Travels with Tarra
Hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-88448-241-3
9 x 10, 40 pages, photographs
Finalist, Louisiana Young Reader's Choice Award, 2005
Smithsonian Notable Books for Children, 2002
". . . Buckley creates a compelling story of human-animal friendship (a la Born Free or Free Willy) in which humans act as a fierce and stalwart support."
What happens when you fall in love with a three-foot-tall, 700-pound infant covered with thick black hair? Carol Buckley was a college student, studying exotic animal care, when she looked up from her homework one day to see a baby elephant walking past her house. The local tire dealer had bought the tiny elephant as a promotion gimmick for his store and was taking her for a stroll. Carol quickly volunteered to help care for and train Tarra, tried to meet the baby elephant's emotional and social needs, and ended up buying her.
Tarra was bright, playful, and loved attention, so Carol taught her to do lots of tricks (including rollerskating and the hula), and for about twenty years they appeared at circuses, theme parks, and zoos, changing their lifestyle as Tarra's needs changed and balancing the performing life with time at their farm.
But Carol began to dream of a place where elephants could just be elephants, where abused elephants could find a haven, and where old elephants could live out their days peacefully. She established The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, an 800-acre refuge now home to Tarra and five other elephants, with room for many more. A place just for elephants—no visitors—The Elephant Sanctuary has been featured on the award-winning PBS Nature documentary "Urban Elephants." Carol Buckley and Scott Blais were named "Heroes of the Planet" by Time Magazine for their work at The Sanctuary.
Illustrated with dozens of photographs, Carol's 28-year odyssey with Tarra is the fascinating story of a lifetime commitment to an elephant, but it also asks us to reconsider the real needs of captive wild animals. A companion teacher's guide on elephants, at two grade levels, can be downloaded from The Elephant Sanctuary's superb web site: www.elephants.com. For more about the Elephant Sanctuary: www.twitter.com/ELEPHANTSdotCOM
Tilbury House, Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, Maine 04345
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