Thankyou for the invitation Phil......here's a picture of 71 the beauty that just recently passed at PAWS
(San Andreas, CA) 71, one of PAWS cherished African elephants, peacefully passed away this weekend. Her PAWS family was with her. She was 26 years old.
71 was born in Africa and shipped to the United States after her mother was killed in a cull. Assigned and tagged #71, and slated to be sold as a baby circus elephant, she and a few others in the group ended up being purchased by a man in Florida who owned a large estate. Without her mothers care she was malnourished, chronically sick and nearly died. In an attempt to save her young life, Pat Derby and Ed Stewart, founders of PAWS, offered to give her sanctuary.
71 was the cornerstone of PAWS. She was the reason for everything that guides PAWS founding mission. She leaves a legacy for the other African elephants, Mara, Ruby, Lulu and Maggie, whom she led. ARK 2000 was truly hers, Pat Derby said.
When 71 first arrived at PAWS her veterinarian said she would never be a healthy elephant. But Pat and Ed committed themselves to giving her a chance. They slept with her for months, and bottle fed her until she was strong enough to eat on her own. They gave her love and encouragement. They gave her a family.
When 71 first arrived and walked out of her crate, Derby recalls, we immediately cut the chains from around her neck. We promised her right then she would never again be chained. She would never be beaten. She would never have to do anything she didnt want to do. We kept that promise to her.
Captivity, and the practice of capturing elephantstearing them away from their families, forcing them to live in confined spaces, often cruelly trainedis ultimately what destroys them.
I hope everyone who hears 71s story will remember her when they see elephants languishing in small spaces, rocking and swaying, deprived of their freedom and their families, Derby said.
A necropsy will be performed this week.
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PAWS is a nonprofit, captive wildlife protection organization. PAWS cares for over 100 animals at its three wildlife sanctuaries in Northern California. PAWS animals were rescued from abusive and neglectful conditions or retired from zoos. Once they had lived in confinement, but at PAWS and ARK 2000 a 2,300-acre state-of-the-art sanctuary -- they now live in spacious natural habitats with rolling hills, lush natural grasses, trees and lakes and ponds. At PAWS, the animals are provided 24-hour monitoring and care never left alone. www.pawsweb.org