‘Turmeric is key’: Thomasville local business donates pounds of turmeric to local elephants

Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 8:52 AM EDT
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ATTAPULGUS, Ga. (WCTV) - Two Asian elephants in Attapulgus, Georgia are now enjoying the benefits of a locally-owned business in Thomasville, Georgia.

Elephants held in captivity, with little to no room to roam can often suffer from a form of arthritis but thanks to The American Turmeric Company of Thomasville, the elephants at the sanctuary get the chance to enjoy their retirement.

Hidden in the woods of Attapulgus, Georgia sits an 850-acre safe haven for exotic animals.

“Right now I run Elephant Aid International which is a non-profit organization that is focused on the welfare of elephants that live in captivity,” said the Founder of Elephant Aid International Carol Buckley.

Founder of Elephant Aid International Carol Buckley said it all started nearly 50 years ago when she was just a student in college.

“While attending that school, I was fortunate to meet a baby elephant, not at the school but at a tire store and I volunteered my time,” Buckley said.

Tarra and Carol’s journey started there spending many years performing both at circuses and zoos before retiring.

As for Bo, he came to the sanctuary in September of 2021 after being in the circus for nearly 30 years.

“When Bo arrived, we had an orientation day with the local fire department and police department and the entities that we knew we may need to depend on one day,” Buckley said. “We wanted them to know the lay of the land.”

In that group would be a business based out of Thomasville, Georgia, that produces locally-grown organic turmeric.

“I remember getting excited when I read the Elephant refuge was moving to Attapulgus but I didn’t think any more about it until we were actually contacted by the refuge and they asked if we could supply turmeric to them because elephants need turmeric for the same reason that adults do,” said Co-Owner of The American Turmeric Company of Thomasville Ed Taylor.

Eager to help, The American Turmeric Company of Thomasville began donating twenty pounds of turmeric a month to the refuge.

“We figured, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the elephants could now that they are free, they can really enjoy getting into the little river and playing and being able to move faster,” said Co-Owner of The American Turmeric Company of Thomasville Diane Taylor.

Buckley said because of an elephant’s massive size and the need to remain constantly active when kept in captivity, they can often develop a form of arthritis like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Still, after a few months of giving the elephants turmeric, she noticed a change.

“As a result, we see he is bowed in one of his front legs and he’s weak in a front wrist and when he arrived, he was a little bit stiff in his movement and we immediately started giving him the turmeric and we see him now very active,” Buckley said.

Buckley shared that it’s a partnership that she’s sincerely grateful for.

“We insist on the turmeric in the diet so we’d be having to do fundraising every day to be able to supplement the elephants,” Buckley said.

The refuge is currently working on adding another elephant to their sanctuary, Mundi, an African-savannah elephant.

She’s lived in a zoo for 35 years, chained at night, with only 15,000 square feet to roam in Puerto Rico. The refuge said that they are working on some renovations to make her transition to the refuge as easy as possible.

Mundi is just one of five still yet to arrive at the refuge.

The refuge is currently on the hunt for an architect to help assist in some of their upcoming projects, those interested in helping can visit the Elephant Aid International website.

For those looking to learn more information about The American Turmeric Company of Thomasville, you can visit their website.