Europe is about to get its first elephant sanctuary. The much needed safe haven soon to open in France will act as a retirement home for former circus elephants.

The first barn will be completed in the central French region of Limousin by the end of summer with plans already underway to build another barn to house a further five elephants by 2020.

The project is thanks to a partnership between World Animal Protection and Elephant Haven.

The link-up between the two charities came about after successful lobbying by World Animal Protection to the Danish Parliament to ban wild animals in circuses.

Now, 14 other European countries are putting in place similar bans, many of which come into force this year.

The sad reality still remains though, that more than 100 elephants are still forced to entertain in circuses across Europe. Before news of this sanctuary, there was no safe haven for them to retire.

“As the long-awaited circus bans come into place across Europe, Elephant Haven is a desperately needed sanctuary where former circus elephants will be safely housed with a life they deserve.”

CEO at World Animal Protection, Steve McIvor.

“These elephants have suffered a lifetime of misery, held in captivity and forced to endure cruel and intensive training to make them ‘safe’ to interact with people and entertain,” he went on to say.


Elephant being forced to perform.

“Denmark’s commitment to ban circus elephants is a huge victory for us and is part of a chain reaction across Europe to end the misery and suffering of these majestic animals. The best place to see an elephant is in the wild or, in the next best place, a genuine elephant sanctuary.”

The number one concern at the new sanctuary will be the safety of elephants. Cameras will be placed inside and outside the barn with permanent security on site.

Image credit: World Animal Protection

Once the elephants are safely housed, a platform will also be built for visitors to safely watch elephants roaming freely and behaving as they would in the wild.

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