Elephant refuge starts anew after founder's firing

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Posted: Jan 30, 2011 10:57 AM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: elephant, refuge, founder, fired, Tennessee

HOHENWALD, Tenn.- An elephant refuge in rural Tennessee may soon allow the public to get a closer glimpse of the animals as officials at the sanctuary wrestle with an unexpected management change and a lawsuit.

The sanctuary is the nation's largest refuge for elephants that are old and sick or have been taken in from zoos and circuses.

New CEO Rob Atkinson says the sanctuary that's never been open to the public now wants to be a worldwide educational center for elephant care, while still remaining true to its mission to be a refuge for needy elephants.

In 1995, two former elephant trainers, Carol Buckley and Scott Blais, started the sanctuary near Hohenwald, Tenn., about 85 miles southwest of Nashville. Tennessee's temperate climate and vegetation made it a good home for African and Asian elephants.

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