Travels With Tarra by Carol Buckley
Reading level: Ages 8-12
"Travels With Tarra is a heartwarming look at the life of one captive elephant and her devoted human caretaker, who realizes that Tarra's needs as an elephant are more important than anything else in their life together. All captive elephants should be as lucky as Tarra is now." -Richard Farinato, Director, Captive Wildlife Protection, Humane Society of the United States
What happens when you fall in love with a three-foot-tall, 700-pound infant covered with thick black hair?
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Carol Buckley was a college student, studying exotic animal care, when she looked up from her homework one day to see a baby elephant walking past her house. The local tire dealer had bought the tiny elephant as a promotion gimmick for his store and was taking her for a stroll. Carol quickly volunteered to help care for and train Tarra, tried to meet the baby elephant‚??s emotional and social needs, and ended up buying her.
Tarra was bright, playful, and loved attention, so Carol taught her to do lots of tricks (including rollerskating and the hula), and for about twenty years they appeared at circuses, theme parks, and zoos, changing their lifestyle as Tarra‚??s needs changed and balancing the performing life with time at their farm.
But Carol began to dream of a place where elephants could just be elephants, where abused elephants could find a haven, and where old elephants could live out their days peacefully. She established The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, an 800-acre refuge now home to Tarra and five other elephants, with room for many more. A place just for elephants‚??no visitors‚??The Elephant Sanctuary has been featured on the award-winning PBS Nature documentary "Urban Elephants." Carol Buckley and Scott Blais were named "Heroes of the Planet" by Time Magazine for their work at The Sanctuary.
About the Author
Carol Buckley has more than 28 years' experience in the care and management of Asian elephants. For nearly 15 years she traveled the U.S., Canada, and abroad performing in a number of circuses with Tarra. She has implemented educational demonstrations for a number of zoos throughout North America and has extensive background in developing elephant management programs and providing animal medical care.
In 1995 Carol co-founded the nation's first natural-habitat refuge for sick, old, and needy endangered Asian elephants, the Elephant Sanctuary. As executive director, she helps care for the elephants in the Sanctuary, runs the business office, organizes elephant acquisitions, and develops and implements educational programs for the public. She is a well-known speaker on the subject of elephant care and has used her expertise to benefit animals, especially elephants.