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In Memory of Lisa

To Date:

The extensive necropsy on Lisa’s remains was a long and tedious task that went on for months thanks to the dedication and incredible fortitude of U.C. Davis Veterinary for the sake of science and the future health of other elephants. As suspected early on, the cause of Lisa’s death is being attributed to neurological disease that was undetectable while she was alive. There was no cure for her illness. We welcome calls in inquiries for further explanation, especially if you are familiar with an elephant suffering from similar symptoms described below. On February 18, 2007, a limited number of friends and relatives gathered to celebrate Lisa’s friendship and contribution to the community. Click here for more photos of that event and Lisa’s memorial.

We further ask that you click here to learn how you can help us carry on Lisa’s legacy for we’ve found the perfect way to do just that! 

Final update: 12/30/06 - A sad and final chapter.

Dearest friends, donors and loved ones,

It is with heartfelt sadness that I must tell you that our little Lisa passed away on December 24th. As prepared as those caring for her tried to be, knowing the possibility of such a tragedy, the loss was harder to endure than imaginable.

Lisa woke that morning as usual and accepted her medication in her strawberry jam as we hoped making it the start of a good day. I arranged for a Christmas tree to be set up in the barn that morning in an attempt to keep a positive environment and to help celebrate the following day with Lisa as I would with any sick  loved one on Christmas day.

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At approx. 4pm that afternoon, Lisa became extremely agitated and aggressively argumentative with her sling. Much more than normal. She wanted out of it badly but could not stay standing without it. After over an hour of trying to calm her, she simply grew tired and exhausted and collapsed in the sling where she very quietly fell asleep. She passed away an hour later with her caretakers and loved ones at her side. There was simply nothing left for us to do. Lisa knew something we did not. Her very special gift to us was to make the decision herself which ultimately removed the possibility of our having to deal with such a painful task.

I lived in the barn with Lisa since Nov. 2nd. Never have I been so sad and so unhappy to return home from anywhere. I would have never guessed that a sleeping bag and lawn chair would feel so much more comfortable than the bed in my house if it meant having a little more time to find a cause and a cure for Lisa’s illness. It just doesn’t make sense.

It was to be a cold night on Christmas Eve therefore after the extremely heart wrenching and difficult task of removing Lisa’s body from the barn and arranging transport to UC Davis, we had to move Butch back to his stall to sleep. It was approaching midnight. Regardless of our efforts to keep him and Buffy sheltered from the activities, they knew something was terribly wrong. We were worried for he was extremely nervous and upset upon entering the barn and seeing the empty sling without Lisa in it. We spent one final night in the barn, for the sake of Butch. He stared at the empty sling the entire evening and made low rumbling sounds to barn next door where Buffy returned the sounds - all through the night.

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None of us slept. I have no doubt, we were all crying. Now not just for Lisa, but for Butch and Buffy also who were sad, angry and confused. Their trust in us was altered as I suspect it will be for some time.

Early Christmas morning, Butch and Buffy were reunited to be moved to their play yard. Buffy was allowed entrance to the barn where she last saw Lisa to show her that Lisa was no longer there. On their way out, both stopped and spent a great deal of time touching the ground with the tips of their trunks where Lisa last lay outside the barn. It seemed only right to allow them as much time as they needed to figure things out and deal with the loss in their own way. We did our best to help them - any way we could. They spent the entire day standing in the corner of the yard, closest to the barn they last remember seeing and hearing Lisa in.

Most of our staff arrived Christmas morning to donate their day in helping Heather and I move out of the stall we called home for the past two months so that Butch and Buffy could be together Christmas evening. We wanted them in their familiar stalls, not in the empty stall we all knew as Lisa’s. It took until 3pm to do so for we had no idea how much of our lives had been moved into that barn while caring for Lisa. At 6pm, we brought Butch and Buffy back into the barn. Both became very confused and upset - something was missing - it wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair. It took over an hour to get both of them into the barn and settled enough to trust they would be OK. (We still continue to monitor them on the surveillance cameras for reassurance.) Today, they both still display moments of uneasiness in the barn but they are eating and sleeping. We’ve tried to remove as much as we could that might remind them of Lisa but some items are not as removable for the hoist system was built as a permanent structure. Other than that, the only other memory we left above Lisa’s empty stall is a sign, a simple and meaningful sign that was given to Lisa by a loved one during her illness. A sign that we all stared at daily and did our best live by.

