Elephas maximus sumatranus
For more Photos of Shirley you will love see them at: 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:
- In 1975, she was made to join the Lewis Brothers Circus. During one performance she was attacked by another elephant (no details given) which left her “right hind leg seriously broken.” The broken leg was never properly set which caused a deformity for life. With no concern for her injury, Shirley was “forced to perform” in the circus for almost 2 more years. She was then sold to a zoo.
- “For 22 years a plot of grass and a concrete stall was all she had known” at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo in Monroe, LA. Because of “safety concerns related to her injury” a decision was made for her to live without the company of other elephants. Unfortunately it was a time when “the need for companionship wasn’t well understood” by zookeepers and she didn’t “see another of her kind in over 2 decades.”
A Happy Ending
On 6 July 1999 The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee became Shirley’s home.
“When I saw this place I told her there’ll be no more chains. She is free now. She is free at last.” Solomon James, Shirley’s former keeper at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo, and his reaction to seeing Shirley’s new environment at the sanctuary.
Although the oldest and most infirm elephant at the sanctuary, she continues to enjoy her new life and her favorite treat; apples.
- See how Shirley reacted to seeing an old friend upon her arrival at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee READ: Shirley and Jenny: Long Lost Elephant Friends
- See Shirley’s Photo Album
- See more on Sumatran elephants
- See Shirley’s history
- For a Video of Shirley’s Years at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo; the kindness of her keeper Solomon James; and her move to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee see ArgoFilms “The Urban Elephant: Shirley’s Story”
- For information on how to Adopt Shirley Elephas maximus sumatranus see The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee : Shirley