Let’s Celebrate Bo’s First Year of Retirement
Twelve glorious, insightful, and humbling months have passed since Bo retired to Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA). Before he arrived, we were told he was a gentle, nonaggressive, castrated male. Still, since elephants are wild animals who retain their wildness regardless of their captive situation, we proceeded cautiously.

Accepting Bo for retirement meant reinforcing fencing that was not designed for a 10.5’ tall, 12,000-pound male elephant in his prime. The fact he had lived with the same human family for nearly his entire life meant there were many possible scenarios post arrival. Historically we know some human-raised elephants develop dependencies and derive security from their caregivers and/or companions. In other cases, the opposite is true. We wondered which would be the case with Bo.
Click on the image above to see a highlight reel of Bo’s first year at ERNA.

To our delight, Bo has been a joy from the moment he was escorted from his trailer by his lifelong guardian George Carden. Bo is calm, curious, playful, cooperative, and sociable. Within minutes of his arrival, he set off into the woods to explore and sample the wild vegetation the habitat provides.

After spending only two weeks getting the lay of the land in his seven-acre habitat, Bo demonstrated he wanted more. He was released into the 100-acre habitat and wasted no time exploring his expanded world. He played with and drank from his automatic waterer, engaged in hide and seek with his new canine friend Mala, and napped in the soft sand stalls in his barn.
Then just when he was settled in and totally familiar with his surroundings, Bo had another pleasant surprise. He was joined by Tarra. His immediate reaction was to reach out with gentle caresses, apparently quite pleased with her arrival. Tarra returned the gesture. The two intertwined trunks over a fence line and communicated vocally. All was well.

The two wasted no time with lengthy introductions. Their fondness for each other was evident immediately and they could be seen foraging and grazing close together from day one.

Although comfortable in his presence, Tarra, true to her independent nature, initially was hesitant to allow Bo to be to overtly physical. A touch here, and a body rub there was acceptable, but full trunk caresses and allover body rubbing was closely monitored, with Tarra always determining what was too much. Oh, how times have changed! As supporters have seen via social media photos and videos, their affection for one another is now frequent and obviously welcomed with Tarra often inviting Bo’s attention.
After twelve short months of sun, rain, thunderstorms, mud baths, afternoon lake plunges, dog playing, shared meals, grazing side by side, Bo has finally proven to Tarra that he is completely trustworthy. In his wisdom, Bo took his time, approaching slowly to build trust, showing Tarra he is indeed a gentle giant.

During this time another canine, Samie, joined the Refuge. A gangly mixed breed pup (with no fear or understanding that his new family members were huge and in theory could harm him) Samie melted into the family seamlessly, making them the Fabulous Foursome.
Each day, Bo continues to amaze us with his knowing, kindness and calm character. Nothing causes him concern; not Tarra chirping away trying to entice her dogs to play close by, a large noisy tractor cutting pastures, or loud thunder claps that cause caregivers to jump two feet off the ground. This boy is rock steady.

Yesterday marked yet another major milestone in Bo and Tarra’s relationship. As they grazed, Tarra turned to face Bo, standing only a few feet from his head—a position she would normally avoid. From past experiences in her early years, Tarra learned being head-to-head is a vulnerable position if the other elephant becomes aggressive. Bo immediately stopped grazing and looked at Tarra. Without hesitation, he slowly stepped forward. He reached out his trunk and gently touched her face. She remained relaxed and stood steady with no sign of retreat, or turning away. Bo continued with his affection, stroking her face and head. Tarra soon reciprocated by gently grasping and holding Bo’s trunk with her own. To bear witness to this intimate interaction was a humbling experience. (We're very pleased we can share this moment with you - check the Special Subscriber Thank You at the end of this newsletter below.)
We are thrilled Bo is thriving in his retirement and that Tarra has realized his friendship is priceless.

A sincere thanks to all our friends and supporters for making this dream come true. We could not have done it without you.
Celebrate Bo’s One Year Retirement Anniversary with A Gift of Fresh Sand
We’re raising $2,300 to bring in 111 tons of fresh sand for the stalls in the Elephant Barn to get ready for winter.

It’s hard to believe a year has already flown by since the arrival of Bo, the first elephant resident at Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA), which means it is time for more sand.
Bo takes a nap in the sand.

Our sand-filled elephant stalls are the newest innovation to address the welfare of captive-held elephants. These deep sand pits help to prevent pressure wounds, arthritis, musculoskeletal degeneration and other physical ailments that result from elephants standing on unnaturally hard surfaces. We use estuary sand for the floors because it is round and doesn’t have the rough edges of other sands, which can make them congeal into a hard surface.

While our Elephant Barn has an effective septic system and hard-working volunteers and caretakers to keep it clean, soiled sand is removed daily when the barn is in use and repurposed for pathways and to fill in holes where the sun and rain can purify it. Instead of reusing that sand in the barn, we replenish the stalls with fresh, unsoiled sand to ensure a sanitary environment for the elephants.

Please help us celebrate Bo’s one-year retirement anniversary and join the group effort to supply fresh truckloads of sand for the Elephant Barn. Bo and Tarra will appreciate their clean digs when they return to the barn on cold winter nights.

Donations of any amount will help:
• $15 buys one ton of sand
• $561 buys enough sand for one stall (includes delivery)
• $600 covers the loader and operator to move sand into the stalls

Every dollar counts and will help us give the best care to our elephant residents. Thank you for your support!
Bo Commemorative T-shirt 
Step out in style with our commemorative T-shirt celebrating Bo’s first retirement anniversary. Bo stands majestic and beautiful as the focal point of this design created in his honor.

We are taking pre-orders September 21 to October 6, 2022. Orders will be mailed out the first week of November.

The cost is $30 for sizes small through extra-large. Sizes 2XL through 5XL are $31.
Women's Relaxed Jersey Short V-Neck Tee
Sizes: small through 2XL
Unisex Ultra Cotton Crew Neck
Sizes: small through 5XL
Help Us Give Bo His Best Life – Become a Sponsor
We know Bo holds a special place in your heart, now is your chance to become his sponsor. You can choose an annual sponsorship of $75 or sponsor Bo every month of the year with a recurring donation of your choice. You'll receive a sponsorship certificate that includes a photo of Bo and five fun facts about him delivered via eco-friendly email.

By sponsoring Bo, you can help ensure we have everything we need to provide the highest level of care and give Bo his best life ever – from tailored dietary supplements to sophisticated medical equipment and tools used for facility maintenance – and so much more.

Thank you very much for your kind support!
A Special Subscriber Thank You from Bo
We would like to show our appreciation for your continued interest with an early sneak peek video of Bo and Tarra for our subscribers. Click the image above to watch!
As always, we greatly appreciate your interest, commitment and help. You make our work for elephants possible. Thank you!
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