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A special gift from EARS donor and volunteer, Vickey Overstreet.

Lisa’s remains were transported by EARS Director, Heather Greaux to US Davis on 12/26 where the long and involved necropsy was started and continues to this day. I simply could not attend. Heather’s courage and fortitude in dealing with such matters is far greater than mine and worthy of mention for hopefully the knowledge gained from Lisa’s death will benefit a sick elephant in the future. Unfortunately, that has not happened yet but the doctors are asking us to be patient for the histopathy can take a great deal of time.

I look back and can think of nothing we could have or would have done different. Our facility proved to be everything we hoped for and needed to accomplish anything and everything that could have been done for Lisa. Our donor and support base proved invaluable. These relationships that we developed along the way became the resources needed to give Lisa the fighting chance she so bravely accepted for two months. Although our decision to go public with Lisa’s plight brought an anticipated and unjust response from the extreme animal activist groups, it also brought us a wealth of information from veterinarians and elephant experts around the world to include an in-depth history of Lisa’s origin. It was a good decision, a decision I would recommend any facility or institution make when dealing with an elephant as sick as Lisa was.  All of this information was received and processed with serious and immediate concern for we were only looking for that one  possibility that might lead to her cure and we honestly thought a few came close. We really did think we were going to win this battle.

Aside from the many we thanked below who helped us fight the battle along the way, a final thank-you a few who carried us to the end... Most important, to my Dad, who visited Lisa and me often. Who sat in the barn with me just to keep me company when Lisa grew tired of my conversation. Who came, cried, and stayed with me till it was all over that Christmas Eve. I guess I could have edited things by saying, “for once again being a Dad when I needed one”. To my staff and volunteers - it was more than any employer had to the right to ask of his employees. I am so sorry to have put you through it. To Dr. Linda Lowenstine and staff at UC Davis as well as Dr. Jackie Gai who dedicated their Christmas day and day after Christmas to help arrange and perform Lisa’s necropsy. Their professionalism and empathy was extremely instrumental in helping us get through this. We also thank Kenny & Jimmy Beck and Gordy Farnum for abandoning their activities at Christmas and coming to help us deal with Lisa’s remains. I can not imagine what we would have done without them. Lastly, to the many who have already learned of Lisa’s passing and sent cards, e-mails and donations. It really does inspire us to realize how many people Lisa touched and how truly loved she was. Her successful work as an ambassador for EARS is apparent and continues to benefit the other elephants of EARS.

Speaking of which, Butch and Buffy seem to be getting better daily. They are healing much faster than the rest of us. As for me, I still feel a bit odd sleeping in a bed again without my work cloths on. I still wake every other hour or so to check and see if all is OK with the elephants on the monitors in the barn. I still wish we had a little more time to figure it out but as the sign says, I  do “Believe”. In another place. A better place. A place where I will meet up with Lisa and never be separated from her again. That’s the only thing that gets me through this as it does the many others here EARS who have to move on with the task at hand, caring for and loving our elephants and hopefully, future elephants at EARS.



Charlie Sammut - Director EARS

We invite you to click here to see photos of some of the fond moments we shared with our beloved Lisa. Moments we cherish and hope to never forget. These photos are the way we will always remember our little Lisa. For those who were unaware of this unfortunate episode as it was unfolding, we’ve left the below updates to explain the above letter.

To our donors and supporters, I hope that you will recognize the tremendous financial strain this has placed on our organization and continue to help us recover from it for as always, we will continue to give our elephants the BEST care available at any cost!


The entire story... as it was posted, from the beginning...

