Founders Sofie & Tony
A European safe haven for elephants
Elephant Haven, founded by Tony Velhulst and Sofie Goetghebeur, is an elephant sanctuary that encompasses 60 acres of rural land in the South-West of France. As relocating rescued elephants back to their country of origin is not a realistic option, Elephant Haven will provide elephants with a safe and natural home to retire to, as more and more countries in Europe ban the use of wild animals in circuses. They will also offer a home and lifetime care for elephants requiring refuge from other captive facilities.
There will be six purpose-built stables on site, with heated living quarters and large outdoor paddocks, all of which will be accessible to the elephants 24 hours a day. Each elephant will have at least five acres of undulating land to roam in, including lakes, woodland and shrubs. In addition to standard living quarters, the sanctuary will also include a quarantine area for sick or injured elephants, specific areas to help aid social rehabilitation, and separate habitats for African and Asian elephants.
Visitors will be taught about the harsh reality of life for circus elephants and the lasting negative impact it has on their welfare. They will be able to view the rescued elephants at specific times, but only from a distance. The elephants will have the ultimate choice whether to be in view or be obscured from view in a wooded area of their paddocks.
What Elephant Haven Project will do
Provide a safe and natural environment for elephants retired from circuses or zoos in Europe
Re-socialise and rehabilitate captive elephants
Provide information and research on the complex needs of elephants and their behaviour
Contribute to promoting respect for elephants and their habitats
Educate the public and visitors on elephant needs and care
How Olsen Animal Trust helps
Funded the completion of the first phase of the sanctuary construction in France
Have ring-fenced funds to assist with their first elephant rescue
Project Images - hover over for details
Tony & Sofie enjoying the landscape
A dream come true for Tony and Sofie. Featured here in the landscape of Elephant Haven which will soon be enjoyed by rescued elephants.
The sanctuary space
Elephant Haven comprises of 60 acres of forests and vast grasslands in the South-West of France. Over time this will be divided into paddocks allowing for the segregation of incompatible elephants.
Elephant fencing needs to be incredibly robust in order to secure elephants safely. Posts are made of concrete re-enforced with steel - hard manual labour for these generous volunteers!
OATOKE gets stuck in!
OATOKE, Dave got his hands dirty when visiting Elephant Haven. Featured here helping with the plastering of the elephant barn and other finishing touches!
The first elephant barn under construction that will house up to six elephants. The elephants will be free to move out of the barn as they wish and will have 24hr access to large open natural paddocks.
State of the art facilities
Specifically designed and purpose-built elephant barns are vital for the care of rescued elephants. They enable elephants to be treated by humans in protected contact environment.
For further information on the work of Elephant Haven please visit www.elephanthaven.com