Elephants in Brazil?
Scott Blais ..................................
What happens when an elephant is rescued from a cruel existence performing in a circus or other entertainment venue? The size and social needs of elephants present big problems for those who rescue them. Scott Blais knows the challenges and better yet the solutions that face those who rescue and provide refuge for the biggest land animals on earth. In Elephants in Brazil? Scott shares with us how World Sanctuary for Elephants is meeting this challenge. He also relates how he became involved in the mission of protecting, rescuing and providing sanctuary for elephants worldwide. Scott’s story is inspirational and one that those who aspire to help animals must hear.
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Scott Blais, CEO and Board President
Global Sanctuary for Elephants
Scott carries a lifetime of experience, working both with and for captive elephants for over 25 years. Starting as an elephant trainer when he was 15, he quickly learned the truth of the brutality that captive elephants experience. With this awareness, and recognizing the need for an alternative approach, in 1995 he co-founded The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, the nation’s largest sanctuary dedicated exclusively to the rescue and recovery of captive elephants.
As Director of Operations for over 16 years, Scott managed and
trained elephant care staff, oversaw the rescue and transport, as well
as participated daily in the care and the recovery of the 25 Asian and
African resident elephants.
Scott’s aptitude for design and construction, complemented by his knowledge and comprehension of the physical and emotional needs of captive elephants, was integral to managing the development of the 2,700 acre natural-habitat and award winning, state-of the-art elephant care facilities and progressive elephant care program that has helped reshape the way the world views captive elephants.
We knew elephants were broken, mentally, physically and emotionally; captivity destroys their lives, but none of us truly understood the full extent of damage until we witnessed the immeasurable healing that comes with Sanctuary life. At Sanctuary the layers of trauma and fear give way to trust and a sense of purpose as they rediscover who they are as elephants and as individuals. Their lives and mine continue to be forever transformed.
After leaving the Sanctuary in 2011, Scott went on to serve as an international consultant for captive elephant health and welfare, providing vital insight to promote protective legislation and healthier alternatives for ailing captive elephants. In 2013, Scott and his wife Kat Blais, former lead caregiver and veterinary liaison for TES, joined other renowned elephant experts, including Dr. Joyce Poole and Petter Granli of ElephantVoices, to form Global Sanctuary for Elephants, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of new sanctuaries for captive elephants worldwide. Together, these experts and advocates have the knowledge,experience, and credibility to aid in the development, operation, and oversight of expansive natural habitat elephant sanctuaries internationally starting with the pilot.