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After 12-year legal battle, Tarra the elephant making new home in South Georgia

Last month, Tarra became the second elephant to call the sanctuary in South Georgia home after a 12-year legal battle.
Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 5:45 PM EST
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ATTAPULGUS, Ga. (WCTV) - In September, WCTV brought you the story of the arrival of Bo the elephant. Now, he has a new friend.

Last month, Tarra became the second elephant to call the sanctuary in South Georgia home.

It’s the culmination of a 12-year legal battle for Tarra’s caretaker to regain ownership.

It all goes back to 1995: That’s when the owner of the sanctuary, Carol Buckley, founded an elephant refuge in Tennessee. Tarra was staying at that refuge when Buckley was replaced as CEO.

Once Buckley left, she said Tarra became depressed and aggressive and Buckley wanted to get her out.

That’s what started this 12-year legal battle, which Buckley won, allowing her to relocate Tarra to her new home last month.

“When she’s happy, I’m happy. When she’s discontent, so am I,” Buckley, who has been working with elephants for the last 47 years, said. “There really isn’t anybody who would give their life up for Tarra the way I would.

“I had really gotten to the point that I was really shut down emotionally, because I just couldn’t take any more of the hurt,” she continued.

After a draining legal battle, Buckley finally regained ownership of Tarra and reunited her with her old friend.

“When she looked at me and talked to me and then hugged me, then then I felt my heart just burst open and I did start crying and inside you’re I’m so happy that you’re here,” Buckley said. “She never gave up and I just watched her go through that and it was it was heartbreaking.”

Julie Forbes, a volunteer at Buckley’s elephant sanctuary, has been working with her for the last six years to prepare a home for both Bo and Tarra.

“We’ve worked with the imagination of an elephant being out here one day to enjoy this. And now this is the gift this is Christmas gift,” Forbes said.

The sanctuary serves as a place for elephants to live in peace. They aren’t put on display or used to entertain humans.

And that’s what Buckley says they deserve.

Buckley’s organization, Elephant Aid International also works in Asia to promote better conditions for elephants there.

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