Elephants at sanctuary locations in United States

10 sanctuary locations has kept elephants in United States
There is presently 29 (3,25) living elephants in sanctuary locations in United States (in this database)

Region: United States is in this database included in northamericaOther regions
Location holdings:

10 sanctuary locations has kept 72 elephants in United States

(Database tables with collection of elephants further down on the page)

Elephants in sanctuary locations29 (3,25) living43 (4,39) dead
Sex ratio and
 Male  3 / 29 
 Female  25 / 29 
 Free contact  16 / 29 
 Protected contact  12 / 29 
 No contact  0 / 29  0%
 Unknown contact  0 / 29  0%
 wild  0 / 29  0%

The first captive elephants in U.S.A.

1. Buffon, imported 1795 by captain Jacob Crowninshield.
2, 3 and 4. Old Bet imported 1804, Betty (Little Bet), and Columbus (first elephant male in America), both imported 1817, all those three elephants were owned by Hachaliah Bailey,
5. Horatio imported 1819 (died 1820). (second elephant male in America),
6. Tippoo Sultan (Tippoo Saib) imported 1821,
7. Hannibal 1824.
8. Flora imported 1827
9. Timour (Mogul II)
10 and 11. Hyder Ali, and his mother imported 1830
12, 13, 14 and 15 Columbus II (Mogul?), Caroline, Juliet, and Helen McGregor 1831 (died 1832).
16 and 17. Romeo, Runjet Singh 1832.
18 and 19.Siam, Virginius (Gold Button) 1833.
20 and 21 Basil and Pizarro 1834.

1835: The Zoological Institute absorbed all the menageries in the country - there were sixteen extant in 1834, and ended the first phase of individual management.
1837: While the economic panic of 1837 just two years later all but wiped out The Zoological Institute, the organization formalized the menagerie business, which eventually became the modern circus, and thus the Articles of Association document is arguably the “birth certificate” of the American circus.

In the next 100 years, there was a large number of import of elephants to Circuses and Zoos in North America. The first Zoo in USA, Philadelphia Zoo, displayed the first elephant in an American Zoo, at the opening in 1874.

From 1875 the import from Firma Hagenbeck and Firma Reiche to the Zoos and the apr. 55 US circuses, rocketed as the owners competed with large collections. Carl Hagenbeck claimed in a letter to Ringling that he exported abt 100 elephants to USA between 1875 and 1882, most of them to Adam Forepaugh and P. T. Barnum. After the last Reiche brother died in 1887, Carl Hagenbeck almost monopolized the trade, until 1907, when the Firma Ruhe became a preferred trader to zoos, who started to view Hagenbecks Tierpark, founded 1907 in Hamburg.Stellingen as competition.
1933: An elephant census in USA was performed in 1933: Karl Knecht recorded 194 elephants traveling with circuses, carnivals, vaudeville troupes, fairs etc. Another 80 were in zoos. There was not one African with a circus and only 5 in zoos.

Sources claim there were 284 elephants in 79 accredited U.S. zoos, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums that accredited totally 217 zoos in USA.

2018_ A census for the United States and Canada was published in February 2019 in The Elephant Managers Association.
publication Gray Matters; claimed 236 Asians and 195 African elephants in the human care population.

Zoos that have eliminated elephant exhibits since 2000:

Zoos in the midst of eliminating elephant exhibits:

Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan, Facts about elephants in United States. Elephant Encyclopedia, (2021) available online retrieved at https://www.elephant.se/country.php?name=United States.
(archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources, among others

  • Elefanten in Zoo und Circus, EEG: Haufellner, Kurt, Schilfarth, Schweiger2

Internal relevant links

  • The elephant database startpage. Statistics
  • News about elephants in United States (From the sister site Elephant News)

  • NameElephant collectionTypePlaceDistrictProvinceStateRegion
    ARC (Murray Hill-Arlan Seidon)
    Kept totally 8 elephants
    , 1 present (0,0) 0 births4 relocated3 deathssanctuaryFordland, Missouri
    Betty Honn
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0) 0 births1 relocated0 deathssanctuaryLas VegasNevada
    Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA)
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 1 present (1,0) 0 births0 relocated0 deathssanctuaryAttapulgus
    Decatur County, Georgia
    Fund for Animals Black Beauty Ranch
    Kept totally 5 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0) 0 births0 relocated5 deathssanctuaryMurchison, Texas
    National Elephant Center U.S.A.
    Kept totally 5 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0) 0 births2 relocated3 deathssanctuaryFellsmere
    Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
    Kept totally 7 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0) 0 births6 relocated1 deathssanctuaryGaltCalifornia
    Performing Animal Welfare Society / ARK 2000 (PAWS)
    Kept totally 18 elephants
    , 7 present (2,5) 0 births0 relocated11 deathssanctuarySan AndreasCalifornia
    Shambala Preserve
    Kept totally 2 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0) 0 births0 relocated2 deathssanctuaryActon, California
    Tennessee Elephant Sanctuary (TES)
    Kept totally 28 elephants
    , 10 present (0,10) 0 births0 relocated18 deathssanctuaryHohenwaldTennessee
    White Oak Conservation
    Kept totally 10 elephants
    , 10 present (0,10) 0 births0 relocated0 deathssanctuaryYulee

    This document was updated: 2020-10-23 03:49:41

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