The Birthday Gal
Tarra is a wild-caught Burmese elephant born in 1974. She was three months old when an exotic animal broker sold her to an animal collector in California, who put her on public display at his tire store.

Carol and Tarra met in 1974 when Tarra was not even a year old, and Carol was a 20-year-old college student studying exotic animal training and management at Moorpark College in southern California. Carol immediately became Tarra's volunteer caregiver, and eventually, her legal guardian.

Tarra and Carol performed in amusement parks and circuses for eight years. They then appeared at zoos, in movies, and on television shows for another 12 years.

As Tarra aged, maturing from an infant to a young adult, she taught Carol about her own personal needs and desires, opening a window into the world of elephants. Tarra inspired Carol to found the nation's first natural habitat elephant sanctuary in 1995. After a board of directors takeover of the sanctuary and changes in management, Carol founded Elephant Refuge North America in 2016, building on all she'd learned from her first sanctuary, and her years of experience working with captive-held elephants in Asia.

In November 2021, Tarra moved to the Refuge for its warm South Georgia climate, and facilities designed specifically to meet the physical and emotional needs of aging elephants. Tarra has flourished in her reunion with her lifelong guardian Carol. And, for the first time, Tarra has a deep, affectionate bond with another elephant, Bo. Tarra also adores Mala and Samie, two mixed-breed rescue dogs who adopted the Refuge as their home.

Tarra A Year in Review
Tarra enjoys quality time with Carol, Samie, and Mala
The old adage, “time flies when you’re having fun” has proven true this past year as Tarra demonstrates her incredible resilience. Another year, another birthday, and this year was special. Since her arrival at the Refuge, her recovery has been amazing, returning to her perky, precocious, talkative self. Tarra is a wonder to behold.
One of the biggest thrills this year is how Tarra’s efforts to find a comfortable relationship with Bo have materialized. They are close, affectionate, and exceptionally sweet with each other. Bo, too, was looking to develop a friendship. He recognized her lack of elephant social skills, and was respectful and patient, allowing Tarra to move the friendship forward in her own time. It paid off for them both. Tarra learned to trust Bo unlike any elephant before.
Daily, they can be found together, Tarra caressing Bo’s truck, soliciting his affection and attention, sharing gentle touches and measured body rubs. It is a joy to see Tarra relate so fondly with another elephant.
Bo and Tarra’s heartwarming affection for each other
Rainy day snuggles caught on the EleCam
Of course, true to our philosophy that more is better, we made every effort to ensure nothing was missing from either elephant’s life. As dogs have always been Tarra’s favorite companions, Mala and Samie have been integral to Tarra’s quality of life. It’s challenging to explain why dogs gravitate toward Tarra, or why she adores them, but obviously they communicate. Tarra demonstrates her affection and as a result they know there is nothing to fear. Bo also appears to have dog-whisperer skills because both dogs immediately gravitated toward him as well.
Tarra and her canine crew, Mala and Samie
Tarra up close and personal with Mala (left) and Samie (right)
Without question Tarra has blossomed since her arrival at the Refuge; she is thriving. We are confident the future will continue to be bright for her and all who are fortunate enough to come into her life.
Tarra’s smile says it all—life is good
The Grass is Always Greener (When We Plan for Healthy Growth)
Spring plans are underway at Elephant Refuge North America (ERNA) which means planning for lush grass—a vital part of our elephants’ diet spring, summer, and fall. Many of our supporters are steeped in snow this month with warmer temperatures a distant thought. However, at the Refuge, spring is just around the corner so the time to plan (and purchase) is now for healthy soil and grass come March and April.

We need to buy fertilizer and lime for 50 acres of pastures and hay meadows at a cost of $250 per acre for a total of $12,500. This will provide a year’s worth of quality green grass.
Good yields of all forages are more attainable when proper levels of lime and fertilizer are applied to pastures and hay meadows. In addition to increasing soil pH, lime supplies calcium and magnesium (dolomitic limestone), both essential nutrients for plant growth. Without fertilizers, nature struggles to replenish the nutrients in the soil.
Tarra and Bo spend 20 hours a day consuming tasty grass during the growing season which comes on strong in March and continues into late November. Will you help us purchase this year’s vital fertilizer and lime to give them fields full of rich, healthy grass? Any amount is greatly appreciated.
If Tarra holds a special place in your heart, why not become her sponsor? You can choose an annual sponsorship of $75, or sponsor Tarra every month of the year with a recurring donation of your choice. You'll receive a sponsorship certificate that includes a photo of Tarra and five fun facts about her delivered via eco-friendly email.
By sponsoring Tarra, you can help ensure we have everything we need to provide the highest level of care and give Tarra her best life—from specially tailored vitamins to sophisticated medical equipment and tools used for facility maintenance, and so much more.
Thank you very much for your kind support!
Tarra Commemorative T-Shirt
Show your ele-style with our commemorative T-shirt celebrating Tarra’s first reunion anniversary. Tarra shows her curious personality and beautiful smile as the focal point of this design created in her honor.

Stock and sizes are limited.
A Special Subscriber Thank You from Tarra and Bo
We would like to show our appreciation for your continued interest with an early sneak peek video of Tarra and Bo demonstrating cooperative hay sharing.

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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