In the heart of the beautiful Limousin countryside a rather unusual series of events has begun to unfold.
The Limousin region of France is renowned for many things, prime amongst which are its deep connection with the porcelain industry, stunning natural lakes, Limousin beef, beautiful countryside and villages.
In the near future however, it is destined to become famous for something quite different, its elephants! Yes, it does say elephants!
In an area of outstanding natural beauty within the Perigord National Park approximately 70 acres of land have been purchased in order to provide the first Elephant Sanctuary in Europe. The sanctuary will be operated as a charity, and will offer a safe retirement home for elephants which have spent the majority of their lives in circus or zoo habitats.
Following the increasing trend world-wide to ban wild animals from the circus environment, there remains the issue of what will happen to these animals as a consequence and how to ensure that their welfare is protected. Unfortunately re-locating elephants back to their native wild habitats is not always practical, nor indeed in their best interests.
Tony Verhulst and Sofie Goetghebeur are the drivers behind the creation of the first European elephant sanctuary, where they hope to offer a safe place for elephants to retire and provide an information and research centre to raise awareness of the complex needs of these beautiful animals.
Work on the sanctuary is on-going with the assistance of many volunteers and it is anticipated that the first elephants will arrive in 2017. The sanctuary will be open to the public at some point with viewing points available. There will be no direct contact with members of the public and thus the elephants will live out the remainder of their lives in a dignified and respectful manner.
The sanctuary will, without doubt, become a major tourist attraction within the Region, so why not follow the progress of the project here. You will also find some beautiful elephant themed products which can be purchased and information on how to contribute to this important and worthwhile project.
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