Hope Elephants introduces Opal
Hope — Hope Elephants Rehabilitation Facility has released the first photo of Opal, the second aging and retired Asian circus elephant who will be treated there after her arrival in the fall.
Rosie, a 42-year-old Asian elephant, was the first to be identified as a candidate for rehabilitation because an injury and arthritic deterioration of her foreleg made her appropriate for the focused physical therapy, exercise and dietary treatment to be provided by Hope Elephants.
During a long federal and state review and permitting process, Opal was chosen as another elephant who would benefit from treatment under the care of Dr. Jim Laurita, a Cornell-educated veterinarian and co-founder of Hope Elephants with his brother Tom Laurita.
Both Rosie and Opal have been long-term residents at the same facility in Hugo, Okla. Once Hope Elephants identified Opal as a candidate for treatment, Opal and Rosie were moved into a shared living space in Oklahoma to assure that they are socially compatible.
“They are now friends living in close proximity to each other,” Laurita said in a news release.
The rural Maine facility was designed and built for the treatment of two elephants to live in a safe, purpose-built habitat that allows for optimum veterinary treatment including state-of-the-art physical therapy and nutritional support.
Hope Elephants is moving forward with the development of its coordinated educational and community outreach programs that are designed to inspire visitors and student groups to participate in wildlife conservation.
In April, Hope Elephants received its USDA Class C Exhibitors License, the federal permit needed to bring elephants to the facility. The state approval process is also nearly finalized with only a mandated waiting period to be completed following final health checks.
Hope Elephants is planning the second annual Hatchet Mountain Music Festival on July 29 from 4 to 8 p.m. on the grounds of the Hatchet Mountain Publick House in Hope to help cover the costs of the now-competed elephant barn and paddock and to provide sustaining funding for its elephant care and educational programs. Updates on the festival will be posted on the Hope Elephants Facebook page, Facebook.com/HopeElephants, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope Elephants is a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that is solely reliant on donors for its funding.
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