Special thanks to our one donor and friend to Lisa (you know who you are) that convinced us to share the following story with everyone. We were at first skeptical to do so for fear of certain radical animal groups pirating the information and the photos to misuse against us... but this individual convinced us that we should be extremely proud of the great lengths we’ve gone to for Lisa and will continue to go to before it is all said and done with. 

We’ve been told now by the best veterinary staff available that our work could not have been accomplished any better by the biggest zoos in the country with limitless budgets. We attribute that to our love for Lisa.

Nov. 2nd, Thursday morning we found our little elephant, Lisa, lying on her side in the barn and unable to get up. We had been concerned and looking into her unusual behavior in prior weeks - staggered movements, refusing to respond to some commands, etc... We actually had veterinary appointments for her prior to finding her down that Thursday morning.

She could not get up on her own and appeared exhausted from having spent several hours trying. Our other elephants in the barn with her were upset enough to lead us to believe that Lisa was in trouble. After many attempts to get her up on her own, we were forced to take a much more aggressive approach. Per the professional advise of friends at Marine World, we removed a portion of the roof of the barn and called for a crane immediately. We were able to get a strap around Lisa's front end and with the crane, lift her off the ground. Shortly after, her legs became strong enough to hold her up and we lowered her back on to the ground completely. It took several hours for her to be able to support her entire weight and/or take any steps.

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When things settled, Buffy was allowed back in the barn to settle her nerves and let her see for herself that Lisa was OK.

After keeping her attached to the crane for most of the day, she was able to slowly walk outside on her own where we allowed her to move around in her play yard. An immediate dialog was started with veterinary specialists across the country to discuss immediate treatment and a possible drug regiment as well as to formulate an exam date. That evening, the weather was nice enough that a decision was made to keep her outside the barn in the event we had to lift her again - as was the case. Obviously, we all began sleeping outdoors with Lisa and at 2am, she laid down again. She did not struggle to get up so we let her rest as long as she wanted. At 5am, she began trying to stand and could not so we again assisted with the crane.

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She came up a bit easier this time, trusting and knowing the crane was there to help her. Concerned about weather, a decision was made to isolate Lisa to a smaller area of the playpen, closer to the barn where the crane could still assist her if needed. A large boulder was hoisted into the area for her to lean on and within minutes, she did just that. 

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 That evening, she did go down again to sleep but again needed the cranes assistance in the morning to get up.

Although it appears pathetic to see her down this way, she really is sleeping comfortably as she should every other night. The blankets were probably just to make us feel warmer for she woke several times in the night to remove or try to eat them.

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Her appetite was a bit less than normal as was her water intake but measures were taken to counter that problem and as she regained her strength, she regained her appetite for food and water. While all of this was happening, immediate construction began around the clock to engineer and build a hoist system in the barn to accommodate Lisa's problem should the weather turn bad.

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Valerio's Welding, his crew and Rob Dicely were a saving grace! They literally dropped what they were doing, put their lives on hold and got this job done! And it would be an injustice not to mention my Tony Sammut who both coordinated the effort and stayed with it to it's completion!


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Saturday night, Lisa simply would not lay down at all to rest. Sunday and Monday were  the same. Tuesday was the long awaited day. We were able to coordinate a very complete veterinary team to fly in from across the country to examine Lisa. Ultra sounds, X-rays, blood work, urinalysis', ophthalmic exams, you name it. We did it!

Currently, we have no idea what is wrong with her. Although we are still awaiting some lab results, many many possibilities have been ruled out. Unfortunately, there are countless things you can't do for elephants that you might on another animal due to their inherent size. It is with great pride we say that Lisa has accepted every test, treatment, and mechanical devise she's been asked to accept without ONE complaint, objection or refusal. We could not be more proud of her!

Thanks to a HUGE effort of volunteer (and paid) welders working NON-STOP for three days and nights, Wed. saw the completion of the hoist project and Lisa was able to sleep in the barn again. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our friends Mike and Maureen from Salinas Awning, a comfortable sling was made which affords her the ability to stay up but still take the weight off her legs while sleeping.

