A Touching Tale (Tail) – Tarra and Bella

Bella The Dog Is Dead: Tara The Elephant Mourns Her Best
Pal (Photos)

From Anorak News

tpaint1 Bella The Dog Is Dead: Tara The Elephant Mourns Her Best Pal (Photos)

SAD news from the elephant sanctuary for abandoned, runaway, inspiring and wayward elephants in Hohenwald, Tennessee: Tarra’s friend Bella has died.

On Tarra’s profile, we learn:

Reason for coming to the Sanctuary: inspiration and founding member

She has talent:

Born in Burma, Asia, Tarra’s artistic talent began to emerge almost
immediately upon her introduction to America and life in captivity. Often, Tarra was observed holding a stick in her trunk, drawing abstract images in the dirt. Using a stone grasped firmly in the end of her trunk, she passed the solitary night time hours by etching drawings on the concrete floor of her barn.

CEO Robert Atkinson, a former Head of Wildlife for the United Kingdom’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has news:

My dear friends,

I write to you with very sad news. Tarra’s little dog Bella has died. We
found her body on Wednesday and have been dealing with the aftermath ever since,
trying to work out what happened while we look after Tarra and each other.

We noticed Bella was not with Tarra at breakfast on Tuesday and later that
morning she still had not appeared. Tarra and Bella have always spent short
periods apart as one goes off exploring briefly on their own, but this longer
absence worried us deeply and a search of the property was started which
continued into the next day. The search ended tragically when Bella’s body was
found close to the Asia barn that had long been home to Tarra, her five sisters
and Bella. During the time of the search our usually social Tarra chose to
remain alone, watched over by concerned Caregivers.

Read on:

Dr. Scott, our vet of sixteen years, examined Bella for the last time and,
with advice from the experts from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, determined the probable cause of death was an attack by animals, most likely coyotes. We have sent off samples to see whether there were any other contributory causes.

bella2 Bella The Dog Is Dead: Tara The Elephant Mourns Her Best Pal (Photos)

Having carefully examined Bella’s wounds and the place where she was found, we concluded that Bella had not been attacked near where she was found and neither could she have walked there.

As these investigations were taking place observant Caregivers, even more watchful of Tarra than usual, noticed blood on the underside of her trunk, evidence that pointed us in the direction of what likely happened that fateful night.

The most probable scenario is that during the night Bella strayed from Tarra briefly and was set upon. Tarra arrived too late to save her but was able to stop further damage being done to Bella’s body. With deep sadness and deeper wonder we come to comprehend what likely happened next—that Tarra picked Bella up and carried her home.

Further evidence in support of our belief for what happened comes from Tarra herself. After Bella had been found, Caregivers ensured Tarra had every chance to inspect Bella’s body before it was buried and to come to terms with her death, as this is an important part of the grieving process for elephants. But Tarra was not interested in either Bella or the group of Caregivers who would normally have drawn our inquisitive Girl to see what was happening.

It was only later when we had pieced together the whole picture that Tarra’s behavior at Bella’s grave made sense. Our poor, brave, loving Girl knew what had happened to her beloved Bella and, in the dark hours of the night as she carried her body home, had come to terms with her death.

Tarra’s sisters will help her through her sadness. Although we cannot take away Tarra’s pain immediately or the pain of all those that knew Bella, I do know Bella knew true love and true freedom. It will always be so for animals that find Sanctuary.

Rob Signature sm Bella The Dog Is Dead: Tara The Elephant Mourns Her Best Pal (Photos)


We are very concerned for Tarra and the grief she must feel at the loss of
Bella. Caregivers are carefully monitoring her during her time of mourning. She still has a healthy appetite, and we are sure she will lean on the support of her elephant sisters, especially Shirley, during this difficult time.

She appears to be doing remarkably well under the circumstances, and we will, of course, keep you informed through updates in the Asian Ele-Diary and in Ele-Notes.

We invite you to visit Bella’s  Tribute page, where we’ve shared some memories of the time she spent with us at The Sanctuary, and also
read the press release that was just issued.

“Bella, you will live on forever in our hearts. Don’t worry, we will continue to look after Tarra, just as you looked after each other.” The Elephant Sanctuary Staff

Memories like these make us smile through our sadness….


elenews 10 28 11btarrawithbella Bella The Dog Is Dead: Tara The Elephant Mourns Her Best Pal (Photos)

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One thought on “A Touching Tale (Tail) – Tarra and Bella

  1. Poor Tarra, What a sad story….thank you for sharing this article…it shows the pain of true love when it is away….I know the feeling very well.

    I hope Tarra has the strength to go on…but I would understand if she didn’t. The beauty of love, true love. 🙂

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