Mila Mila CREDIT: Carlin Valenti

Mila The Elephant's Fate Rests In Public Hands

Tuesday 5 June 2012, 1:58PM
By Carlin Valenti


Time is rapidly running out for Mila, the ex-circus elephant who lives at Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary.  Since the tragic accidental death in April of her primary keeper and vet, Dr Helen Schofield, the Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust needs to raise $1.45 million dollars by June 10th to secure Mila’s care and future.

Dr Schofield had been working to rehabilitate Mila for more than two years after a life with the circus. The plan for Mila is to prepare her to travel overseas to another sanctuary to live out her life with other African elephants.  The Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust needs $1.45m to fund an accredited zoo operator, an elephant programme manager, 2 more elephant keepers, a custom built travel crate, vet care and medical testing, crate training, freight to her new sanctuary, quarantine, and final transfer to her new home.

It is unfortunate and tragic that Helen will not get to see this happen. Helen touched the lives of so many people and animals. She was a highly qualified, dedicated and accredited vet, zoo operator, zoo keeper, animal welfare advocate, conservationist and so much more. Helen’s dream was for Mila to live in an environment which will meet her physical and psychological welfare needs. Mila needs the company of other African elephants, space to roam and the opportunity to behave naturally.

If the money to start this process cannot be raised by 10th June 2012 there may be no choice but to have Mila put down. There is no other facility in New Zealand which has the resources to care for Mila.

Dr Schofield’s sister, Jenny Chung, is determined to fulfill her sister’s plans for Mila’s care and future.

“There is a very tight timeframe. This may seem like a huge ask but I am sure there is a corporation, organisation or individual who believes in this cause and has the resources to help make this happen.”

Jenny says she’s been overwhelmed by the generosity of both New Zealanders and Australians who have been making donations since hearing of Mila’s plight.

“I believe, and Helen believed, that all animals deserve as full and enriching a life as possible. Mila is a social animal and she deserves to spend the rest of her life with other elephants.”

To make a donation please visit the Franklin Zoo website:

Or by Cheque: payable to Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust, 83 Ridge Road, Tuakau RD4, Auckland 2694, New Zealand

Or Direct Credit to: Franklin Zoo Charitable Trust  BSB: 06 0401 ACCOUNT: 0327303-00