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Lisa took to the mechanical device very well! It was like a new easy chair to her. Camp was moved to the stall next to her where we remain today (and night) until we figure this thing out. We are now also dealing with the many abscesses that are surfacing on the left side of her body, secondary complications from the fall. Some will have to heal before we can begin to allow Lisa to lie down again.

The current game plan is to keep Lisa in stall on the sling at night until we are certain she will go down on her own and be able to get back up. We will remain with her 24/7 throughout the entire process. Her wounds are treated twice daily along with a regiment of antibiotics and pain medications. We put her outside during the day where she is able to visit with Buffy and exercise as much as possible. Buffy does not leave her side! We've even had to start providing food and water in this location for Buffy so she would stay healthy throughout this process.

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Our fingers are crossed. She's eating better, drinking well, and getting some exercise. The medical quest continues. It would not be uncommon in the elephant world for this to heal itself and us to never know what caused it (we would gladly settle for that) but we move forward as if it was the first day in an attempt to find the cause and the cure.

So far, science and medical testing has left us with no answers. Now it boils down to guessing, hoping and praying.

Our hope is that Lisa collapsed due to a sore elbow we’ve been working on. She was lying down less and less at night because of it and refused to let us treat it as aggressively as we would have liked. (Yes they do lie down to sleep at night - most often 4-6 hours.) Perhaps she just grew so fatigued from a lack of sleep, she simply collapsed. Coincidentally, her fall opened up the bad part of that elbow enough for us to clean it out completely and start the healing process. Once it heals enough to allow her to lie on it again (which will take 4-6 months), Lisa might get some sleep and see a complete recovery.

Our fear is that the problem is neurological or skeletal which leaves us little we can do to help her other than make her feel loved and comfortable until she can no longer hang on. Tests for such problems in elephants are minimal due to their size and the availability of equipment to do so. Treatments are even less available. Lisa is a poorly built specimen as elephants go. Her skeletal design leaves much to be desired when compared to other elephants. We knew that when she arrived but loved her just the same, if not more because of it.

Unfortunately, when out of her sling - which we try to do as much as possible for exercise reasons and to try minimize bedsores - she still has episodes of collapsing down to the ground onto her sternum  and struggling to get herself up. We do our best to record these episodes and have them analyzed immediately by the best professionals available in the country. Nothing definitive has come back yet.

So in the meantime, we move forward with our hopes for it is currently our only alternative until Lisa finds a way to tell us more about what is wrong with her and how we can help.


Our home away from home...

(Left) Our living room and bedroom

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 (Below) our neighbor...

 (Above) our kitchen

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 Thanksgiving day and night was unlike any we have ever participated in... Our feast was of course with Lisa in the barn but thanks to the efforts of the Wild Things’ staff and a GREAT meal prepared by Heather and her Mom, it was Thanksgiving never the less and we felt extremely fortunate to be able to share it still with Lisa.


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You don’t have to be an “elephant expert” to help... so when EARS Director Charlie Sammut’s cousin Johnny Sammut (a Director of Webcor Builders) stopped by to visit Lisa and Charlie one Saturday, he introduced the idea of making a “tire sofa” that Lisa could perhaps lean her back side on while lowering her front half in the sling...

There is no book on these matters and the science is very vague so why not. It might look like a pile of tires but in truth, each is strategically placed and chained or bolted to another to keep it in place. And when it was all said and done with, this photo was taken at 3am of Lisa ~ resting in her sling with her rear end on her new sofa. Congratulations and THANK-YOU Johnny.


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Lisa’s abscesses are a large part of what makes her healing process so difficult. Most of the skin that was under the bruised area from the fall is sloughing off leaving raw flesh underneath.

At first Lisa objected to letting anyone near them to treat but patience and reward now has her allowing us to treat the areas with much less trouble. Trimming away dead skin each morning has become a ritual no-one looks forward to.

