
Over the next 24 hours she was quickly embraced by her best new friends, Misty and Delhi, and finally Sissy and Winkie. Dulary became the center of a rotating elephant sandwich.
Exactly one month after Dulary’s arrival the ele diary recounts:
Today is the day we have been waiting for; Dulary finally demonstrated that she wanted to interact with her caregivers in a respectful way. When Scott approached the corral, Misty and Dulary walked right up. Misty was her usual animated, vocal self and to Scott’s sheer joy, Dulary gently placed her head against the bars, stuck her flapping ear through the opening, dropped her head down in a submissive posture and began to talk. This is exactly what we have been waiting for, for Dulary to demonstrate that she wants to interact in a respectful manner with her caregivers. This is a day to celebrate!
***image4***It was a lifetime milestone for me to work behind the scenes to orchestrate an elephant arrival. Permits, hotel reservations, new web pages, itineraries, and lots and lots of other
endless details. Teams of volunteers cleaned and touched up every corner of the barn, plants were mulched, as we poured all our love into each task. One late evening, Carol and I were mulching, Scott was sawing, and caregivers were lovingly preparing Dulary’s stall. Misty, the walking embodiment of joy and fun, angled her self in the night yard her eyes following Scott and Carol’s every move. The only sounds were the saw, the clank of the shovel, and Misty’s delighted squeaks as she watched the preparations. Misty loved the company and the knowledge of what we were preparing for!
It all became very real when the truck driver picked up the Sanctuary custom elephant trailer and drove off to Philadelphia, leaving a red muddy tire track trail of Tennessee dirt. Excitement built as the large trailer got stuck in the Zoo’s muddy yard, and our cell phone calls were full of excited voices in the background who were towing out the trailer! Scott flew to Philadelphia the next day and I was awakened very early Monday morning by Carol, Dulary is on her way!!!!
2006 was a year of great joy and sadness for The Sanctuary; the tremendous accomplishment of finally rescuing the eight former Hawthorn elephants, and the devastating loss of our beloved caregiver Joanna and our long time elephant resident Jenny. The joy felt in the Asian habitat with Dulary’s arrival was a healing love, and both elephants and staff welcomed the ability to give our love unconditionally to Dulary.
***image3***At this writing a pond is being dug for Dulary. Knowing her great love of the water we are not waiting for her to discover the 25-acre lake, which is located quite a distance from the barn. Dulary is comfortable and discovering Sanctuary life at her own pace, so, we will bring the water to her! Dulary is melting into herd life, and enjoying a natural habitat life; the least that every captive elephant should have.
In the last two weeks two captive elephants in zoos were euthanized and six year old baby Hansa in Seattle also died. Every elephant remaining in zoo and circus needs our attention and our determination to change their future.