The emotional reunion of two elephants after 22 years – Victims of circuses

Jenny and Shirley

Shirley and Jenny were both in the same circus (Carson and Barnes), When Jenny was a baby and Shirley was in his twenties.

During their lives as slaves, they lost great part of his health until they could reencontrase in a sanctuary of Tennessee after 22 years of separation.
The not so small now Jenny had reached the sanctuary the 11 in September of 1996 , three years before Shirley. Both possessed sequels of their lives as slaves. Shirley, the largest elephant, reached the sanctuary the 6 in July of 1999 and he had a right leg injury, a large part of his right ear is missing due to a fire that also left him with scars number on the back, face and feet. Jenny, for its part also had sequels of his life in the circus, It had its left rear leg seriously injured, was blind in one eye, He had injured the upper part of his right ear, and it possessed curved permanently the lower part of its tail.

Her joy to the reencontrase was enormous, they left behind a life of exploitation to start a healthy life in the sanctuary. When were with Jenny, They recognized and acariciaron immediately through the bars. Shirley began to roar strongly and Jenny answered him excited in the same way.

“Jenny was the stable for the first time since the arrival of Shirley about of the 19:00 hours. She wanted to get closer to Shirley, It was separated by two compartments. Once we allow Shirley to be in the adjacent compartment, the interaction between her and Jenny became very intense. Jenny wanted to enter the premises with despair. She was agitated, hitting the door and trying to pass through and climb to the other side. “

“After several minutes of play and explore each other, Shirley began to roar and I refer to roar- Jenny joined immediately. The interaction was spectacular, both elephants trying to frantically stroking each other through the bars. I have never experienced anything, not even close, at this depth of emotion “

– Carol Bucley, Director of the Santuarior

Shirley and Jenny. Life in the circus

Shirley, was born in the wild in Sumatra (Indonesia) in the year 1948, but was captured and washed away his family in 1953 When was only 5 years of age. She was taken to work to the Kelly Miller circus, and then others such as the Carson and Barnes where he met Jenny and together spent only one winter but not them impido recognized 22 years later.


His life in circuses stayed for tortuous 30 years. In one of his trips to the circus, He was one of the survivors of the burning of the ship that was carrying along with other animals when I was in Nova Scotia. In 1975, at the age of twenty-eight years, While it was exploited in the Lewis Brothers Circus, Shirley was attacked by another elephant. His right rear leg was seriously injured. Despite his injury, Shirley was forced to act in the circus for almost two more years before being sold to Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe.

Usually, female elephants live in groups, but with his injury related security problems, Shirley was kept alone all the time for twenty-two years. Given that she was crippled and remained single all the time, the zoo is contact the sanctuary so it was moved.

It could finally be moved and arrived the 6 in July of 1999. Arriving, they waited more than two hours so that it fell of the truck; the sanctuary respected Shirley times; It argued that she should do so when it was ready. Shirley could join Tarra, Barbara and Jenny three residents at the time and establish a strong mother-daughter relationship with Jenny.

Jenny, was born in the year 1969 also in Sumatra (Indonesia), However was not there where met with Shirley given already in 1953 Shirley had been washed away his family. Jenny could only be with his family during the first 4 years of his life, then it was sold to the Carson and Barnes circus where are known.


In January of 1992, after fleeing their exploiters several times during the shows at the circus, they sent Jenny to a farm called Hawthorn Corporation. Four months later, Jenny suffered a serious injury in his left rear leg, caused by an elephant, which prevented him from walking normally. Jenny did not receive treatment for his injury, his life didn't matter to exploiters and received only a painkiller. At this point, He had other injured parts of the body. For this reason, in March of 1993, almost a year after injury, the breeder considered it useless to your business, not served as Beamer. It was sold to a small circus of United States and it was exploited there for two years until that competition for food with other elephants and their attempt to keep in balance made their situation more complicated and that increasingly away harder going up and down the cage truck. As a result, Jenny was enclosed trailer inside most of the time.

In April of 1995, the owner of Jenny decided that she was simply “useless” and it got rid of it in an animal shelter in disrepair on the outskirts of Las Vegas. Jenny was severely below its weight, He did not use his injured leg and I had developed a chronic rot in his foot. (Which will then cause death)
Over the next fifteen months, the Jenny situation not improved. In this hostel, it was exposed to the elements, at temperatures below zero and imprisoned by chains during the night due to the inadequacy of the facilities, or received professional treatment.

Surprisingly, the 22 in July of 1996, the sanctuary was contacted by the owners of Jenny and they asked her to take. The sanctuary did not have enough money to cover the transfer and all costs but following a campaign to raise funds, the 11 September, Jenny came to the sanctuary and took his first step towards freedom. With fear and tímidez at the beginning, She was visibly relaxed when Tarra (first resident of the sanctuary) He gently stroked the head of Jenny with its trunk and finally convinced her to entangle the horns.

Three years later he rejoined Shirley. Shirley and Jenny was very moving but according to Carol, Director of the sanctuary, Nothing compares to the last days of life of Jenny. They only were able to enjoy their lives together during 10 years since Jenny died due to a bacterial sepsis which was later proven by a necropsy.

Jenny's death
Jenny had reached the very ill sanctuary. He had scars and other signs of abuse of its past as a circus elephant. She had been exposed to tuberculosis, and had a crippled leg.

“The day before he died, Jenny had been lying and not lifting. Shirley was with her and insisted that Jenny be lifted. The small Jenny could not lift, but tried and rose, relying on Shirley to maintain balance. If looked at the face of Shirley, one could see that she knew Jenny was dying.”

Jenny was on his deathbed when Shirley turned to the forests of the sanctuary. Jenny began making noises; with each exhalation was a particular DIN, was almost like a song. Bunny and Tara (the two elephants in the sanctuary) came running and then, joined the song of farewell.

“At any given time, I turned to Scott (Director of the elephant sanctuary) and I asked him how much time had passed. He said that 58 minutes! Well, continued for two hours. Jenny lived throughout the night and was even alegre.¨

¨Cuando Jenny died, It emitted a sound that I had never heard. It was like a trumpet. It was very low and became more silent. She was very quietly without forcing herself. Enjoy this ritual was amazing. I had never seen anything like.”

Shirley stayed in the forest and not ate for two days. “It was very difficult and especially hard in Shirley. It was like a mother to lose her baby.”

Fortunately, Shirley had some family members for support in sad moments. Shirley is very close to an elephant called Bunny – the two are like sisters. Bunny came to the sanctuary just two months after Shirley.

¨La death of Jenny has been difficult for all the elephants, but they are recovering. The healing process may have been accelerated by a new elephant, Misty, It has come from another area of the sanctuary. She is a very happy creature, She loves all the elephants and run around. She is a happy energy ball.”

In memory of Jenny and all the animals that still continue to be victims of speciesism.

1ND and 2nd part of the video of Shirley the elephant


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