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We have no doubt that Lisa is on board when it comes to wanting to get better. She’s doing her best to help us help her. At times, that can be very painful but there is little choice.

A menu of treatments is being used on each wound to help heal it as quickly as possible. This includes several homeopathic remedies such as raw honey and healing mud together with much more scientific and expensive medical ointments and drugs.


Lisa has become more and more irritated with her sling. Although we try to only keep her in it at night, constant modifications have been made to make the sling more comfortable for her. Our most sincere thanks go out to Mike and Maureen at Salinas Awing for every time a modification is needed, (1 to 2 times a week), they literally shut down their business to attend to Lisa’s needs (some modifications taking all day). We have NO IDEA how any facility could accomplish such needs without the help and friendship of folks like Mike and Maureen that happen to own a company that could build such a sling. Most recently, real sheepskin has been sewn into the places that are irritating Lisa due to rubbing. I has made putting her in the sling far less stressful for all - especially Lisa!

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Introducing “Peanut”...

While living in the barn with Lisa, EARS director Charlie Sammut befriended a little buddy who actually comes out at night and steals food from Lisa.

Charlie has been providing Peanut with his own meals for fear of Lisa squishing him (or her). This is one bold little mouse. Often, Peanut will come right up to the camp heater and accept food from those on watch that evening.

Unfortunately, Lisa’s condition seems to be getting worse. In the past few days, she has been falling more often when out of the sling. This morning, she seemed so uncomfortable standing without the sling the decision was made to start keeping her in the sling during the day until she shows the strength to stand comfortably again without it.

Efforts have begun to solicit help from renown veterinarian, Murray Fowler who has authored several books on the veterinary care of exotic animals and is a well known teacher at U.C.Davis. Dr. Fowler is exploring neurological possibilities that could be wrong with Lisa.

We are also pouring into Lisa’s history prior to her arrival at EARS. A very special thanks to Linda Roberson for her efforts in helping us do this. Those efforts have proven very helpful. We’ve learned that when Lisa was imported into the U.S. from Africa, she was joined by a young bull who showed similar symptoms upon his arrival. He passed away at the age of two. We are attempting to locate his necropsy report which could lead to more answers. We are also being contacted by many people in the circus industry who are providing invaluable information that could lead to that one special clue that helps us find a cure for Lisa. We sincerely hope our next update is far more promising.


Our story grows increasingly less optimistic:

Many more possibilities have been suggested and tested for by veterinarians who have become familiar with our plight. Unfortunately, all test results lead us nowhere and Lisa is showing more signs of weakness and becoming more frustrated with the restrictions the sling creates. She wakes us every hour through the night for comforting, fresh hay, anything to keep her calm. During the day, instincts seem to kick in and keep her eating and drinking like the others.

Today, three more veterinarians recommended were contacted in a further attempt to solicit their input. Our veterinary consult has now reached to Africa, Australia, Germany and Canada. Our veterinary team here in the U.S. are noted in all industries as being the best in the world!

Lisa did test positive for one culprit (Toxoplasmosis) but further testing for the same is proving less and less to be the reason for her illness. Regardless, treatment for this disease could be our only  alternative if we are face with making a last minute decision.

We are not giving up. We are on the phone 10 hrs. daily to our veterinary team. We have drivers making daily trips to get Lisa’s samples to laboratories immediately (in order to eliminate a shipping day.) We could not be more appreciative of those professionals in all industries who are putting Lisa’s illness before all else right now. We have one or two more irons on the coals before we will be forced to make a decision on a “shot in the dark” treatment prior to loosing Lisa.

We want all to know, Lisa will not suffer. Although she is frustrated at night, we smooth it out with her within minutes. She does not seem to be in any form of pain now that the sling does not allow her to actually hit the ground when she has a collapsing spell. She is eating, drinking, defecating and urinating normally - that is truly what makes this so difficult for us. Her weakness stems from her inability to exercise her muscles which are showing signs of atrophy.

