Elephant Haven, European Elephant Sanctuary

10. June 2021

Elephant Haven is the only true sanctuary for elephants in Europe. With the support the of tens of thousands Elephant Haven fans, plus the help of powerful animal right sponsors such as One Voice, The Brigitte Bardot Foundation and the OLSEN Animal Trust, the first elephants can now enjoy the splendid outdoors of the Forét de Viellecour in the Haute Vienne Département, where Elephant Haven is located. ( See image above of actual sanctuary land )

First there is the land of 29 ha (about 72 acres) of which 4 ha have been fenced in as the outdoor paddock for 3 elephants. Within the 4ha there is a smaller enclosed outside area of 1ha for acclimating new arrivals to their new home.

The outside areas can be freely accessed from an elephant barn with 6 stalls ( 2 per elephant ) with concrete and sand floors.  Elephants having lived in captivity, mostly in very restricted space on concrete, initially might not be used to sand floors. Wild elephants love sand and will give themselves sand showers, but such pleasures will have to be re-discovered.

Elephant bull kicking sand, Zakoume N.P. CHAD. Photo credit/ Thomas Close : shutterstock

Other buildings include a greenhouse for growing elephant food, refrigerated storage, storage for other elephant bulk foods, storage for elephant excrement to be sold as fertilizer to local farmers, a machine room for heating the barn and generators for electricity, holding areas for equipment and tools, shelters for volunteer workers and, of course, housing and offices for local personnel.  All is in perfect working order with official inspections having been passed successfully. It took a total of 6 years and more than 100 volunteers, countless donations and enormous perseverance to get to this point.

With the arrival of the first elephants the enclosures of the remaining 25 ha and the construction of additional barns will commence. An option is in place to acquire an adjacent parcel of land for another 25 ha.