All Bull Elephants’ Sanctuary
A HAVEN FOR ELEPHANTS IN NEED
The Kerulos Center’s All Bull Elephants’ Sanctuary (ABES) is prompted by the critical need for refuge and recovery of hundreds of Elephants suffering in North American zoos and circuses.
Our focus is male Elephants in North America who are underserved because of misperceptions and prejudice. There are many, as can be seen in this Table of Captive Male Elephants in North America. ABES also welcomes female Elephants who are unable to find sanctuary elsewhere.
We invite Billy, a male Asian Elephant residing at Los Angeles Zoo, to live at ABES. He has lived alone since 1989 after he was stolen from his mother and homeland.
We also offer a transition home for the Swaziland Elephants who were abducted last year from their African homeland and shipped to three U.S. zoos. If they are unable to return home, we offer a permanent home so they may live in dignity, part of the global movement for Elephant self-determination.
We will not consider these cases closed until all Elephants and other incarcerated Animals are free.
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Here’s where we are:
- $2 million has been committed toward land
- Land search has begun in S.E. US which our research shows is best-suited for Elephants
- We are working with a team of architects and landscape consultants to design ABES
- Freedom Flag Campaign for captive-held male Elephants
- Advisory Board and ABES Team created
- Male Elephant Psychology and Trauma Recovery Publications and Plan
- International collaboration with sister sanctuaries
ABES: A New Vision for Sanctuary
The All Bull Elephants’ Sanctuary (ABES) responds to a great turning in humanity’s evolution: the recognition of animal sentience and the pressing need to heal Nature. Our goal is to model ways of living that embody a new understanding of life, what we call ‘being sanctuary.’
This view differs radically from current models-of-being because it demands conscious, self-stewardship in service to Nature. Being sanctuary is unhindered embrace of all life.
ABES will be located in the lower Piedmont, Georgia, US. It will serve as sanctuary for native flora and fauna and captive refugees, male Elephants (bulls) rescued from zoos and circuses. Our choice of land and sanctuary design are informed by the understanding that ABES was created and is maintained by others, nonhumans and humans, from the past, present, and future.
The ABES name reflects an expanded view of sanctuary. Elephants’ denotes that it is the Animals who shape our direction and ethics. The Kerulos Center for Nonviolence describes ABES’ role as a dynamic center where humans learn how to thrive in ways that support Animal self- determination and wellness. A portion of the land will be set aside for a learning center and care for rescued farmed Animals and wildlife rehabilitation.
Our curriculum is grounded in principles of being sanctuary which combine science, somatic, and contemplative studies. Education programs are designed for those seeking to work in the field of Animal trauma recovery (rescue and sanctuary) and others—families, prisoner re-entry, at-risk youth, students, and health and policy professionals—seeking support and guidance for becoming sanctuary.
- Elephant informed – As the “Elephants’” in our name reflects, ABES design, function, and human conduct are shaped by Elephant values, ethics, and needs.
- Trauma informed – ABES’ is grounded in the scientific principles of trans-species psychology and trauma recovery.
- Trans-species –We are a cross-species alliance working together to achieve the common goal of creating a world where all animals live in freedom and dignity.
- Boundless – The physical space of ABES is finite, but as our diverse collaborations for Elephant Liberation illustrate, our engagement and vision are global.
- Dynamic – ABES is not static but serves to promote the evolution of human culture to achieve animal self-determination and trans-species well-being.
The entrance to sanctuary lies inside. – Rumi
Why the emphasis on Male Elephants?
Male Elephants (bulls) are misunderstood and abused. Because their hormonal period (musth) is accompanied by a natural, increased assertiveness, bulls are usually chained, isolated, or punished. As a result, they are incorrectly deemed solitary animals who, unlike their wild brothers, are forced to live without companionship. ABES residents will live chain-free, even during musth. They will have a lifetime home and the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with other bulls and carers.
Sanctuary vs. Zoo
|Artificial conditions||Natural Setting|
Science’s recognition of human-animal psychological comparability, vulnerability to trauma and stress, the traumatogenic nature of captivity, and trauma transmission across generations clearly shows that Elephant capture, captivity, and captive-breeding are not only profoundly unethical, but untenable for any purported goal of species conservation. Yet zoos and other captive industries continue to maintain that the psychological and physical needs of Elephants are being met under their deficient standards of care.
The physical and psychological trauma that captive-held Elephants endure and the loss of family and homeland cannot be reversed. Although it is still captivity, sanctuary differs vastly from zoos in terms of philosophy, care, and environment (see chart). As such, Sanctuary can make huge strides in helping heal, mitigating the effects of captivity, and transforming captive life from oppression to self-empowerment and renewal. This is a central goal of ABES.
How You Can Be Part of ABES