Knoxville Indian restaurant working to help relocate ‘Happy’ the elephant to Tennessee sanctuary

Happy shows researchers that pachyderms can recognize themselves in a mirror — a highly complex behavior previously known in only a few other species. (Associated Press)

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Tandur Indian Kitchen in Bearden Hill celebrated “Happy Elephant Day” by working to help “Happy” the elephant.

The restaurant donated 100 percent of their lemonade sales Saturday to help relocate Happy to the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. The sanctuary provides a safe refuge and the companionship of other elephants for elephants retired from performance and exhibition.

Happy received national attention after an article in the New York Times about how the elephant lives alone, separated from the zoo’s two other elephants for her protection. The zoo is phasing out its elephants but has resisted calls from animal rights groups to put Happy in a private sanctuary.

In Defense of Animals named the Bronx Zoo one of the “10 worst zoos for elephants” largely based on Happy’s isolation. There is also a petition asking the Bronx Zoo Director, Jim Breheny, to send Happy and two other elephants to the Elephant Sanctuary.

Tandur is hoping they can help. They donated to help relocate the animals but also encouraged their customers to sign the petition.

“Elephants are revered in Indian culture, symbolizing great intellect and wisdom. We’re so grateful to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee for caring for these magnificent creatures,” said H.P. Patel, who founded Tandur along with his brother J.T. Patel. “We’re pleased to support them with this initiative.”

The Elephant Sanctuary, located near Nashville, has provided sanctuary to 27 elephants and is North America’s largest natural habitat refuge for captive elephants.

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