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Ringling Might Be Closed, But More Elephants in Florida?

January 27, 2017


Carol Buckley is the founder of Elephant Aid International and is looking to open Elephant Refuge North America, a sanctuary for about ten elephants on land in north Florida near her new home in Georgia.  She wants to bring one of her elephants, Tarra, with her.  Or is Tarra her elephant? 


A custody battle has ensued between Buckley and the refuge she helped found.  The refuge ousted Buckley as president and chief executive officer and claims that Tarra is part of the family of elephants at the refuge; it is reported that Buckley is prohibited from visiting Tarra.  Regardless, plans remain for the new refuge to open, but don't expect a zoo-like atmosphere.  Rather, the refuge is designed for the elephants optimal benefit and would include a climate much like their native Asian habitat.  Buckley asserts that the refuge will open with or without Tarra but she is refusing to give up attempting to move her companion to the site.  


For more on this story, see: 

Ryan Dailey, "Elephant custody dispute factors into sanctuary plans near Tallahassee," Tallahassee Democrat, (Dec. 21, 2016), available at 


For a related story on animal custody, see:

Karin Brulliard, "In a first, Alaska divorce courts will now treat pets more like children," Washington Post, (Jan. 24, 2016), available at:

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