We both welcome and appreciate the support and the prayers of those who have contacted us and are wishing Lisa well. We believe in such healing powers and welcome any help we can get on top of the scientific and medical ingredient. We do truly relate your offerings to Lisa daily.

On a political note: The anticipated negative impact from the extreme animal activist groups has reared its ugly head. Rather than contacting us to question our status and discuss Lisa’s condition, they demanded investigations by state and federal governing agencies with allegations of wrong doing. Yesterday, we received a surprise inspection by USDA officials as a result of these allegations. In summary, their comments reflected that we were not only in complete compliance with the law, our facility, protocol and care for Lisa was above and beyond what any would expect. They were extremely complimentary and sympathetic to our efforts and told us their report would reflect the same. We can only hope now that those making these allegations will allow us to dedicate our time to Lisa instead of battling their misguided attempts to further their cause by misleading their donors. 


As predicted, Lisa discovered the medication in the bananas today and refused treatment. Per the advise of many (as well as our own experience), we immediately tried many other alternatives. She simply refused all treats, regardless of her normal desire for such treats due to fear of being tricked again. We suspect the medication had a bad aftertaste yesterday. As a last ditch effort we mixed it into her grain that evening and offered it to her. She refused it at first until Butch was brought into the barn. When he tried to take the grain from her, she instinctually got very protective of it and eventually ate it. Day 2, successful but we have 28 days to go and we’re not feeling optimistic!


The decision was made today to take that shot in the dark and start treatment for Toxoplasmosis. Although test results are not ideal to guarantee this as the illness, they do suggest the presence of Toxo and we no longer feel we can continue to do nothing while she weakens. The treatment unfortunately is a paste that must be administered orally for 30 days and that is not an easy task with elephants. Today’s first treatment saw success however by mixing it in bananas. She took the treats slow and reluctantly but nevertheless, we got it in her. We have also decided to give her a weeks treatment with a very strong antibiotic which is administered by IM injection every other day. Again, unfortunately, the dose is very large and it is a painful reality for Lisa. As with the parents of any child, it is as painful for those who have to administer it. This is going to be a very long week for all.


It’s not getting any better. Today, she refused her grain and was more than happy to let Butch have it (if we would let him of course...) We tried mixing it with chocolate, peanut butter, cakes, cookies, fruit, frosting, cool aid, Gatorade, water,,, you name it! Her medication detector detects it immediately and she spins away to pout. While massaging her tongue today (a special moment that Lisa normally enjoys immensely, Charile was forced to lie to her and sneak it into her mouth. We got a half dose into her but she made it VERY clear that will never happen again for now she is refusing any treats, laced with meds or not. She will not open her mouth near anyone. She simply isn’t trusting us any longer.  Today was also an injection day which made matters worse. It’s truly heartbreaking for she right, we’ve had to lie to her and we can’t make her understand it for her own good.


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Two jars of jam to 1/2 dose of medication seemed to be the ticket and she took it with a smile and a trunk up for more afterwards so our fingers are very crossed for tomorrow.

Unfortunately, we were advised to start Lisa on yet another indictable regiment of Vit-B today but the dose was small enough that it was not as painful to Lisa and it only has to be given 2 times a week.

She also welcomed her tongue massage from Charlie today.


Yet another dim light at the end of our tunnel ~ another trip through a grocery store brought home yet another arsenal of possible treats to mask the taste of the medication and it seems that our little Lisa has an incredible love for Smuckers Strawberry Jam (unlike the grape and boysenberry we tried earlier.)

