Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Elephant Sanctuary

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Protection of Endangered Species

Mission: The Elephant Sanctuary exists to provide captive elephants with individualized care, the companionship of a herd, and the opportunity to live out their lives in a safe haven dedicated to their well-being; and to raise public awareness of the complex needs of elephants in captivity, and the crisis facing elephants in the wild.

Results: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is the nation's largest natural habitat refuge developed specifically for endangered African and Asian elephants. The Sanctuary operates on 2,700 acres in Hohenwald, Tennessee—85 miles southwest of Nashville. Since 1995, The Sanctuary has given safe haven to a total of 27 elephants retired from entertainment and exhibition, providing them with herd, home, rest, refuge and individualized care for life. As an accredited sanctuary, the habitat where the elephants live is not open to the public. Instead, nearly 3 million viewers annually observe these elephants just being elephants via live-streaming Elecams on our website at www.elephants.com.

Target demographics: older, sick and/or needy elephants

Direct beneficiaries per year: 13 elephants. Educational outreach on elephants was made available via Distance Learning to nearly 2,153 K-12 students in seventeen states and one foreign country. Seventy-one new EleAmbassadors were trained as volunteer representatives for The Sanctuary in 29 U.S. states and 2 Canadian provinces. Nearly 1,400 visitors attended educational programs held at The Sanctuary's Welcome Center in downtown Hohenwald, TN. And 2.9 million individuals experienced The Elephant Sanctuary online.

Geographic areas served: Hohenwald, Tennessee

Programs: habitat care, nutritional care, health care and educational programs.

Community Stories

87 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 SusanBC

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of the Elephant Sanctuary in TN since 2003, with the retirement of a local elephant named Tina. Until that moment in time, I had no idea of the cruelties associated with animals in captivity, in this instance, elephants. I have learned so much about these majestic animals and while it is sad that they can never be back in the wild, having the Sanctuary give them space to roam and the ability to be an elephant again without having to perform for people or 'earn their keep' has made such an impact in their lives. Very few of these dear souls arrive in perfect health, but with time and a lot of tlc, good food, fresh air and lots of room to stretch their legs, they are able to enjoy their lives to the fullest for the rest of their days. Please take the time to browse through their website, visit the cam page and also their many youtube moments!

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I learned of this wonderful organization in 2003, with the long awaited retirement from a local zoo, of a lone Asian elephant named Tina. I was never comfortable at a zoo or circus in my younger days, but did not have a clue what kind of lives elephants faced everyday in captivity. Internet was new to us then and what a world it opened up. These elephants truly do live the life they were meant to live, short of being free, with acre upon acre of open space, spring fed ponds, natural vegetation and top quality care both in caregivers and vet staff . The Sanctuary does have a volunteer program which fills up pretty quickly and what I like is that there is no access to the public for 'viewing'. The elephants no longer have to perform for anyone or do silly tricks. Being a long time 'fan', I have shared joy in each new arrival, each new milestone, as well a shed a lot of tears for those that have passed away. Even in the sadness, I have been thankful that these gentle souls have lived the end of their lives in peace and in love in their own little Heaven on earth. Thank you 'TES' for all you have done and all you will continue to do for the Elephants.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Spending a day at the sanctuary was an amazing opportunity! I had no expectations of seeing any of the sanctuary elephants but Flora greeted us with a big wave of her ears as we were heading to the African barn to do some polishing and shining of what was already a very clean area. The Elephant Sanctuary is a godsend for the elephants who were taken from their families as youngsters, chained most of their lives and forced to perform in circuses learning behaviors that are not natural elephant behaviors. The sanctuary provides a safe haven where they can live the rest of their lives in freedom just being elephants!
It was a joy to also see the caring and happiness of the staff when talking about or watching the elephants. The sanctuary staff are outstanding advocates for all elephants but especially the "gang" entrusted to their care! I am proud to have met and worked with Stephanie and Kelley
on my volunteer day!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I’m a donor who recently volunteered for a day. It was gratifying to be able to lend a hand at this special place, and fun to meet some of the staff and hear their stories. The employees are knowledgable and care deeply about the elephants.

The Elephant Sanctuary provides much-needed safe haven and care for elephants, enabling them to live out their remaining lives in comfort and with the companionship of other elephants. The elephants are free to roam the forests and fields and play in the ponds or stay in the heated barns when it’s chilly outside. This is a fantastic organization.

I will continue to donate to The Elephant Sanctuary, and hope to have the opportunity to volunteer again.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have her twice at the sanctuary. Both times were wonderful experiences. The people that work there seem dedicated and genuine and their commitment to providing these wonderful elephants with the high quality of life that they so deserve.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee is like no other place on earth. I know this and I've never even been there, and I probably will not ever go there -- but here's why: This organization takes care of old, rescued, orphaned and sick elephants in as natural a habitat as can be given to these wonderful fellow beings. The Elephant Sanctuary offers no human visitation (other than what is necessary for the elephants' health) because they want to give these elephants as much of a natural and happy life as they have left on this earth. They want the elephants to live out their lives with each other. To me, The Elephant Sanctuary represents the epitome of love and caring: Giving without expecting anything in return.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I am not certain how I first found out about the Elephant Sanctuary, but am very happy I did. The work these people do is just wonderful. Not only do they rescue and care for these wonderful creatures, but there are also stray dogs who find a home. Great story about Tarra and Bella, although a sad ending. Love the elecams, it's like you are right there with them. Have been donating for 12 years and watched many changes occur, i.e. visitor's center. Hope to get there soon for my own visit!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an educator in a high poverty school in urban Indianapolis, IN we are constantly trying to get real-world connections for our students. During a unit on fiction vs. non-fiction, I had a group of 1st grade students who were reading the story of Tara & Bella. The teacher and I were really excited to learn that the sanctuary still existed from the book and we got in touch with them. They tailored a unit of study for our students to meet our needs and connected with us virtually. The connection truly impacted our students and they will remember it for years to come!

1 Carol-Duckworth

Donor

Rating: 5

Since I was a small child I have felt a connection to elephants. The article I recently read on the web about Raju, the 50 year old elephant who cried when he was being rescued brought me to tears. I decided that day to make some donation to organizations who are trying to help these wonderful creatures. I found The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and read almost their entire website. I read all of the elephants bios, which I absolutely loved! I also read about how elephants suffer from PTSD which greatly impacted me. I made a donation that day to the ele girls in Tennessee and I will continue to do so over the years to come.

I feel really grateful that these magnificient spirits are being cared for by such thoughtful and hard working people. I will do what I can to spread the word of the important work that is being done for these dear elephants in Tennesssee. One day I hope to go to Tennessee and volunteer for the girls. Until then I will make donations to help with their care.
Thank you to everyone who donated and especially to everyone that takes the time to care for these special enities.
Love to you and God bless.
Carol Duckworth

1 Lori108

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee provides a safe haven where “sick, old, and needy elephants” can live out their lives in peace with each other. An elephant sanctuary is a huge undertaking and expenses are enormous. Since I am cautious by nature, I researched the charitable ratings for the Elephant Sanctuary before donating. I was very pleased to see that Charity Navigator gave the sanctuary a four star rating (out of four) and provided a breakdown of where donations go. The Better Business Bureau site (give.org) also accredited the sanctuary for meeting the twenty standards used by the BBB to rate charitable organizations.
Until I read the book “Behemoth” I never gave much thought to captive elephants. Elephants killed by poachers for their ivory tusks are, sadly, not a new phenomenon, but elephants in captivity were not in such danger. It wasn’t until I discovered the Elephant Sanctuary (through mention in “Behemoth”) that I realized how terrible the lives of these creatures have been.
Be assured that your contributions are going to a very worthwhile endeavor. The sanctuary must provide veterinary care, medications, food, and shelter on its 2,700 acres. Please donate to help this worthy cause. The elephants will never forget!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Much damage has been done to our dear earth and her animals by mankind. The Elephant Sanctuary is one way to make things right. They are very passionate, professional, kind and effective in running this charity and I happily and proudly lend a financial hand when I can. I sorely wish I could do so much more. My motto is KINDNESS TO ALL LIVING THINGS and this certainly holds true with the staff and mission of The Elephant Sanctuary. I am very thankful for the second chance these elephants have to live the last years of their lifes in loving care and a natural environment. What the staff does takes courage, heart, determination and strength and I send many, many thanks to them. I always end my correspondence to them with "love to the staff and girls" (all but one of the elephants being female). I have written this review in the hopes their kindness and efforts will never go unnoticed.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a proud supporter of The Elephant Sanctuary for several years now and fully intend on making it a lifelong commitment. Dear friends of mine, who love all four-legged creatures but especially elephants, first introduced me to the organization. I was impressed with the concept of offering sanctuary to these gentle giants, who give so much joy and have had so much taken from them. What was even more impressive, though, was how devoted the staff was to caring for the animals. The genuine love for the elephants came through in every newsletter and email that was forwarded and the elecams were a stroke of genius! Since we cannot actually visit Shirley, Misty, and the gang in their new home, watching their antics on camera are the next best thing. The most touching of all was the beautiful story of Tarra and Bella, whose death brought me to tears. The world could learn a thing or two from these amazing animals and I am grateful that The Elephant Sanctuary gives us such a forum. Blessings to all involved...

1 swellgalmary

Donor

Rating: 5

I have loved elephants since I was a child and as I got older I began to understand that many of them are used in circuses and exhibits and are mistreated and lonely. One day I happened upon the Elephant Sanctuary and was astonished by the work they do and the elephants they serve.

You can tell by their communication with the public that they love and RESPECT these great animals. They take in the ones that have been broken and downhearted for a long time and give them a chance to be an elephant for the first time in an environment where they can roam free and just be what God intended them to be.

Their website is informative and fun to visit and the Elecams are great. You get a chance to see the girls having fun. One day I was lucky enough to see them having a great time in the rain. It made me smile for days. I also know it is teaching a new generation about elephants and how they should be treated.

I wish there was no Elephant Sanctuary -- not because they don't do wonderful and necessary work -- but because I wish elephants were never put in situations that these girls have been put in. But since my wish is not true I am so thankful for the Elephant Sanctuary and will continue to be a supporter as long as I can.

