One of the two chief objections from Longleat to moving Anne is that she risks being bullied by other elephants at the sanctuary. We asked Elephant Haven to address these concerns and they provided the statement below. The sanctuary has comprehensive measures in place to ensure bullying does not occur.
We hope that Longleat will feel sufficiently reassured by these measures to remove this objection as a risk factor for Anne.
Statement from Elephant Haven European Elephant Sanctuary:
Elephant Haven is ready to welcome 3 female elephants now that Phase 1 has been successfully completed.
If Anne were to be relocated to the sanctuary now, she would have the environment all to herself, giving her time and confidence to adapt to her new surroundings and caregivers, before the arrival of other elephants. Each elephant will have its own unique set of circumstances and we are able to anticipate and cater for an individual elephant’s needs appropriately and with total dedication.
• EHEES is a true sanctuary dedicated to the care of elephants. All that has been envisioned, designed and built over the past 8 years has been focussed on delivering a sanctuary that is specific to the complex biological needs of this highly sentient species. It is, in essence, a ‘bespoke elephant environment’ and the first of its kind in Europe.
• The facility provides maximum opportunity for elephants to exercise natural behaviours and experience freedom of choice regarding their movements. The site is currently 29 hectares of land, in a rural regional park setting and has been carefully chosen for its suitability for elephants.
• The sanctuary is situated in an area of accessible natural resources and seasonal supply of locally grown nutritious and varied foods suitable for elephants, including naturally growing pastures for grazing and shrubs for browsing. Clean water is available and accessible at all times, for drinking and bathing.
• National and international elephant veterinary experts are accessible in a practical capacity, as well as advisory capacity.
• Quarantine protocols and physical facilities are in place should sick or transitional animals require separation from each other.
• Each elephant in our care will have a customised environmental enrichment programme provided through the size and diversity of the habitat and, uniquely, the practice of autonomy. Each elephant will be free to make personal choices about their daily lives and activities, predominantly around natural foraging and browsing for the majority of their own food. Supplementary enrichment programmes will be a crucial part of the caregivers’ roles through positive reinforcement training with the feeding of elephants’ favourite fruit and vegetables.
• Companionship of other elephants will be facilitated at EHEES when the opportunity arises. Socialisation will never be forced, but taken at each elephant’s own pace. Socialisation is the most natural behaviour of this herd species and elephants at EHEES will be able to communicate through all their senses, ultimately with a choice to remain physically together or be apart.
• The founders of EHEES possess all the necessary skill and experience to engage successfully with captive elephants and produce successful rehabilitation outcomes. Their network of peers in the elephant sanctuary community provide access to a wealth of knowledge gained from decades of accumulated experience.