Olifant Buba bij circus Freiwald

Safe at Long Last: Former Circus Elephants Get a New Home



We’re proud to be working with Elephant Haven in the South of France, Europe’s first ever sanctuary for retired circus elephants

Header image: Alex Krasavtsev

This exciting collaboration came after our successful lobbying of the Danish Parliament, which recently announced its commitment to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.

Over 50,000 animal lovers in Denmark called for the government to end the cruelty inflicted on circus elephants.

Change is coming

The tide is now turning, as 14 other European countries have recently implemented similar bans, many of which come into force this year.

But sadly, more than 100 elephants are still forced to entertain in circuses across the continent.

A home for European elephants

Set in a beautiful, 70-acre location in the South of France, Elephant Haven will provide a home for liberated elephants, free from the torment of forced entertainment. Sadly, these wild animals have suffered such cruelty entertaining circus-goers that they cannot be re-introduced to the wild.

Elephant Haven plans to open its first barn this summer. We’re granting over $174,000 for the inside structure of the barn, which will be ready in August 2018.

"There is no place for elephants to retire in Europe and we are so pleased that we are giving them a safe haven," said Tony Verhulst, co-founder of Elephant Haven."

"Retired elephants from circuses deserve a happy place to live out the rest of their lives. The elephants are our priority and we will work hard to keep them safe."

Elephant Haven plans to expand further and build another barn to house a further five elephants by 2020. The safety of elephants is paramount: cameras will be placed inside and outside the barn, and there’ll be permanent security on site.

Once the elephants are safely housed, a platform will be built for visitors to safely watch elephants roaming freely and behaving as they would in the wild.

We are urging any elephant owners to release their traumatised animals as soon as the sanctuary is able to welcome them.


Image credit: Dynamic Drones for Elephant Haven

A desperately needed sanctuary

"As the long-awaited circus bans come into place across Europe, Elephant Haven is a desperately needed sanctuary where former circus elephants will be safely housed with a life they deserve," said our CEO, Steve McIvor.

"These elephants have suffered a lifetime of misery, held in captivity and forced to endure cruel and intensive training to make them ‘safe’ to interact with people and entertain."

"Denmark’s commitment to ban circus elephants is a huge victory for us and is part of a chain reaction across Europe to end the misery and suffering of these majestic animals. The best place to see an elephant is in the wild or, in the next best place, a genuine elephant sanctuary."

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