World Elephant Day

Today is World Elephant Day, which was created to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. Millions of participants worldwide have shown their concern about the plight of elephants through acknowledgement of World Elephant Day, proving that people respect elephants and want to support them. We have chosen this day to celebrate how sanctuary can help elephants heal from decades of trauma and abuse, and how it has helped our group of elephants thrive and learn to simply be elephants again. 

The caregivers at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil and at other sanctuaries we have worked with have witnessed the power of connection between elephants and how learning the concept of freedom can help them remember how to act like an elephant, trust others, and begin to release some of the pain they’ve held inside for years. We have heard time and again that once elephants have had extended contact with humans, they forget how to socialize, or that years of time spent alone condition them to depend on humans for every need. Some insist that, without human intervention, elephants won’t know how to graze, take care of themselves, or understand how to interact with other elephants. 

Time and again, the elephants that arrive at sanctuary have disproved those theories. It is true that elephants need some form of relationship with other elephants, they need to feel secure, and they want to connect with the land again. But they appear to have an innate instinct for how to do those things, in time. 

For instance, Maia and Guida got along terribly before they arrived here, but seemed to instantly make peace with one another and became the closest of friends. Rana spent 50 years alone, and one of the first things she did after stepping out of her transport crate was to cry out for her sisters that she knew were there somewhere. Even though Lady does not have a tactile relationship with the others, she still seeks to be around them and finds great joy in the natural world that surrounds her. Each elephant here finds some level of healing. The trauma, health issues, and age of the elephants at Elephant Sanctuary Brazil will never allow for them to be returned into the wild, but their lives at sanctuary provides them the next best thing – an environment that is as close as possible to their natural one, the ability to form meaningful relationships with other elephants, and the freedom to make choices they should have been allowed to make, if not for years in captivity. 

We hope that today (and every day) you will find time to advocate for this incredible, intelligent, and loving species in your own way. There are so many that still need help. Please help to shed light on how this important species can impact the lives of others, restore the land, and live the healthiest lives they can.

Photo: Mara, Bambi, and Rana


  1. REPLY
    Barb says

    Easy to be an advocate for these precious sentient souls. . . Thank you ESB for a dream come true

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you for your dedicated support.

  2. REPLY
    Susana Tejedor says

    Me han enviado un comentario sobre la muerte de Mara. Quisiera saber si eso sucedió y por qué no se ha informado

  3. REPLY
    Zoi says

    My profound appreciation to Scott, Kate, and the complete team for all the magic you do every single day.
    Rana, Mara and Bambi are the best example of what an elephant sanctuary really is, Las tres amigas are the ambassadors of the best sanctuary in the world

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      We are appreciative of you for helping spread our message that sanctuary heals. We can all be ambassadors in the world.

  4. REPLY
    John says

    You people are the best. I feel l’m a better person just being “connected” to Sanctuary.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you, John.

  5. REPLY
    Renee' Killian-Zeiger says

    My post is in memory of Joy the 44 year old elephant that lived in a small gunite rock /concrete elephant exhibit in Greenville, SC for 37 horrible years. She arrived there when she was 7 years old. I saw her once in the 90’s and really didn’t know/understand about the plight of captive elephants. I do remember her “swaying” back and forth. Now I look back and realize how sad and lonely she was. I remember standing there watching her for a long time and called out to her. I think I could tell she wasn’t happy. It’s a VERY tiny zoo and houses lions, a tiger and giraffes (that they breed) orangutans, alligators. Other smaller animals and it is in a small landlocked area beside a public park (Cleveland Park) and a very elite old neighborhood surrounds it. I sat down and read the story of how Joy died while being transported to Colorado Springs to live out her life and how the horrible Greenville Zoo Director decided NOT to send her to the The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee where Scott and Kat could have given her an amazing forever home. The G’ville zoo director Bullock decided not to bc of her eye issue and was “concerned” about the vast landscape at TES and his “concern” for her welfare! What a jerk! What a “JOY” it would have been if Scott and Kat had been able to take/receive Joy. Scott, Kat, and all your staff and hard workers…as tears actually well up in my eyes, thank you for EVERYTHING you do to help and continue to receive other Ellie’s. I long to actually see another elephant in their natural habitats one day. You are truly blessed to be able to work with and take care of elephants that needed someone to get them out of their hellish captive situations.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you for supporting sanctuary. It’s never too late to learn more and spread the message.

  6. REPLY
    jean says

    Thank you for your tireless dedication and love for these beautiful girls.

  7. REPLY
    Alana says

    GSB is a special, special place, with special,special people & amazing resident elephants & more to come. You all live in my heart.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Thank you. We’re lucky to have such a strong team of supporters who help us grow.

  8. REPLY
    Carol in Vancouver, Canada says

    Thank you all for what you do for these magnificent creatures – and for educating the rest of us. I too feel like I’m a better person for having this connection to GSE and ESB in particular. May the human race at large grow a heart, and start treating all animals with the respect they deserve. Again, thank you all.

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