1 Annette21

Donor

Rating: 5

My sister introduced me to ES a few years ago. I have been in ele love ever since. We donate to a number of animal shelters throughout the US. What makes ES different, aside from the fact that it is for elephants, is that is a truly a sanctuary. I watch the elecam almost every day. I am always impressed by the fact that the "girls", as ES lovingly refers to them, can spend their days any way they want. No one interferes with their daily agenda or forces them to do anything. The reward is that the girls delight us with their amazing grace and often silly antics. I have learned so much about eles from the Sanctuary -- that eles are extremely sensitive, even emotional. I always heard they were intelligent, but from watching the elecam I see it first hand. They are playful and have a sense of humor. They are susceptible to TB and their feet need constant attention. They are remarkably agile. Aside from the medical care, good nutrition and enrichment provided to these exquisite creatures, what impresses me most is the profound respect, compassion and tenderness the caregivers have for them. I was so disappointed to hear that I could never actually meet the eles in person. But then I realized that this is the point of the sanctuary! These animals have been abused and neglected by humans for so long, they must dread the sight of most humans. Who can blame them? They deserve peace and a safe haven without human interference. Kudos to The Elephant Sanctuary and caregivers for providing acres of land, care and love to these incredible, precious animals. Love to All!

2 Kim_144

Donor

Rating: 5

Dear Friends,

There are countless, wonderful non-profit organizations that do so much. It can sometimes be overwhelming, trying to help them all. I have donated to many in my life. When I came upon this one years ago, I was certain that their efforts and goals were straight from the heart, and hope was no longer lost for the elephants that are being "trained/beaten" for selfish human reasons. Elephants are one of the smartest, sweetest, loyal creatures on earth, and for circuses, zoos, and traveling side shows to utilize them for their greedy money making shows is outrageous. What they do to them is abhorrent. I have picketed the circuses, and write countless letters to organizations and to the newspapers in hopes that it may educate even one person. When I found this wonderful organization, that seeks elephants out and with great perseverance, eventually rescues and adopts them from their nightmare of a life, my heart cried with joy, and gave my heart a ray of hope and sunshine. And the fact that the Elephant Sanctuary does not permit spectators, only the ele-cam, that just proves their utmost loyalty back to these beautiful creatures that deserve the peace and respect they finally are receiving. I invite and encourage anyone to send even a small amount, $10, $20, $50 or place them in your will... to ensure these souls receive the special diet, medical attention and that the staff can continue tending to their paradise on earth....which is what God had intended in the beginning anyway. Kudos to the Elephant Sanctuary! I hope in my lifetime, with the help of the Elephant Sanctuary, all circuses and side shows who en-cage and chain these wonderful creatures will cease. Most Sincerely, Kim Sedgwick, Macomb, IL

1 Milena S.

Donor

Rating: 5

I love this Sanctuary ,what it represents and does. I wanted to be a part of the girls (elephants) lives so I adopted Shirley, one of the many elephants that are living out the rest of their lives just the way they're meant to. FREE . Please go visit this amazing site and read all about how the dedicated volunteers make such a difference in the elephants (girls) lives. They even have an elecam, that's right, there are camera's all over the sanctuary and you can view the girls in their natural habitat. Sometimes doing nothing other times being silly or just hanging with their girlfriends. Or better yet go and adopt one of the girls.
I'm looking forward to many long and happy years of watching the ladies of The Elephant Sanctuary.
Please take a moment and visit the girls at www.elephants.com .

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've always loved elephants since I was 5 years old and my Mom would take us to the Zoo. The elephants were way in the back and I bugged to go there first. It was sad because the aroma was not the best and my Mom didn't do well with bad odors. It always stuck with me how sad the conditions were. Once I heard about the Sanctuary I decided this was the perfect place to get involved.
Every year at Christmas what I would have spent to buy my brothers gift )(who pasted away in 1994) would go to the Sanctuary. I also found they had different gifts for friends and family. I have kept track on different issues and told a lot of others regarding this place. It is awesome and they do really great things for the elephants.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

i help spread the world about this wonderful sanctuary for our greatest cousins

circus cruelty is where most come from; the E.S. helps them live normal lives again

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have enjoyed the Elephant sanctuary for a few months now. I work in a stressful field (police dispatch) and I find watching the elephants very relaxing and helps with my stress level. I have donated to the sanctuary because I feel it meets a need that most people do not realize is out there. Recently I was able to go to the Welcome Center and was very impressed with the people. It is very educational and worth sharing with others. I have recommended the sanctuary to several friends and I know they have passed it along to others. I hope the Elephant Sanctuary will be able to get the funds it needs to continue to inform and educate the public and take care of the retired and/or abused elephants that it needs to.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful day to work outside. So nice to see how previous volunteers' work has helped with the upkeep on the sanctuary.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Elephant Sanctuary is such a special place and the staff are just as special. They genuinely care for the elephants and strive to make it a true sanctuary. I was honored to volunteer alongside them and would gladly serve again.

Review from Guidestar