Female Asian Elephant


It saddens us deeply to share that Lady passed on March 15, 2024.

The Excruciating Toll of Captivity


Lady Embodies Why Elephants Have No Place in Captivity.

Captivity took an excruciating toll on her.  A circus elephant for over 40 years, Lady’s body and spirit barely resemble that of her wild counterparts. Her feet are in horrific condition, something that would never be seen in the wild. Emotionally, she initially had a deep-seated mistrust of humans that spoke to what her past must have been like; she still has a hesitancy surrounding sharing space with some elephants. That being said, she is strong, silly, playful, and is letting her guard down and opening her heart again.

Lady has learned to trust her caregivers if they are emotionally present with her, and enjoys watching her fellow elephants, sometimes chiming in when they’re having silly parties. She doesn’t feel comfortable sharing a yard with all of the others, which is okay and understandable when taking into account her significant foot issues. She allows in-depth care of her pre-existing health conditions, and is a total pro when it comes to foot soaks and treatments. She has been diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a chronic foot disease that, unfortunately, cannot be healed. We do our best to treat any flare ups she experiences and provide her with anti-inflammatory and pain medicines to make her more comfortable.



With all that she has been through, Lady’s strength and spunk are awe-inspiring. She has a cheesy grin and gives you a look with her wide eyes, instantly melting your heart. Water is her friend and, whether it’s the hose, the mud wallow, stream, or pond, they all bring her joy. Watermelon is her preferred fruit, and crunchy pumpkins are her favorite vegetable – but she’ll try to do anything for a handful of Froot Loops. Lady loves wandering in the farthest and most dense yards of sanctuary, which is astounding considering the state of her feet. She is fearless when facing hills, valleys, and thick brush. When Lady is unsure of you, she wants you at a distance; when she trusts you, she wants you very close. She’s charming, playful, and insecure, all at the same time.


Read more about Lady in her diary.

Adopt Lady and Become Her Ele-Guardian



Estimated at 52 years old (no official records)



Forever Home

Elephant Sanctuary Brazil




Bugalicious, Lady Bug




Insecure but spunky and loves to explore; Embraces sanctuary, but on her own terms




Ex-circus elephant for approximately 40 years; confiscated and sent to live at a zoo for six years




Feet in terrible condition; has osteomyelitis in her bones, which is incurable; old cheek abscess that is occasionally still active



Body Condition

Good body condition and weight, some grandma belly




Escaped her enclosure at the zoo only to walk 10 feet to eat grass


Lady's Story From Circus and Zoo...

Lady at João Pessoa zoo

2013 - Sent to Zoo After 40 Years of Circus

In 2013 she was confiscated from the circus and relocated to a small zoo in João Pessoa, Brazil. The zoo did not have an elephant enclosure, so she was put in a “temporary” yard, surrounded by hotwire, while her permanent enclosure was being built. Her circus owner transitioned to the zoo to be one of her keepers. According to officials related to the zoo, her foot disease was already evident at that time.

Lady at João Pessoa zoo

Early 2014 - Chained in a Yard Too Small

In January, almost a year later, it was discovered that Lady was still being held in this tiny temporary yard, which brought activist, media, and political attention to the situation. One of our board members went to visit with Lady to see what could be done to help. Lady was frustrated and acting out in an attempt to vent her frustration. We saw that she was kept on a chain, in a yard that is so small she could only take a few steps. Her health was compromised due to lack of foot care, and her foot issues had developed to a point that they will need lifelong in-depth care; not only are they painful, but she suffers from osteomyelitis.

Lady at the zoo

Mid 2014 - Moved to a New Space in Zoo

In July of 2014, Lady was transferred into a new space at the zoo. With this move, those involved in her possible relocation to Elephant Sanctuary Brazil went back on their initial statement that they wanted her to go to the sanctuary. Instead, they stated that she was to remain at the zoo.  It was noted at that time that her feet continued to be a significant issue and may, as is the case for many captive elephants, be the cause of her death if her situation didn’t change and she was not relocated to an appropriate facility – one that could offer her space and much-needed foot and medical care.

To Sanctuary

2019- A Judicial Agreement Signed to Send Lady to Sanctuary

In 2019, Animal Protection Associations filed a public civil action against the city hall of João Pessoa and IBAMA (Brazil’s agricultural agency) seeking, among other requests, the transfer of Lady to a more suitable location. The reasoning stated was that Lady is in dire need of highly specialized care, a habitat more conducive to her species and development, and the companionship of others of her kind. After a lengthy legal battle, Elephant Sanctuary Brazil joined the process and, through many conversations, everyone involved decided that the best place for Lady was Elephant Sanctuary Brazil, and a judicial agreement was signed.

Lady at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil