Sanctuary dream holds
Wednesday, 23 May 2012
A month after veterinarian and director of the Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary, Dr Helen Schofield tragically lost her life while caring for an animal she loved, the district is still reeling.
| The late Dr Helen Schofield. |
Four years ago, after spending 30 years in chains and part of a travelling circus, Mila the elephant came to Franklin Zoo mentally scarred, rocking nervously from side to side, and dragging one leg behind her in the belief she was still tethered.
Dr Schofield changed all that. Determinedly and single-handedly, she rehabilitated 39 year old Mila into an elephant that could enjoy some of the behaviours displayed by elephants in the wild.
It was around the clock work, so much so, that Dr Schofield would often sleep on a couch beside the elephant so she could soothe Mila if she became distressed. In an interview with Rural Living last year Dr Schofield said: “It is 24-hour a day care, and I think that’s why we’ve kicked ass in doing a good job with her.”
From an early age, the sanctuary’s owner devoted her time to the welfare of animals.
At age 10, she volunteered at the local zoo and SPCA, and filled her family’s home with limping and injured animals.
After several stints in zoos overseas, Dr Schofield purchased Franklin Zoo with the dream of establishing a sanctuary for circus animals and creating a refuge for endangered native animals. She was well on the way to doing just that.
Among her goals was to settle Mila into a herd of elephants at a sanctuary in California. Her staff and supporters remain focused on that dream. The team at Rural Living remembers Dr Schofield with respect and fondness and offers sincere condolences to her family, her many friends and to the staff at Franklin Zoo and Wildlife Sanctuary.