Baby, the elephant, was captured from the wild of Zimbabwe when she was two years old. Torn from her mother, Baby was thrust into life as a trained circus elephant, taught to perform tricks by way of fear, pain and intimidation. Elephants are incredibly social and emotional animals, so this traumatic start to life has undoubtedly damaged her both mentally and physically. Baby is now 26 and lives at the dilapidated Karoli Circus in Sardinia, Italy.

This poor elephant spends the majority of her day chained to a wall, rocking back and forth and swaying her head in a figure eight to cope with the stress and boredom she experiences. She suffers from arthritis and severe muscle wastage. This is the sad, deplorable existence that she has known for 24 years living as a solitary elephant.

Thankfully, Baby’s plight has not gone unnoticed. The Italian organization, Lega Anti-Vivisezione (LAV), has helped to retire a number of animals from the Karoli Circus, but they have had to leave Baby behind because Europe does not yet have a sanctuary for elephants. This is quite the issue considering there are around 40 solitary elephants scattered around European zoos and circuses who are in need of a place to retire.

The only logical solution to help these elephants is to build a sanctuary … so that’s exactly what LAV aims to do with the help of the Born Free Foundation. Baby’s story is only one of countless other heartbreaking tales of elephants, who should never have been taken from their native homes to begin with, but are currently suffering as the result.

Building a sanctuary specifically elephants will give these elephants the freedom they deserve and the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives in the company of other elephants.

You can help LAV and Born Free reach this incredible goal by making a donation, here.

Image source: Mirko Tobias Schafer/Flickr