"THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY MOURNS LOSS OF BELLA THE DOG
Dear Companion to Tarra – The Sanctuary’s Founding Elephant
My dear friends,
I write to you with very sad news. Tarra's little dog Bella has died. We
found her body on Wednesday and have been dealing with the aftermath
ever since, trying to work out what happened while we look after Tarra
and each other.
We noticed Bella was not with Tarra at breakfast on Tuesday and later
that morning she still had not appeared. Tarra and Bella have always
spent short periods apart as one goes off exploring briefly on their
own, but this longer absence worried us deeply and a search of the
property was started which continued into the next day. The search ended
tragically when Bella's body was found close to the Asia barn that had
long been home to Tarra, her five sisters and Bella. During the time of
the search our usually social Tarra chose to remain alone, watched over
by concerned Caregivers.
Dr. Scott, our vet of sixteen years, examined Bella for the last time
and, with advice from the experts from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources
Agency, determined the probable cause of death was an attack by animals,
most likely coyotes. We have sent off samples to see whether there were
any other contributory causes.
Having carefully examined Bella's wounds and the place where she was
found, we concluded that Bella had not been attacked near where she was
found and neither could she have walked there.
As these investigations were taking place observant Caregivers, even
more watchful of Tarra than usual, noticed blood on the underside of her
trunk, evidence that pointed us in the direction of what likely
happened that fateful night.
The most probable scenario is that during the night Bella strayed from
Tarra briefly and was set upon. Tarra arrived too late to save her but
was able to stop further damage being done to Bella's body. With deep
sadness and deeper wonder we come to comprehend what likely happened
next—that Tarra picked Bella up and carried her home.
Further evidence in support of our belief for what happened comes from
Tarra herself. After Bella had been found, Caregivers ensured Tarra had
every chance to inspect Bella's body before it was buried and to come to
terms with her death, as this is an important part of the grieving
process for elephants. But Tarra was not interested in either Bella or
the group of Caregivers who would normally have drawn our inquisitive
Girl to see what was happening.
It was only later when we had pieced together the whole picture that
Tarra's behavior at Bella's grave made sense. Our poor, brave, loving
Girl knew what had happened to her beloved Bella and, in the dark hours
of the night as she carried her body home, had come to terms with her
Tarra's sisters will help her through her sadness. Although we cannot
take away Tarra's pain immediately or the pain of all those that knew
Bella, I do know Bella knew true love and true freedom. It will always
be so for animals that find Sanctuary.
We are very concerned for Tarra and the grief she must feel at the
loss of Bella. Caregivers are carefully monitoring her during her time
of mourning. She still has a healthy appetite, and we are sure she will
lean on the support of her elephant sisters, especially Shirley, during
this difficult time.
She appears to be doing remarkably well under the circumstances, and we
will, of course, keep you informed through updates in the Asian
Ele-Diary and in Ele-Notes.
We invite you to visit Bella’s Tribute page, where we’ve shared some memories of the time she spent with us at The Sanctuary, and also read the press release that was just issued.
“Bella, you will live on forever in our hearts. Don't worry, we will
continue to look after Tarra, just as you looked after each other.” The
Elephant Sanctuary Staff
Memories like these make us smile through our sadness…."
Tarra and Bella in the Snow
Tarra and Bella Summertime.
Tags: elephants, sanctuary, tennessee, usa, dog, dies, coyotes, circuses, bullhooks, zoos, captive, captivity,
Location: Tennessee, United States (load item map)
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