Jacksonville, FL

Ex-Circus Elephants Find Their "Happily Ever After" at White Oak Conservation Center in Florida

Malinda Fusco

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The ElephantsWhite Oak Conservation Center

A large group of over thirty elephants recently found their permanent address: the elephant equivalent of a Florida resort at the White Oak Conservation Center just north of Jacksonville, Florida. These elephants are mostly ex-circus elephants from the Ringling Bros Circus. Now, these gentle pachyderms have found their forever home and hopefully get the happy ending they deserve.

This article explores the elephants' journey, the local Florida conservation, and how you can support their efforts!

Their journey was a long one.

The elephants had a long journey from where they were held in Polk County, Florida to Yulee, Florida. That trip was over 200 miles for the gentle giants! And if you have a dog, then you know that a 200-mile road trip isn't easy on animals. Once they arrived safely, the vets took a look at them and then slowly introduced them to the conservation.

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But even before that long trip to Yulee, their journey was hard. Many of the elephants were in the circus until 2016. During 2016, they were rescued from the circus but left without a proper home despite the best efforts of their rescuers.

The White Oak Conservation Center is the ultimate destination for the elephants though. Not only does it give them ample room to roam and explore, as elephants need to maintain a happy and healthy life, but they also get to stay together. Elephants are animals that form strong bonds with each other, so this is crucial to happy retirement for them.

White Oak Conservation Center

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White Oak Conservation CenterWikicommons

White Oak Conservation Center is a large animal conservation in Yulee, Florida. It's owned by Mark and Kimbra Walter and contained over 17,000 acres in total! In addition to the endangered Asian elephants that just arrived, the conservation center houses many other endangered species.

The Walters commented on their new arrivals, saying:

“We are working to protect wild animals in their native habitats. But for these elephants that can’t be released, we are pleased to give them a place where they can live comfortably for the rest of their lives.”

The elephants will have access to over 2,500 acres of pine forests, wetlands, grasslands, and ponds to explore and play in. They are also constructing several new watering holes for their new residents.

How can you help White Oak Conservation Center?

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White Oak Conservation CenterWikicommons

You can actually visit the White Oak Conservation Center to support these endangered species and the elephants in this article! There are lots to do at the center, including tours, dining, events, and a safari. You can also donate to their cause, as found on their website.

Website: https://www.whiteoakwildlife.org/

Address: 581705 White Oak Rd, Yulee, FL 32097

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