Skip to main content

Anne campaign and background

Anne is the UK’s loneliest elephant.  Longleat won’t give her a chance at a new life.



Anne’s ‘haven’ is desolate and lacks enrichment.

Anne is an elderly Asian elephant who lives at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire. She has been there since 2011, after being rescued from the circus where she was being beaten, and she hasn’t seen another elephant since 2001. She has good indoor quarters, but her outdoor area is a bare enclosed yard, with not even a pool she can use or anything to distract or interest her. Her isolation and loneliness are hard to imagine.  

We campaigned to give Anne the chance of a new life, a life where she can live as an elephant for the first time in her life, roam freely, and enjoy all the healing benefits of sanctuary. The Elephant Haven European Elephant Sanctuary (EHEES) in southern France offered her a permanent home. There was much independent support for the move from NGOs and elephant experts, as well as offers of practical assistance. The Haven said it would pay for and assist with her transport. Everything was in place to move ahead with her assessment and potential relocation. 

There was just one obstacle: Longleat refused to allow an inspection or discuss the sanctuary offer. They rejected offers of help and advice from world experts in elephant rescues, Lek Chailert (founder of Save Elephant Foundation) and Scott Blais (co-founder of Global Sanctuary for Elephants).

Elephants need other elephants. Anne has been deprived of companions for far too long. Her life is one of barren and monotonous existence day after day, with not even a tree or a pool she can use, and with cars driving past her enclosure

In our campaign to allow Anne to go to Elephant Haven sanctuary, the first step was to determine her physical condition and level of fitness for making the journey. To that end, we called for an independent expert to assess her. Longleat maintain that Anne is too frail to travel, but other experts believe she is fit enough for the journey. The NGO Four Paws, and through them Dr Amir Khalil (the vet who helped relocate Kaavan to sanctuary), as well as Born Free, all offered to help us find an appropriate person to assess Anne. We received support also from other elephant experts. (We always said that we would not press for moving Anne if the assessment were to show a serious impediment to her making the journey.) 

Public support for moving Anne and giving her the life she deserves grew by the day over the course of our campaign. Cumulatively, hundreds of thousands of people signed petitions for her release. 

Give lonely Anne the elephant a better life & allow her an independent welfare assessment

Transfer lonely Anne from Longleat to Elephant Haven, to be with companions  [petition now closed]


Elephant Haven – European Elephant Sanctuary The sanctuary was open to receive its first elephants at the time of our campaign and it offered Anne a place. (In 2023 it welcomed its first residents, Gandhi and Delhi,  two Asian females.)  At Elephant Haven Anne would have 70 acres in which to roam, forage, mud bathe, and live as an elephant. The Haven is situated in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region in southern France, with a mild climate that would be much better for her arthritis than England’s freezing winters. Most importantly, Anne would finally have the company of her own kind, which she has tragically lacked for two decades.

Secretary of State’s Standards of Modern Zoo Practice for elephants DEFRA regulations stipulate that ‘Female elephants must have social contact with other elephants at all times’ (reiterated in the Elephant Welfare Group (EWG) Lone Elephant Position Statement).  But Anne has been declared an exception to this requirement for social contact on the grounds of ‘rare, specific circumstances’ – which are that she has been deemed ‘unfit for travel outside the UK’. But how could they categorically claim this and condemn her for the rest of her life to being alone?  And if they really believe that to be the case, why won’t Longleat let an inspector outside of the BIAZA system see her?  Are they afraid the inspector will find no legitimate physical impediments to Anne being moved?  


On elephant captivity

Let’s be clear: captivity does not benefit elephants. It only hurts them.


‘Nothing to do, nowhere to go’: What happens when elephants live alone


Elephants’ brains are four times the size of ours, and we are only beginning to decipher their complexity.

The neural cruelty of captivity: Keeping large mammals in zoos and aquariums damages their brains


Born Free has produced an insightful 30-second video that shines a spotlight on this utterly unnatural form of ‘entertainment.’ 

Empty the Cages! Raising Awareness for Elephants to Build a More Compassionate Generation

What the Afflictions of Circus and Zoo Elephants Have Taught Us About Captivity

Sign petition for an elephant-free UK

‘Anne’s isolation is made worse by the bleakness of her environment, devoid of stimulation and proper enrichment. She presents the tell-tale stereotypical behavior associated with stress and dysfunction, such as swaying and listlessness. No one can doubt how much she has and continues to suffer. She has spent a lifetime on display in deplorable conditions to satisfy the ignorance and entertainment of humans. She lost all her elephant companions and has not seen another elephant for 19 years.’

Robin Vitulle

Want to Join Action for Elephants UK?

Subscribe to our newsletterVisit Our Facebook Page