Hitachi Construction Machinery



First elephant for Europe’s first elephant sanctuary

November 2, 2021

The first elephant sanctuary in Europe, proudly supported by Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) NV (HCME), has welcomed its first resident. Elephant Haven, in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France, announced the arrival of a 52-year-old female Asian elephant called Gandhi in October.

A new arrival

Her arrival is a remarkable achievement for founders Tony Verhulst and Sofie Goetghebeur, who established the non-profit organisation in 2013. The former zookeepers wanted to provide a place for zoo and circus elephants to retire, particularly as an increasing number of European countries are banning the appearance of animals in circuses. At Elephant Haven, Gandhi will benefit from several hectares of varied landscape, personalised care and a peaceful environment where she can enjoy her senior years.


HCME has been a proud partner of Elephant Haven since it supplied a Premium Used mini excavator in September 2017. The versatile ZX38U-5 has been used for a variety of tasks at the 70-acre site, including building fences, digging trenches and creating mud pools.


Now the first elephant has arrived, the Hitachi machine will continue to be used to maintain sand boxes in the specially constructed barn, and make sand piles on which she and future residents will sleep. It will also be used to move tree trunks and logs, and maintain streams and lakes.


Unique project


HCME PR & Communication Manager Ghislaine Jonker says: “Hitachi chose to get involved with Elephant Haven because it is in line with our corporate responsibility to contribute to society and create a better sustainable environment.


“Everyone who has been involved at Hitachi, from our sales and after-sales departments, and our dealer in The Netherlands, is delighted to have played a part in this unique project. We are also very happy that Elephant Haven has been able to welcome their new resident, Gandhi. We look forward to continuing to follow founders Tony and Sofie on this incredible journey.”


For more information, read the article and listen to the podcast on Onsite.

Alternatively, visit


0 Compare models