Elephant Sanctuary worker loses custody of Tarra

by Katie Zanin


A few years back we wrote about how in 1974 Carol Buckley, then 20 years old, adopted Tarra, an elephant who quickly became her best friend. For 29 years, the duo worked as circus performers until Buckley’s realization that both she and her elephant were unhappy. She dreamt of a place where her elephant and others could live in peace without any prospects of commercial exploitation. In 1995 that dream became a reality.

Fast forward to 2010.  The Tennessee sanctuary is world-renowned, home to previously captive and mistreated elephants and has over 85,000 donors. It is also the U.S.’s first elephant refuge simulating a natural-habitat and allowing its residents to roam free. According to the NYT’s, Carol Buckley, now 56, has been fired from her position as board president and chief executive, kicked off the sanctuary grounds where she has a house and home and denied visiting rights to Tarra. Apparently there is a “long list of quite sufficient reasons” for her ousting but the board refuses to elaborate. The only accusations that have been made public are that Buckley is aggressive towards the elephants in the sanctuary and has continually engaged in “illegal practices.”

Devastated at her seemingly unfair loss, she is suing for the three most important things in her life: money (over $1 million), her job and her best friend, Tarra. The board maintains that the sanctuary has become extremely dysfunctional over the years but refuse to show any proof, choosing instead to eradicate Buckley from the situation. Most are in agreement that the board is handling this situation inappropriately and they are losing donors and members because of it. Hopefully the full story surfaces soon and Carol Buckley and Tarra get can be reunited.

Source: New York Times

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