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Today was a BIG day for Lisa. She was visited by the infamous Dr. Murray Fowler from UC Davis along with a team of three veterinary instructors from the University. Dr. Fowler is the author of several exotic animal veterinary books to include a most recent book on elephants. Our team consisted of an equine surgeon, a neurologist, and a behaviorist. Also, lab results arrived this morning showing that Lisa’s Vit-E levels were abnormally low - another possibility... The plan today was to consider a rare attempt to draw a spinal fluid sample from Lisa. After spending the better part of the day with Lisa, and reviewing all lab results and medical history, a decision was made to hold off on the spinal fluid and do further test on the Vit-E issue. (Lisa certainly had no objection to this!) Blood and hair samples were taken from Lisa, Buffy and Butch for comparison. All have Vit-E added to their diets daily and have for many years but is is possible Lisa is not absorbing hers or her dosage was incorrect compared to what other elephants might need. Regardless, test results are pending and we will post them as soon as we know more. They did however recommend an immediate large dose of Vit-E to be given by deep IM injection. This coupled with it being an injection day for her antibiotic treatment made it a very painful afternoon for Lisa and those who had to inject her but when it was all said and done with, the strawberry jam saw yet another victory and Lisa enjoyed it as much as yesterday. Funny, but today in our eyes, was a good day.

A VERY special thanks to Dr. Fowler and our veterinary experts from UC Davis for taking on Lisa’s project. It should be duly noted that they are doing this on a complimentary basis to help Lisa and further the science of veterinary medicine. These people are the real HEROES to all animals as well as those of us who love animals.

To the many who are e-mailing and asking specific questions about Lisa, please forgive our not responding immediately, we try to spend as little time in the offices as possible to enable us to return to the barn with Lisa. We’ll try to answer all you questions in these updates.

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Yes, it appears that Lisa is starting to get some rest. Not allot but some. She is growing more and more comfortable using her sling to accomplish this. Here she is seen with her full weight in the sling and her head resting on the tire configuration in her stall. It is 2am and she is asleep. She doesn’t stay that way long for eventually, she sways in the sling and the motion wakes her. It’s a very unnatural thing for an elephant to accept but this was the first time we saw her actually starting to fall completely asleep in it.

Butch and Buffy still hang out in the barn corner of their playpen most of the day, comforting Lisa from a distance with low rumbles and occasional trumpets. They are eating and drinking fine and seem to getting enough sleep and exercise to remain healthy through Lisa’s illness. They are also being tested for many possible illnesses that Lisa could be suffering from. It enables us to determine if anything in their environment is the culprit. It also gives us a better range of normal levels when compared to our sick elephant, Lisa. In short, Butch and Buffy are doing what they can to help Lisa also and we think they know it.

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No, so far Lisa has not become at all dangerous to handle due to her illness. Her patience and understanding has always made her a very special elephant and friend and that remains intact. The more dangerous aspect of her treatment is any adjustments that need to be made to her equipment for with her current condition leaving her unable to leave the sling, these adjustments often require climbing the rafters to get to areas a ladder can not with her underneath. EARS director Charlie Sammut seems to loose the coin tosses on all such tasks but Lisa tolerates his presence high above her the best.


Yet another good day, Lisa took her strawberry jam again today with happy enthusiasm and today, there are NO injections scheduled. Lisa appears perky and happy. Special thanks to EARS volunteer, Vickey Overstreet for bringing Lisa a special Christmas cake. Although Lisa refused it for fear of trickery, Butch and Buffy were extremely appreciative as were the EARS volunteers on duty that day.

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Although her legs still seem weak and the sling is still very necessary, the treatments are making us feel hopeful and she doesn’t seem to be getting worse since we started them. The search continues for other possibilities and these updates are soliciting more and more involvement by many who see them and can possibly help us in finding a cure for Lisa. So we’ll continue the updates as we are able. As always, our appreciation to all goes without mention. Thank you just doesn’t seem to be adequate but it is all we can offer other than our promise to be by Lisa’s side 24/7 and guarantee her the BEST of anything she could possibly need to help her recover.

