Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA) will be home to as many as 10 elephants retired from zoos and circuses.
At ERNA, the needs of elephants come first. As an elephant refuge operating under an authentic sanctuary philosophy, ERNA is not open to the general public. We do recognize the valuable learning experience of observing elephants and will educate the public through the use of live streaming video cameras located throughout the habitat. These cameras will enable people to watch the elephants unobtrusively, ensuring the elephants’ privacy and providing the public a window into the world of natural elephant behavior.
Located in Attapulgus, Georgia, ERNA spans 850 acres of gentle rolling hills, lush pastures, dense forests, spring-fed lakes, creeks and streams, with a climate that will allow our elephants to remain outdoors 24/7 almost all the year. It is the perfect place for elephants to regain their “elephantness” and develop loving bonds with other elephants and caregivers.
Each elephant will receive individualized care that takes into account her past traumas and life-shaping experiences. The elephants will have autonomy and the ability to choose where and with whom they spend their time. At the same time, we will support them in developing the confidence and skills required to bond with other elephants, each at her own pace.
Unfortunately, because some captive-held elephants were separated from their mother and family at a very young age, they never learned how to develop close bonds with other elephants. Put another way, they lack elephant social skills.
We will support these elephants in developing loving relationships with whomever they trust and feel compatible with, most often their caregivers. For these elephants, building and maintaining strong trusting relationships with their caregivers is key to their wellbeing.
For more detailed information, please read EAI Founder and CEO Carol Buckley’s paper “Adaptation/Rehabilitation of Captive-Held Elephants.”
ERNA is ready to accept elephants for retirement:
- We enclosed our entire 850 acres with 60,000 feet of double fence system. The 8-foot-high outer perimeter fence keeps uninvited guests out and the specially designed inner fence keeps the elephants in.
- We completed the construction of our first barn, which serves as ERNA’s central location for quarantine and observation of elephants in need of veterinary and hospice care. The barn is located in a secured one-hundred-acre habitat, where new residents will spend their first days after arrival.
- We built 15 wooden access bridges, totaling 800 running feet, to give us year-round access to the 60,000 feet of fencing that encloses ERNA.
Our current projects include:
- reinforcing habitat fencing with additional steel pipe for increased security for our first elephant resident Bo. Learn more about Bo here!
- building three Habitat Care Stations (HCS) in the remote locations of ERNA’s 850 acres. These stations will provide fresh water for drinking and bathing, as well as a safe space for treatment.
- installing transmition tower, high speed WIFI service and streaming video platform for our Elephant Cam system. The network of high definition cameras allow us to monitor the elephants and share with you their experience of discovering their new home.
Team of Experts
A team of experts with unique and varied backgrounds will guide a holistic approach to care of the all elephants who call ERNA home. Our Integrative Health Team includes highly skilled and recognized experts in the fields of wild animal welfare, homeopathic veterinary medicine and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine.
Learn more about ERNA’s Integrative Health Team.