In November 2008, the United States Department of Agriculture confiscated Ned, an Asian elephant, from a Florida circus trainer. Ned was the second elephant ever to be confiscated by the USDA.
At the time of his rescue, Ned was extremely thin. The photos of his condition– “skin and bones” would be an accurate description– are difficult to look at. Elephant experts said that Ned needed to gain ONE TON to be considered at a healthy weight. The trainer, Lance Ramos (aka Lancelot Kollmann), and Ned had performed with the Royal Hanneford Circus, among other traveling shows.
Ned was transferred to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee to give him a chance to recover. At the sanctuary, Ned adjusted to his new surroundings, met other rescued elephants, enjoyed walks in the pasture and discovered a taste for oatmeal.
Although Ned was under constant veterinary care and was fed a special diet, he had difficulty absorbing nutrients and gaining weight. Ned died peacefully on Friday. Ned escaped the circus but never recovered from its neglect.
Click here to learn more about Ned’s life, and to watch videos from his time at The Elephant Sanctuary.