|When we met Flora the elephant in 2000, she was being retired from the circus in St. Louis that still bears her name. The plan was for her to return to Africa, but when this fell through we quickly realized that it is not easy to find a home for an elephant. By then it was 2001 and Flora's future was uncertain. This is when we formed Ahali Elephants, to ensure Flora's future and find her a home where she could live freely with other elephants. We chose the name "Ahali" because it means "family" in Swahili, and what Flora needed at the time was an elephant family.
This was also the beginning of what would become a ten-year journey to make a film called One Lucky Elephant, about Flora and David Balding's remarkable quest to find her a home.
Because of our relationship with Miami MetroZoo, we were able to move Flora there in 2001 while we spent three long years searching the country looking at zoos and sanctuaries, and even trying to return her to Africa again.
In mid-2003, a miracle came in the form of a phone call from Carol Buckley, co-founder of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. She was expanding her existing sanctuary for Asian elephants to include African elephants and invited Flora to join two other African elephants, Tange and Zula. We agreed to raise funds to build the new African Elephant Barn, and launched our Free Flora Campaign.
On March 3rd, 2004, we relocated Flora to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. She is the only elephant to arrive at the sanctuary with over $80,000 donated in her name.