Remember Elephant Refuge Founder

African Bush Elephant

Target: Founder of Hope Elephants, Jim Laurita

Goal: Remember the founder of Hope Elephants, a sanctuary for injured and orphaned elephants

Jim Laurita was recently found dead in an elephant corral housing elephants in his facility. The manger and curator of Hope Elephants, Laurita was known for his love and devotion to elephants. He died when one of the elephants accidentally stepped on him. This man should be remembered for his commitment to these animals, especially in taking care of two former circus elephants.

Hope Elephants is a non-profit elephant refuge in Hope, Maine. Despite the cold climate, Laurita provided facilities that would keep the elephants warm, such as heated floors, a large barn, and an outdoor padlock. The facility houses two elephants, Rosie and Opal, both of whom were former circus performers. Both of the girls need specialized medical treatment, as Rosie has a partially paralyzed trunk and Opal suffers from limb and joint deterioration. The facility was created by Laurita, a former circus performer who later became a veterinarian. Laurita has worked in the Bronx Zoo and with elephants in India.

Laurita was killed when he fell into the corrals holding the elephants. He hit his head on the concrete floor and one of the elephants accidentally stepped on him, causing asphyxia. The death is accidental and was in no way aggressive according to the medical examiner. This man has been interviewed by National Geographic, and is admired for his devotion to animals. Sign the petition below to remember Laurita for his dedicated efforts to the rescue and care of abused elephants.


Dear Jim Laurita,

As a former circus performer, I’m sure you can understand the amount of abuse that exotic animals such as elephants experience by circus trainers. It saddens me that Rosie and Opal went through all of this abuse so they could earn profits for humans. I hope that you regret inflicting any sort of abuse on a living animal, and I feel like you’ve shown remorse by creating Hope Elephants.

I am saddened by your death, and I hope your elephants will continue to be well cared for. Elephants, and other animals such as tigers and lions, are not meant to be performers. They are wild animals, and as such, should be living in their natural habitat. I know Rosie and Opal will never get to experience the African savannah, but I hope they will remain in a compassionate environment like Hope Elephants for the rest of their lives.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: RoDobby via Pixabay

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  1. Doreen Forbes says:

    ~~i think the ellies should be sent to a sanctuary!!

  2. Blessed be the pure in heart. For they will see God.

  3. Valerie Nordberg says:

    I’m confused about this petition. Was he as cruel to the animals when he was a circus performer? Did he start a sanctuary from remorse? What and who gets these thanks? The man in question is dead. I don’t understand so will not sign.

  4. Animal Conservationists put their lives on the line each and every day. That’s how Steve Irwin lived his life and he would have had it no other way. While I don’t know quite as much about Jim Laurita ~ Founder of Hope Elephants – if he did in fact save elephants then I applaud him and truly believe, that like Steve Irwin, his work will never be forgotten !!!! Animal Conservationists are not only HEROES, but Excellent Role Models ….

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