I am honored to present this interview with Carol Buckley, author and photographer for the children’s book, Tarra and Bella. After reading Tarra and Bella, I contacted Carol Buckley, the author of this engaging and educational book about the strong bond between an elephant named Tarra and a dog named Bella. To check out my review, click here.
Carol Buckley is an international leader in the care and trauma recovery of elephants. She is the founder and President/CEO of Elephant Aid International and is known for her extensive knowledge of elephant values, physiology and culture. Buckley co-founded The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, the first natural habitat refuge for sick, old and needy elephants. To learn more about Carol, check out Elephant Aid International or her website here.
After reading Tarra and Bella, I researched online about how the pair were doing. Unfortunately Bella passed away, but how was Tarra doing? This is what prompted me to contact Carol, who provided me with information that I would like to share with you today. In my correspondence with her, I immediately felt her devotion and passion she has for Tarra.
1. Can you tell me about how you met Tarra and your partnership with her in the entertainment business?
The book I wrote, Travels with Tarra gives a concise version of Tarra’s and my life together prior to us founding the elephant sanctuary. I was 19 attending an exotic animal training school in CA. Tarra was a 6 month old baby, imported from Thailand. I learned about her and volunteered my time caring for her. We were never separated from the first day we met. I immediately took over full care of her and by the time she was 2 years old I purchased her to give her a better life. I have spent 40 years working to make her life as good as it can be in captivity. We were family, living and working together. We worked in circus, Hollywood, zoos and finally we created the nation’s first natural habitat refuge for her and her species.
2. Can you tell me about how your journey with Tarra from being an entertainer to being the founding elephant in your sanctuary?
The journey was pretty straight forward. I meet Tarra, we performed together, she grew up and no longer enjoyed performing. I was determined to make a good life for her. When I learned enough about elephants to realize a sanctuary was the appropriate life for Tarra I created the sanctuary.
3. How is Tarra doing now? How has she been doing since the passing of her best friend, Bella? Has she found a new best friend?
Following the hostile corporate take over at the sanctuary I have been blocked from seeing Tarra all but one time. I am currently searching for land to create a new sanctuary so I can move Tarra.
I am saddened to hear the news about Carol being unable to see Tarra. I hope that they can be reunited soon and I want to thank Carol for participating in the interview and sharing her story about her life with Tarra.