Elephant of the Week or Elephants to Adopt / Foster / Sponsor

Shirley : Elephant of the Week at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee : Elephas maximus sumatranus Part 1

Name: Shirley

Date of Birth: 1948

Place of Birth: Sumatra (an island in Indonesia); “a rare Asian elephant”

Gender: Female

Where Now:  The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

Status: Oldest and most infirm elephant at the sanctuary

Elephas maximus sumatranus For more Photos of Shirley you will love see them at: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee


Shirley at home: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee


In her over 66 years of living, as of this writing, Shirley has been through more distress than most elephants including:

  • She was captured as a calf from the wild and purchased by the Kelly-Miller circus. She was made to perform in that circus, often in the most deplorable conditions, for the next 25 years. Shirley and the menagerie traveled all over North America.
  • In 1958 Shirley and the entire Kelly-Miller circus was held hostage in Cuba with Fidel Castro’s uprising and ascent to power in that country. After several weeks Castro’s forces set them free.
  • In 1963 she was rescued from a “cramped and ramshackle steamship, the Fleurus” used by the circus, after an engine explosion set the vessel afire.
  • Immediately after the Fleurus disaster, which sent the docked vessel plummeting to the depths of the ocean floor, (in the Yarmouth Harbor in Nova Scotia, Canada) the elephants were “eventually trucked back to the United States”. Unfortunately a crash occurred (no details given) during their trip. Fortunately, Shirley was at least one of the pachyderms that “obviously survived” that “elephant traileraccident.

To Be Continued: Shirley is a VIE (Very Important Elephant) which means this Elephant of the Week will be featured in 2 parts. See: Part 2


Shirley is home! She is the oldest and most infirm elephant at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee


See: Shirley’s history for more of her story and photos

For information on how to Adopt Shirley Elephas maximus sumatranus see: The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee

See: the Sumatran elephants Wikipedia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *