Wednesday 08 June 2016 | 19

Coming soon… an elephant sanctuary in Europe!

The elephants will soon have their European sanctuary, in France! Thanks to the partnership and support of One Voice, the Elephant Haven refuge is taking the big step, opening its doors to the first elephants in the beginning of 2017…

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One Voice was entrusted with Vicky in 2006, rescued from a circus, and they transferred her into a Polish zoo that takes in animals in need. But the pachyderm problem is ongoing. Rescue them, yes, but where can they be homed? In 2013, the same dilemma arose with Samba, a circus fugitive who had killed a man whilst running away. At that point in time, Elephant Haven was unable to help.

One Voice's president, Muriel Arnal says, "There is an increasing citizen uprising against circuses with wild animals. The local authorities have taken this on board and a growing number of municipalities are refusing them. It is the right time to organise this type of sanctuary, already in place in the United States, and also in India created by One Voice with Wildlife SOS. Sofie and Tony have turned the dream into reality here with this project. We are really excited to see the first elephant reach the sanctuary!"

Tony? Tony Verhulst. With fifteen years of full time experience looking after elephants at the zoo d'Anvers from 1993, the Elephant Haven idea was born thanks to his passion and his knowledge. Sofie Goetghebeur worked at Anvers Zoo at the same time as Tony, and, like Tony, she was deeply affected by the state of certain captive elephants that she came across during her career. The solution was clear to them: open the first elephant sanctuary in Europe.

Elephant Haven will be constructed at Bussière-Galant, in the Haute-Vienne region, 400km south of Paris

On gently rolling hills, the haven comprises of 28 hectares of agricultural land, which will expand even more in the future. The Haven's ambition is to offer a safe haven to elderly elephants, tired from a life in the circus or isolated in a forgotten zoo. They will be able to discover a calm and sociable existence until the end of their days on this undulating property scattered with small woods. The elephants of course will be unrestricted, free to roam without chains or training. The public will be invited to view them, but only at a distance, with no contact allowed. There is no reproduction programme in mind, the aim being to accommodate as many elephants as possible without creating a zoo.

Upon the announcement of the One Voice partnership, Tony exclaimed on the social networks, "We are happy to announce that, thanks to One Voice, we have taken a big leap towards creating an elephant refuge in Europe! We and the elephants thank you from the bottom of our hearts!"

As for Sofie, she had this to say, "Very happy about the partnership with One Voice! We can do so much working together… And together, we will see the first elephants arrive at the beginning of next year!"

Thanks to the One Voice partnership with Elephant Haven, we hope that, soon, Samba will walk side by side with Betty or Syndha in the Limousin plains, shaking their ears in happiness…

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In the subject

Maya the elephant is at her end!
The torture of Maya

Comments 19

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Dorette | Monday 04 December 2017

Merci à ONE VOICE. J'habite en Haute-Vienne et je suis fière que mon département accepte la naissance de ce sanctuaire.

Nicolle | Wednesday 09 August 2017

Où en est ce projet ?

Ce sanctuaire a ou va-t-il devenir réalité ?

Vu la prise de conscience des conditions de vie des animaux exploités depuis des années dans les cirques ou ailleurs, et leur devenir de fin de vie ce projet serait le plus grand respect que nos amis qui ont eu une vie de misère sont en droit d'attendre de l'humain.

Un tel projet évidemment doit rencontrer des blocages administratifs ou autres.

Je suis de tout coeur avec vous.

Merci de votre réponse.

One Voice | Wednesday 09 August 2017

Oui le projet avance ! :-)
L'équipe d'Elephant Haven a obtenu le permis de construire, le projet se poursuit ! Bien cordialement

Pinpon | Saturday 24 June 2017

Maman, j'ai envie d'aller voir les éléphants !

Il faut répondre à cette question et donner une alternative, sinon les parents

voudront toujours faire plaisir à leurs enfants. C'est la raison d'être des zoos et

des cirques. Comment faire rêver un enfant sans faire souffrir un animal ? Que

les professionnels qui vivent de cela, les acteurs publics, les défenseurs des

animaux proposent des spectacles de substitution serait l'acte qui suit la


Pourquoi ne pas ouvrir un forum pour trouver des idées ?

Isa | Monday 06 March 2017

Belle initiative - j'aimerais savoir à quel stade de réalisation elle est à présent.