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On Saturday, July 6, The Elephant Sanctuary celebrated Asian elephant Shirley’s 71st birthday and 20th year at the sanctuary. 

At 71 years old, Shirley has lived well beyond the life expectancy for a captive Asian elephant and is one of the oldest elephants in captivity. In fact, according to communication coordinator Kate Mason, Shirley is the third-oldest elephant in North America.

The average lifespan of captive elephants being 42 years for Asians and 47 years for Africans.

In celebration of her birthday, caregivers presented Shirley with a vegan cake made from her favorite treats on a bed of hay. A video of her birthday celebration is available at www.elephants.com

Located 89 miles west of Tullahoma in Hohenwald, The Elephant Sanctuary provides elephants retired from performance or exhibition with home, herd and individualized care for life.  Although the elephants’ habitats are closed to the public, the Elephant Discovery Center in downtown Hohenwald offers family-friendly educational experiences and supporters may watch the elephants in their habitats anytime via live-streaming EleCams at www.elephants.com.

The Elephant Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries and certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.