To provide a safe permanent haven for all elephants requiring sanctuary. To ensure that the knowledge and understanding of these endangered species is improved and developed, through education, training and study.

Our Mission

In the past years, people throughout the world have become aware of the loss of the world's elephant population. If something is not done soon to alter this course of events, this generation may be the last to see, appreciate and closely work with elephants.

Elephants have been, are, and will continue to be important to people throughout the world. We marvel at their splendor and recognize the great void that would be felt in the absence of the relationships that have existed for thousands of years between humans and elephants. It is easy for us to agree that the elimination of the Asian and African elephant species is unacceptable, but what can we do about it? The problem often seems too far away, too complex to understand, and too large to resolve.

Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary provides a safe place for elephants regardless of their species, gender, physical or psychological condition, size, or temperament.

At Riddle's Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary, we are implementing a sensible and effective strategy for preserving and expanding the number of elephants throughout the world. We are caring for a group of genetically different elephants so that we can study their habits and physiology, teach proper elephant management techniques, and provide a home for elephants which need a home for any reason. Every elephant contributes to the social structure of the herd, while living out its life in a safe and secure environment.

Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary educates the public about the importance of safeguarding endangered animal species in order to maintain a balance in Nature. Accomplishing our goals requires us to be conservationists, educators, and scientists.


Scott and Heidi Riddle established Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary in 1990, on almost 400 acres in Arkansas, in the south central United States. Over the years the sanctuary has housed a number of elephants, African and Asian, male and female. The work of developing the sanctuary programs continues.

The funding for all of this work has been raised through appeals, donations and grants; the sanctuary is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization and receives no government financial assistance.


Wild elephants and those in human care present special challenges; their size, intelligence, and social structure teach us that a better understanding of their needs is essential to offer them the protection they deserve.

First and foremost, we aim to provide a safe haven for elephants. Our second objective is to ensure that existing skills and knowledge within the professional elephant care community are used, developed, and passed on to future generations of elephant caregivers, thereby directly benefiting elephants.


It is vital that the sanctuary participates fully with individuals and organizations caring for and managing elephants – nationally and internationally. The founders of Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary are held in high regard within the international elephant community. Their advice, help and knowledge are continually sought.


The sanctuary founders and members of the Board of Directors belong to various professional organizations such as the Elephant Managers Association (EMA). Heidi Riddle has served on the Board of Directors and as past President of the EMA, and is a long time invited member of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group and of the Conservation Planning Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

© 2017 Riddle's Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary.