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October 31, 2011 / V A Nichols

Update from Carol Buckley

This communication is sent in memory of Bella, the very special dog who befriended Tarra the elephant. Their loving relationship, which spanned nearly a decade, ended tragically last week when Bella was attacked and killed by a pack of canines. Poor Tarra witnessed the horrific event and is in shock. All our love to dear sweet Bella, the best friend an elephant could ever have.

Message from Carol Buckley, Founder and CEO
Dear Friend,
We have entered into a most exciting time for EAI. With our collaborative effort to create the first-ever elephant care center in India secured, we will have a profound impact on the lives of tens if not hundreds of suffering elephants.

We stand at the forefront of the movement to assist captive elephants across India. The time for change is now and we are positioned to have a huge impact on how elephants are managed, bringing relief not only to those elephants fortunate enough to be rescued to our care center, but all who will experience the ripple effect of our work. I foresee many EAI care centers throughout India, new homes for the nearly 200 zoo elephants who, by government order, must be moved.

Your support for this important project will ensure its success. Please join us in ending the worldwide suffering of elephants…one elephant at a time.

India soon to have first Elephant Care and Rehabilitation Center
EAI has announced its official partnership with the Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC), one of India’s foremost wildlife organizations, to create the first prototype Elephant Care and Rehabilitation Center in Karnataka, Bangalore, India.

With the endorsement of the Indian government, this private project will serve as a model for future care and rehabilitation centers throughout the country. The center will rehabilitate elephants who have been removed from the confines of zoos, circuses and temples, and offer them a more natural lifestyle, free of chains and negative management techniques.

There is an urgent need for care centers (what are known as sanctuaries in the U.S.) in India. In November 2009, the country’s Central Zoo Authority mandated that all elephants be removed from zoos and placed in alternative facilities better suited to address their needs. India’s wildlife parks and game sanctuaries are not well suited for zoo elephants and, until now, no other alternative existed.

Carol Buckley, EAI’s founder and president, will supervise the Center’s development, training of mahouts (elephant handlers) and elephant acquisition and relocation. This first facility will house up to seven elephants.

Capital Improvements to make the facility ready to accept elephants are estimated at $210,000. The annual operating budget is $82,000. To learn more and support this landmark project click here.

Menaka, Our Founding Elephant
Carol Buckley first met Menaka, soon to be our first elephant resident at ECRC, in February of this year. (Read blog entry.) Eleven years old, she was rescued a few years ago from a temple. Her health at the time was critical, with low body weight due to an improper diet and diseased feet. CUPA-India agreed to provide financial support for her while she resided temporarily at the Bannerghatta Zoological Park outside Bangalore. An effort was made to integrate her into the existing herd of elephants on exhibit. Before enough time could pass for her assimilation to be successful, her health screen came back questionable for TB. She was moved to an isolated enclosure within the zoo until testing could be completed, but by this time the zoo no longer wanted to house her, so CUPA moved her to WRRC, where she will remain until the ECRC is ready to receive her.

EAI announces new Board member
Dr. Amrithraj Christy Williams has accepted an appointment to the EAI Board of Directors. As coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund’s Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS), Williams has his finger on the issues facing elephants in Asia. With an extensive background in elephant behavioral and census studies in the wild, Williams is a leader in his field. We are honored to have Williams on our team providing insight into the issues and needs of wild Asian elephants.

Buckley goes to court for Tarra
On October 17, a Motion for Pendente Lite Relief filed by Carol Buckley was heard in the Chancery Court of Lewis County, Tennessee. The motion asked the court for an order allowing Carol visitation with her elephant Tarra, and for an order requiring the defendant to remove certain documents filed before the court.

The motion asserted that the Sanctuary had reneged on an agreement allowing Carol access to Tarra. It had been 18 months since she was last allowed to see Tarra and check on her wellbeing. Opposing counsel argued that a request for visitation did not fall within the court’s authority.

The judge explained that the courts view Tarra as property and, as such, he could grant permission to “inspect” Tarra only in the event that Buckley planned to remove her from Sanctuary grounds. Since removing Tarra from her Sanctuary home is not Buckley’s intention, the motion for visitation was denied.

The judge assured Buckley and all present in the courtroom that her request was very reasonable but he was limited by the law’s lack of an applicable provision.

For the second part of Buckley’s motion, her lawyer pointed out that, in addition to its response to her lawsuit, the Sanctuary had posted on its website several anonymous, unsigned letters from disgruntled employees, most of whom had not been employed by the Sanctuary for years. The letters contain inflammatory and unsubstantiated accusations. It was argued that these letters should either be removed or the authors identified.

The judge denied the motion, explaining that the First Amendment protects freedom of speech. Since the allegations are slanderous, Buckley can sue for slander.

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3 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Elaine Reininger / Feb 26 2015 2:51 PM

    Was Carol Buckley ever permitted to see her elephant Tara again? Very sad.

    • V A Nichols / Feb 26 2015 5:11 PM

      Sadly, I believe ‘no’ is the answer for now. We, all, continue to look forward to the day when they may be reunited.

      • Zeus Boutiller / Aug 9 2015 6:54 PM

        Sad all the way around..just like David Balding was told he could visit Flora then told no he couldn’t it would just upset her. These elephants have feelings and Carol and David should have been granted permission to visit them.

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