Avery's Mitzvah Project
Organized by: Bonnie Sherwood
Over spring break my family and I went to Bradenton, Florida. We traveled 2 1⁄2 hours away to Two Tails Ranch. Two Tails Ranch is a ranch owned by Patricia L. Zerbin. The ranch is a sanctuary for elephants that have been mistreated by their owners, and were brought to Two Tails for care, and better treatment. At the ranch currently there are 6 elephants, 1 miniature donkey, 1 camel, 4 turtles, 2 lemurs, 2 zebras, 1 hedgehog, and 1 duck. Two Tails Ranch is the only place in the country where you can interact with elephants. I had the special opportunity to interact with 2 of the elephants. One elephant, Luke, is very talented. I was able to feed Luke, sit on Luke, and take pictures with him. Luke is friendly and playful, and can even paint pictures! A very interesting fact about Luke is he is the only elephant with crossed tusks. Normally an elephants tusks will grow straight out, but for Luke his started curving inward and eventually crossed and won’t be able to un cross. Luke is still able to be a normal elephant and knows how to take his trunk out of the middle of the tusks. Another elephant I interacted with is Roxy. I had the special opportunity to bathe Roxy.
The main reason why we decided to visit the ranch was to raise money for the elephants as my bat mitzvah project. The elephant I am focusing my fundraising efforts towards is named Tika. Tika was brought into the ranch very skinny, and sick. Patricia has had more than 300 elephants pass through the gates of her ranch and Tika had been one of the sickest ones she’s cared for. Tika’s eyes are uneven, and her head is deformed. One eye is a few inches below the other and Patricia believes that when Tika was born her skull cracked. As well as Tika’s eyes being uneven, her legs are slightly off. When you look at Tika you can just tell there is something wrong with her. She is mentally slower, and not as easy to teach and train. She is super cute and deserves to be loved and cared for. Patricia right now is struggling to pay for Tika’s extensive medical bills. Two Tails Ranch is only funded through private donations. It does not receive any state or federal funding, and it is the only sanctuary of its kind in the US.
For my mitzvah project I am trying to raise money for Tika and help Patricia pay the bills for her.