Two exceptional captive elephant facilities currently exist in the United States. They are the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in California and The Elephant Sanctuary (TES) in Tennessee. What sets these two facilities apart from any North American zoo is the space, complexity of environment they provide for the elephants they hold and management regimes that allow the elephants autonomy to make choices and play a key role in improving their own lives.
The PAWS sanctuary provide elephants with enclosures that exceed 80 acres in size and that feature varied natural terrain, pasture and swimming areas. TES provides elephants with enclosures that range from 300 - 2,200 acres in size. They feature a variety of habitat types, including forest and pasture and substantial swimming areas.
Elephants in both facilities are given the freedom to establish their own social relationships, are able to be on their own at times of their own choosing.
Both PAWS and TES have taken in numerous ailing elephants that have spent their lives in circuses and/or zoos. Despite the poor condition of these animals upon arrival, both facilities have had remarkable success improving their health, welfare and quality of life.
For additional information:
The Elephant Sanctuary