Europe’s first elephant sanctuary near Limoges is ready to home former circus elephants, but know it’ll take time.
News that France is to ban travelling circuses with animals has been cautiously welcomed by a new sanctuary which hopes to care for them on retirement but its owners want to hear more details.
Sophie Goetghebeur and Tony Verhulst are ready to receive their first three elephants after years of work setting up Elephant Haven, Europe’s first elephant sanctuary, near Limoges.
They hope the news means refuges like theirs will be in line for government support. Ecology Minister Barbara Pompili promised that the government will work with, and not against, circuses.
She said she “knows how much circuses love their animals” but it is “no longer reasonable to transport hippos and wild animals from commune to commune”.
“Wild animals” refers to species that are not usually domesticated.
The government will also outlaw the reproduction of orcas and dolphins, and the introduction of new animals to captivity. It pledged €8million to support circuses and dolphinariums during a transition period…
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