Please check back soon, we’ll keep you posted...


to those who have helped us so far in our time of need. Salinas Awnings’ contribution is one that has probably saved her life. The sling has been a challenge to all, including Lisa, but Mike and Maureen continue to modify it daily to meet Lisa’s always changing needs. Star Sanitation has donated restrooms for our staff next to the barn as well as a wonderful dinner, a gift for Lisa and tires for her to lean on in her barn.  Paul T. Beck Contractors has contributed the heavy equipment it’s taken to get Lisa up, give her a rock to lean on and much more. Valerio welding worked 24/7 to build the hoist that supports Lisa every night. To the staff and volunteers of Wild Things for dealing with horrible hours it takes each morning and night to treat Lisa and get her in and out of her sling.  Valerio Welding worked unbelievable hours to beat the rains and get Lisa indoors on the new hoist. To Tony Sammut for taking charge of the hoist construction project and seeing it through to completion as well as for donating the tremendous steel costs for the project! Dr. Jim Hay has made Lisa a daily stop to meet her many needs and keep us stocked with what we need. To our friends at Six Flags Marine World for taking the time to visit Lisa and help find a reason for her troubles. To the many who have sent cards, balloons and gifts to Lisa ~ it really does help brighten up the barn which in turns make it a better place to be for all, including Lisa. To Joe Pippett for the dinner and the company for the staff one evening. Lastly, special thanks to Angela “the ferret” Dacus, a Wild Things volunteer who has spent almost every night sleeping in the barn, backing up Charlie only to attend school during the day and return to the barn in the evenings and to Paul Waford, who sneaks in every night to make sure our propane tanks are full.!

THE LIST CONTINUES: Dr. Murray Fowler and Staff from UC Davis for shedding yet another dim light at the end of what appeared to be a very dark tunnel once again. To Rob Stuart from Stuart Products for raising the Vit-E question and donating Vit-E supplements to Lisa. To the many friends and relatives of Lisa and our staff who continue to surprise us with dinner in the evenings and keep us company during the day.  To Gavilan Printers for printing our Lisa Update mailer and sending them out - these people are very special to EARS and we hope they know it! To Charles and the gang at PELCO for making the immediate six hour round trip journey to EARS when our surveillance system on Lisa went down - a task that went over and above the call of duty!

We can only hope that those we are forgetting will forgive and remind us for we could not have gotten this far without their help and support.

How you can help...

EARS raises approximately $60,000 annually at our May fundraiser which has always enabled us to feed and care for the elephants until the following May. Even with the donations of many to include all the regular and overtime labor being donated by Wild Things, this adventure with Lisa has cost EARS over $25,000 by itself due to drug costs, veterinary fees, lab testing, and additional equipment that has been needed to accommodate Lisa.

Donations are extremely welcome and appreciated. If we do not raise additional funds, we will be forced to borrow the money necessary to make ends meet till our next fundraiser in May of 2007. Please know that we are fully prepared to do so and have even made prior arrangements should we need to for we guarantee, Lisa have the BEST of everything and anything she needs to get through this.

Donations and/or correspondence can be sent to the address below. Other ways to donate can be found by clicking here...

To the animal rights activist groups who have already attacked us on line: We can only hope that your supporters will realize after following our plight and recognizing our efforts that your organization(s) are both misleading and unworthy of their trust and their patronage. Your demands for investigations by state and federal agencies of our facility and our protocol, simply because we chose to share our efforts with those we know care about Lisa, are misleading and unnecessary. If you really wanted more information on Lisa and our efforts, you could have PICKED UP THE PHONE AND SIMPLY ASKED US - but of course, that wouldn’t be as “colorful” to those who read and trusted your propaganda!

Had you called, you would have learned that we had already contacted those agencies ourselves and invited their inspections in anticipation of your response - a sad reality of our world for it is time wasted that is far better channeled towards Lisa.

All should note that our invitation stands to all of these organizations to contact us for any information - prior to alleging wrong doing  or suggesting that Lisa is receiving less than the optimum veterinary care she is receiving from across the country. The best are on board this effort and will continue to be until we figure it out!

As always, we urge ALL to take great care in evaluating the organizations they support to determine if their activities are truly in the best interests of animals or if they are using your funds to accomplish private agendas against certain industries that you might not feel deserve such abuse.

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