Economic Impact of The Elephant Sanctuary

By Sophia West,


The Elephant Sanctuary recently released their community impact report for 2018. The Elephant Sanctuary had a $4.7 million-dollar budget in 2018, receiving all funds for the Elephant Sanctuary by individual donations or foundations, requiring no federal or state grants.

The expense report showed that the Elephant Sanctuary used $4.07 million. Of the funds, $128,871 went toward local utilities and taxes, $355,344 was spent with local businesses and organizations in Lewis County, $1.8 million in payroll plus $484,215 spent locally, equaling $2 million, and $171,383 toward capital improvement projects. Capital improvement projects included new fencing, updates to barns, security houses and downtown updates.

The Elephant Sanctuary is invested in giving back to the community. Throughout the 2018 calendar year, the Sanctuary was aware of ways to conserve water and support local organizations and programs. The Asia Barn, off Darbytown Road, uses a cistern that collects rainwater for the elephants, diverting approximately 24,000 gallons of rain water from the city’s storm drains to use for their irrigation system.

Additionally, the Sanctuary brought more than 2,000 visitors to the Elephant Discovery Center, located on Main Street, while educating more than 11,000 global students about Hohenwald through the Sanctuary Distance Learning programs. The Sanctuary also delivered education programs at the Elephant Discovery Center, Lewis County Elementary and Intermediate Schools, Leadership Lewis, GATTIS Leadership, Delta Kappa Gamma Society, Hohenwald/Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, and adopted two classes through the “Adopt a Class” program at Lewis County School.

The Elephant Sanctuary currently employs 40 individuals, providing health benefit packages to all employees to include: health, dental, vision, life, air evacuation, accident and disability insurance, 401K, PTO (paid time off), clothing allowance and certified training. Additionally, all but three employees have homes within 50 miles of Hohenwald, while four staff members purchased homes in Lewis County in 2018.

Staff and volunteers donate time to many organizations and places of business in Lewis County.  To learn more about the Elephant Sanctuary visit

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