Shirley the elephant turns 70
Friday is a birthday to remember for Shirley the elephant, who lives at The Elephant Sanctuary in Middle Tennessee. Shirley turns 70, making her the third oldest Asian elephant in North America.
Born in 1948 in Sumatra, her story is a saga of survival. She was captured from the wilds of Asia at five years old to join the circus. In 1963, the circus traveled by ship to Nova Scotia and was docked at Yarmouth Harbor when a fire broke out in the engine room. This incident caused the ship to sink, killing two animals. Shirley was injured, but lived. To this day, she is missing a large part of her right ear.
At another circus, she broke her right hind leg. Shirley was sold to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo where she was the sole elephant for 22 years.
People who want to wish Shirley a happy birthday are being encouraged to use the hashtag #ShirleyTurns70 on social media.
The Sanctuary is hoping to raise money for a new health care center on the grounds of the sanctuary.
Shirley joined Tarra, Jenny, and Barbara in 1999, to become the fourth elephant at the sanctuary. You can read more about Shirley here.