START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
Nov 10, 2011

Focus:Animal Welfare
Action Request:Petition
Location:United States Many of you have seen the now famous YouTube video of the elephant Tarra and her special canine friend Bella. The video went viral 2 years ago and brought world attention to The Elephant Sanctuary in Hoenwald Tennessee. The Sanctuary was founded by Carol Buckley, who rescued Tarra as a baby and traveled, lectured, and performed with her for over twenty years before investing her life savings and huge mortgage to found The Elephant Sanctuary. Tarra was the first elephant to find a new life at the Sanctuary with Carol they then rescued more elephants and educated many.

A short time ago,  Bella was fatally injured by Coyotes on the Sanctuary grounds. Tarra carried her body home to the barn where she is housed and laid Bella down outside, where she was discovered. Her injuries and the blood on the underside of Tarra's trunk,helped everyone piece together what had happened. Due to insider conflicts, the Board Of Directors of The Elephant Sanctuary voted Carol out 18 months ago,forced her to leave her own organization and have now prevented her from being with Tarra. Carol and Bella were close friends for over 30 years. ...

The Board of Directors have insisted that they are doing everything possible to comfort Tarra during this sad time but they are not allowing Carol to visit. Carol has filed with the Court to try to visit her elephant,but even though the judge is sympathetic,the fact that animals are "property" - "Things" under the law - makes it difficult for the court to intercede on Carol's and Tarra's behalf. This is where YOU come in. Please sigh this petition AND WRITE to CEO Rob Atkinson and the Board of Directors at Urge them to allow Carol to have access to the elephant she raised and rescued,in the organization that would never have come to be without her hard work and altruism. ( Carol has gone on to found Elephants International and works tirelessly in Southeast Asia, educating mahouts and other caregivers in humane treatment and training of captive elephants.)

Elephants have highly developed social networks and strong attachments to one another and to their caregivers;so much so that the Sanctuary only allows a very few people to interact with them directly. In this way the elephants are not constantly growing fond of people who are only on the grounds for a period of months or days. Carol vanished from Tarra's life 18 months ago, after being at her side for 30 years or more. Now Tarra has lost the little dog she loves,as well as Scott,Carole's former partner, who recently left the Sanctuary. To keep Tarra from seeing the most significant person in her life at this time is nothing less than abusive. It is petty and it is wrong,regardless of the reasons for Carole's departure. It is not unlike an acrimonious divorce where children are used as pawns to further the petty agenda of disgruntled parents. Please do what you can, take a moment and make your voice heard. Carol Buckley has probably done more for captive elephant welfare than anyone in the world;this is the very least we can to to repay her in some small measure. Carol and Tarra need to be together! Please post to your FB, tweet, send in your private e-mail to your private contacts - tell the press - help us make this terrible human misconduct viral so that Tarra and the other elephants have their best human friend, Carol, again!    

Tarra The Elephants real Bio with Carol, her rescuer:

Tarra, aka Fluffie, is a female Asian elephant born in Burma, Asia. In 1974, when Tarra was only six months old, she was prematurely weaned and separated from her mother when she was sold to an animal broker who imported her into the United States.

Tarra was flown in a small wooden crate from Thailand to California by cargo plane. A local businessman in Simi Valley, Ca. purchased Tarra, and named her Fluffie.

Fluffie spent the next year and a half living in the back of a delivery truck. She lived in the parking lot of a tire dealer store by day, and a single-family residential home driveway by night. Shortly after Tarra's arrival in the USA, the Asian elephant was declared an endangered species, and all future importation of Asian elephants into America was halted.

Carol Buckley, a first year student attending an exotic animal management course at a nearby college, learned of Fluffie's existence.

She became her volunteer caretaker. Within months Fluffie was no longer spending her days cooped up in the back of a delivery truck. Carol arranged for Fluffie to spend a limited time on exhibit at the tire store, a few hours each Saturday and Sunday. The remainder of the week Fluffie was housed away from the tire store under Carol's care.

By the time Fluffie was two years old, Carol, her full-time caretaker, purchased her and changed her name to Tarra.

For the next two decades, Carol and Tarra traveled throughout the world "entertaining" audiences in circuses, amusement parks, zoos, on television, and in motion pictures. When not performing, Carol and Tarra lived in the small mountain town of Ojai, California, on a private compound located in the Los Padres National Forest.

In 1980, Tarra became the world's only roller-skating elephant, a talent that served to display her intelligence, coordination, and grace.

But it soon became apparent to Carol that although Tarra enjoyed playing on skates it sent the wrong message. Carol decided to retire Tarra's skating routine and concentrated on a more educational presentation.

In the 80s, Tarra's engagements were primarily in zoos with an emphasis on education. Although very athletic, Tarra's abilities were not limited to sports. In 1986, "Tarra originals," custom watercolor artwork created by Tarra, were displayed at her hometown gallery.

In the summer of 1991, Tarra was successfully bred in Ontario, Canada. After a twenty-two-month gestation period, Tarra began a very difficult labor that lasted two days and resulted in the delivery of a stillborn calf.

Research indicates that first-time mother elephants, in the wild as well as in captivity, have a thirty-three percent rate of stillbirth with their first calf.

Carol and Tarra


After ten years of envisioning an elephant sanctuary, Carol made her dream came true. This was to be her and Tarra’s forever home.

On March 3, 1995, after twenty-one years of entertaining the public, Tarra retired from show business, becoming the first resident of The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee.
In order to purchase the land and make necessary improvements to rescue needy elephants, Carol mortgaged the California home where she and Tarra had lived. It too was a magnificent piece of property nestled in the Los Padres National Forest, but Carol realized that in order to make her Sanctuary dream come true there would be many sacrifices. Funds were tight and the pressure was great to complete the facilities needed to rescue needy elephants. She used her life’s savings to underwrite the monthly mortgage payments on the Sanctuary property, the many improvements to the property, and Tarra’s continued care until the organization’s membership grew and more elephants arrived.

For fifteen years, Tarra immersed herself in the habitat while Carol worked diligently, spreading the word about her dream. They met in the middle with frequents visits and walks in the habitat. Carol’s vision was shared by many people who gave generously of their time and money. As  result the Sanctuary grew from 112 to 2700 acres, from a small two-stall barn to three subdivided habitats for African elephants, Asian elephants and elephants in need of quarantine.
Tarra maintained her position as ambassador for the Sanctuary, greeting each new resident as she arrived. Relationship was recognized as the single most important component to each elephant’s rehabilitation and recovery. Being long lived, highly intelligent and emotional beings, the elephants and their caregivers formed strong bonds of trust and companionship. The multiple-decade long relationship shared between Carol and Tarra deepened and soon included all members of the herd; they became a family.

In spring of 2010, after fifteen years of unwavering dedication serving elephants and the Sanctuary, the Sanctuary Board of Director surprised everyone by firing Carol. They removed her from her Sanctuary home and barred her from seeing Tarra. The magnitude of this unexpected hostile takeover sent shockwaves through the animal welfare world, paralyzing the elephant welfare community.

Tarra has not been allowed to see Carol since April of 2010. The effect this has had on Tarra is not documented. Carol filed a lawsuit in order to reunite the two. The case is pending.

Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Thursday November 10, 2011, 9:10 am
Tags: elephant : tarratheelephant tarraandbella tarratheelephantandbellathedog carolbuckley carolbuckleyandtarra [add/edit tags]

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