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Rosie the Elephant Needs Rescuing

Rosie the Elephant Needs Rescuing
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Rosie is a 42-year-old retired (Asian) circus elephant currently living at Endangered Ark in Hugo, Oklahoma.  Established and run by Carson & Barnes Circus for its own herd of elephants, it functions as a breeding facility and retirement home.  It is not a sanctuary or a circus with performing animals.

“The purpose of it is to perpetuate the Asian elephant in the United States,” says Barbara Miller Byrd, a third generation owner of the Carson & Barns circus in a video. “It’s a dwindling species, endangered species and so we are trying our best here to keep them going.” Asian elephants are no longer allowed to be imported to the United States.  According to Defenders of Wildlife, the wild Asian elephant population has been reduced from 100,000 in 1900 to 35,000-40,000 today.

About Rosie

The controversy about Rosie is the proposal by veterinarian Jim Laurita and his brother Tom who want to bring Rosie to what they describe as a rehab facility for elephants in their hometown of Hope, Maine. The Laurita brothers worked at the circus back in the 1970s when they were teenagers. Tom was a juggler and ring master and Jim worked with, trained and handled the elephants; this is where he met Rosie.

Rosie is living at Endangered Ark because of an injury that resulted in chronic arthritis.  She was attacked by some of the other elephants in her herd.  She doesn’t walk very much because of the pain, and even lying down and getting up are difficult tasks for her.

Hope Elephants

Justin McAnaney, Director of Operations for Hope Elephants — the non-profit organization set up by the Lauritas — told me in a phone interview that Dr. Laurita wants to bring Rosie to Maine “to extend her life, slow deterioration and make her more comfortable.”  He also relayed to me that Rosie was imported to the U.S. as a youngster and has lived in captivity since then.  Most likely her mother was shot and she was captured.  He also told me that Rosie was bottle-fed and really identifies with humans, but not so much with other elephants.

What Hope Elephants wants to do is help Rosie with her medical issues by providing physical therapy using the modalities of ultrasound and hydrotherapy.  They have plans to build a first of its kind water treadmill for elephants.  The website sates their mission is “to care for retired and injured elephants and to educate about conservation.”

Animal Advocacy

There are many animal advocates looking to help animals who experience abuse, cruelty and neglect.  And many are signed up with various groups like IDA (In Defense of Animals), the many SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) organizations, IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) and numerous others to keep up to date on what is happening so they may step up and defend animals in need.  Such was the case when I received an email from IDA elephant task force asking people to oppose bringing Rosie to Maine.  Here you can read the letter comedian Lily Tomlin wrote to Maine Governor Paul LePage.

This story requires an open mind and a desire in seeking all the facts before forming an opinion.  In researching Hope for Elephants and the campaigns to prevent Rosie from being transferred there, I discovered two very different beliefs and methods but with the same goal: to help Rosie have a better life.


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8:50AM PST on Nov 20, 2012

As someone that suffers from severe chronic pain that it horribly effected by weather and temperature I can not help but think that living in Maine is NOT in Rosie's best interest. It is very possible that this Dr. might be the best thing for Rosie as far as giving her the love that she so deserves after having such a difficult life beginning with being taken out of the wild and away from her mother at such a young age then raised in captivity, trained and preforming for SO many years. It is about time that someone actually cared for HER and gave her a life of love and happiness. Don't we all deserve that really?? I just know that for me personally, warmer climates are much easier on me and my severe pain and I just can't imagine it being any different for our Rosie.

8:07PM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

Rosie would be better off with warmer weather for her arthritis. The sanctuary in Tennessee or even California would give her a chance to be with other elephants and learn to depend on others like herself, not just people. Maine is a brutal place in winter; lovely but brutal, and not a place for an elephant. There should be no elephants in this area because of the cold.

1:46PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012


11:35AM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

I signed several times for Rosie but nothing happens till now it seems !


8:32AM PDT on Aug 6, 2012

Send Rosie where she will be loved and well taken care of. I will never attend a circus again.

3:29PM PST on Jan 28, 2012

I try very hard not to support events that exploit animals, if we all boycotted any circus where animals were part of the show, this often barbaric explotation of living creatures would stop. I visited an elephant sanctuary in India, yes the elephants are 'on-display' but the sanctuary has to raise funds some how and the animals are well looked after. All visitors were invited to buy and feed fruit to the elephants (and oh boy they all enjoyed the watermelon slices and bananas that we fed them, despite their huge size they are really gentle when they take food). Then we were asked if we'd like to give them a bath, this was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. There were several people washing the elephant, we were given coconut husks to scrub her with, it was clear, as she lay in the stream, that she was really enjoying all the attention. I washed her face, very gently scrubbing her around her trunk and gently washing over her eyes, her eye lashes were like broom bristles. She was making a very gentle noise that I can only liken to purring. What a wonderful creature but I would still have prefered for her to have been in the wild where she, and the rest of her kind, belong.

1:14PM PST on Jan 28, 2012

yes rossie need love as my beloved tarra. i had been sponsored tarra for 4 years, also belle the dog, but she died. rossie need too much love.

8:30PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

Like all animals who are getting along in years, Rosie needs whatever is best for her, not what is best for others. She needs her dignity and to feel loved and wanted.

3:08PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

Rosie is like Tarra. She needs loves, and to be well taken care of in a climate that is good for her.

8:23AM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

Rosie needs to be where she is loved , wanted, cared for and her pain to be eased as soon as possible. Why prolong her pain ,when the problem CAN be if not solved then eased.She needs to be protected, and have runs, and enclosed freedon befor she gets too old to have any enjoyment.

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