Although most of us don’t have immediate access to baby elephants on a daily basis,…
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The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee is the largest natural habitat refuge for elephants in the United States. The sanctuary has housed dozens of elephants over its nerarly 20 years of service. It its on more than 2700 acres of land, divided for Asian and Elephants to enjoy their respective habitats.
While the facility is often reserved from the public, it dedicates itself to elephant education in the US.
Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary is built out of love. Katherine Connor, the founder of BLES, started the sanctuary in memory of a baby elephant named Boon Lott (which means survivor in Thai). Born premature, Boon Lott was transported with his mother to the hospital where Connor was volunteering. When Connor met the three-month calf, she knew there was an instant connection. She enacted campaigns and fundraising to ensure that Boon Lott’s mother would stay with her calf until he was of age to be on his own.
All seemed to be going well until a fall left Boon Lott paralyzed. Despite the opinions of international experts, Connor was determined to ensure Boon Lott continued to live a happy, fulfilling life. Connor managed to raise funds to build him a hydrotherapy pool to aid in his rehabilitation, and even found a team to assist in creating the world’s first elephant wheelchair for Boon.
Sadly, Boon Lott sustained an injury from another fall that would prevented him from ever standing again. His injuries became to much of a detriment to his survival and he passed away. In Boon’s memory, Connor cares for local elephants in honor of his heroic will to overcome adversity.
The Kuala Gandah Elephant Conservation Centre differs from the conventional sanctuary. Although Kuala Gandah takes in elephants that are gravely injured or in need of immediate assistance, it’s mainly concerned with relocating elephants displaced from encroaching development. Since establishing its translocation program, the center has helped relocate over 400 elephants.
The Elephant Conservation Center is the only government-owned camp in Thailand. The center is home to the Thai King’s, HM Bhumibol, six white elephants. Founded in 1993, the center runs an elephant hospital and is also home to Thailand’s first mobile elephant clinic which treats elephants in need for free.
The center dedicates its efforts in furthering research on elephants. Its findings have been implemented in the center to achieve a large natural birth rate of about two offspring a year.
Elephantsworld, founded in 2008, is the newest sanctuary on our list. In its eight years, the sanctuary has grown to function as a “retirement home” of sorts. Elephantsworld also offers a selection of programs for volunteers to come and learn about their elephants while assisting in their care.
Visitors can stay for a few nights as an introduction, or up to one to four weeks for the full Ellie experience.