Launching Elephant Haven

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The website and the Facebook page were set up just before we left to launch Elephant Haven at the PAWS elephant summit in March 2012 in Oakland Zoo.

Together with Leonie and her husband Barry we started up Elephant Haven. Leonie was the director of “Wilde dieren de tent uit” and Barry IT specialist. Due to circumstances later they left Elephant Haven. Thank you again Leonie and Barry for helping setting up the project!

The summit was amazing, interesting presentations, meeting people we’ve looked up to whole our lives, learning a lot… In front of over 100 elephant experts from around the world, we launched our plans for the first time. It was very exciting and scary. How would they react? But a huge applause and great comments afterwards made us even more excited than we already were. Everyone we talked to spontaneously offered to help! It was an unforgettable experience with people who really do good work to protect elephants, both wild and in captivity.2012 -  PAWS Summit (25)

It was an honor to be one of the speakers at the elephant summit of PAWS in Oakland Zoo.

After the official launch of Elephant Haven, we had such a big smile on our faces when we arrived home.Then we started to do things that we never did before. We were animal keepers who used to clean poo, feed the animals, etc. We were no IT specialists! So many difficult things to overcome.

People may not realize but translating everything in to 3 languages: Flemish (Dutch), French and English is not an easy task. Thankfully we have wonderful people who help us translate voluntarily.  Unfortunately, one word wrongly translated can change your message completely and get a lot of people upset, which we experienced ourselves…We want to send out a positive message. We’re not politically engaged and we don’t want to criticize existing organizations.

Whenever needed we want to provide shelter for elephants in Europe.

Our mission is:

Offering elephants a place to retire.

The resocialization and rehabilitation of elephants.

Providing information and researching elephants and their complex needs and behaviors.

Thinking along and contributing to a world of respect and protection for elephants and their habitat

bull elephant

Of course, the next step was to inform all of our friends, colleagues and family. And everyone supports us… we’re so delighted. After all, they know this comes from the heart

Tony Verhulst, Founder Elephant Haven

Elephant Haven

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