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Elephant Sanctuary celebrates 71st birthday of oldest resident



On 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 is 42 years for Asian elephants and 47 years for African elephants.

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

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.

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