Field Journal - France
The First European Elephant Sanctuary is taking root in France!
"Tony and Sophie are the next generation of sanctuary owners. They are zoologically trained conservationists, whom have learned as well under the tutelage of Lek at ENP. They have invested heavily into a large plot of land in the Bordeaux region of France, where they have brought in many top level people to help build a location for the elephants of Western Europe. Now the catch is, there are no elephants of Western Europe. This is true. They are all kidnapped from Asia and Africa, and brought to Europe to live in Zoos and Circuses. These unfortunate ones that worked as attractions at Zoos are getting a second chance, as the Global community now decides (much to the great benefit of those whom have fought hard for the rights of animals) that it is illegal to use elephants for stunts and performances.
This past year, I flew to Bordeaux, drove to Limoge, and stayed a stones throw from where Tony and Sophie have begun the process. I painted a mural facing the fields, hoping that it encapsulates their dreams. Elephant roaming into the French Hills. I think even the Impressionists would come here to paint them.
The Brigitte Bardot Foundation just funded the build of their barn, ensuring the most expensive road block to be taken care of. They need this funding, as France experiences very cold seasons. This allows for elephants to come in and out of a heated barn - providing a sanctuary within a sanctuary.
Help me bring these rescued elephants to their sanctuary."
-- Matthew Shapira