Finally, Elephants Have a Place They Can Go when They Retire

Scenes from the National Elephant Center

It turns out elephants also prefer to retire in Florida!

The newly erected National Elephant Center in Fellsmere provides a sanctuary for North American elephants that are in need by creating an environment resembling their natural habitat. reports that the 225-acre center is a nonprofit supported through donations whose goal is to preserve the threatened species, which is being killed at a rate of 35,000 to 50,000 a year in Africa. Nearly 45 elephants currently live at the facility.

It's not just for old folks. Managers hope the open environment will encourage elephants to naturally reproduce. Elephants are not bought or sold, rather, the center serves as an alternative method of conservation in case efforts in the wild do not succeed.

At the center, elephants spend their days grazing in the fields. In the mornings, they are fed apples and carrots. They also get a daily bath.


Apparently, Florida oranges have also become a real hit among retirees. The Center sits on a citrus grove, and when one day an elephant stumbled upon her new favorite snack, everyone got in on the action. Now, it's a regular treat.

It took $2 million in donations to construct the center, which opened in May, and it is not open to the public.

"We just want elephants to be elephants," John Lehnhardt, the executive director told NBC News. "They are family oriented. They're honest and straightforward. We should learn from them."