Europe’s first elephant sanctuary

Recently we came across a truly wonderful project and we would like to share it with you.

As you may know, the legislations in different European countries have forbidden or are forbidding the presence of wild animals in circuses. That is great news. There are currently more than a hundred elephants in circuses across Europe. What is the fate of these animals once these laws pass?

photo credit: Becky Phan

Tony Verhulst and Sofie Goetghebeur, the founders of Elephant Haven, have both worked for many years as animal keepers at the Antwerp zoo (Tony took care of elephants for 14 years). Their love for this specie inspired them to create the first European sanctuary for elephants. Its goal is to offer elephants a peaceful retirement in a large green space in the Limousin, France. A true haven where these gentle giants will receive optimal care from the Elephant Haven team.

This sanctuary would also allow to build awareness about the challenges elephants around the world face and to learn more about their behavior and needs.

photo credit: Elephant Haven


ELEPHAS can’t wait to see the first elephants find refuge here, and we have committed, since last December, to giving 1€ for every soap sold on our site to this project. Just mention ELEPHANTHAVEN in the comment section during your online purchase.

At the beginning of October, our team traveled to Limousin, France, to see the ongoing construction of the first elephant barn and the enclosure. The commitment of Sofie and Tony is truly inspiring and contagious!

Latest update: The construction of barn #1 and fencing is well on its way but still needs support to be finished and welcome its first inhabitants.

Here are the links: Cotizup ou Hello Asso  ou donner en Dollars  ou en Sterling (Pounds). 

There are several ways to get involved in this exciting initiative

-You can support Tony, Sofie and the team financially with whatever you can give to help advance the construction and the layout of the land. Want to give, it’s this way! (Note that in France your donations are tax-deductible up to 66%, so when you give 20€ for example, you are really only giving 6,80€ out of your pocket after the tax deduction).

-Check out ideas of ways to raise funds for this project.

– Feel like getting away from the city & doing some manual work in the Limousin ? You can volunteer by offering your talents and services. Just drop a line to

-And last, but not least, spread the word and together we can see this sanctuary become a reality soon:

Instagram & Facebook, Youtube, Twitter

photo credit: Elephant Haven

photo credit: Elephant Haven

photo credit: Olivier Behra