Shirley was captured in the wild in 1953 when she was 5 years old.  She performed for twenty-four years with the Carson and Barnes Circus, then lived at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo for another twenty-two years.

Her back right leg was broken thirty years ago when she was attacked by a fellow circus elephant.  She is missing a large section of her right ear as result of a fire which not only injured her ear but also left several scars on her back, side and feet.

But, in 1999, at age 51 Shirley was able to retire to the Elephant Sanctuary, Tennessee – HURRAH!

And look at her now 🙂

Shirley in barn

July 6, 1999
Shirley and Tarra liked each other right from the start! Shirley showed Tarra all her injuries that she received when attacked by another elephant at the circus. Tarra sympathetically inspected each injury and the two elephants caressed each other with their trunks.  Fruits and vegetables awaited Shirley when she entered the Sanctuary Barn. Cabbages, oranges, watermelon, squash… all sorts of yummy food to show Shirley how much we already loved her! Tarra squashed the watermelon, then helped herself to much of it.

Shirley's cake

July 22, 2013

Shirley’s 65th birthday party was a BLAST!  Shirley has given us every reason to believe to that we will be celebrating her birthday for many years to come.

Gorgeous 😀

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