Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA) will be home to as many as 10 female elephants retired from zoos and circuses.
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 and rehabilitation 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 rehabilitation and wellbeing.
For more detailed information, please read EAI Founder and CEO Carol Buckley’s paper “Adaptation/Rehabilitation of Captive-Held Elephants.”
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.
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 rehabilitation, 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.
Our current projects include:
- building 15 wooden access bridges, totaling 800 running feet. This will give us year-round access to the 60,000 feet of fencing that encloses ERNA.
- installing additional streaming CCTV cameras to 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.