updated 7/21/2006 7:24:07 PM ET 2006-07-21T23:24:07

A female handler was killed and another handler was injured by an elephant Friday at The Elephant Sanctuary in southern Tennessee.

There was one death and one injury from an elephant at the site, said Steve Nifong, assistant chief of enforcement for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

TWRA agents were assisting Lewis County sheriff's deputies with the investigation, he said.

The names of the victims were not released.

Opened in 1995 by executive director Carol Buckley and facilities director Scott Blais, the nonprofit refuge on 2,700 acres outside a small town about 60 miles southwest of Nashville is the only one of its kind for Asian elephants in North America.

The sanctuary's mission statement on its Web site says it provides a haven for old, sick or needy elephants in a setting of green pastures, old-growth forests, spring-fed ponds and a heated barn for cold winter nights. It also tries to educate the public about elephants.

Many of the elephants that have been moved there came from performance backgrounds. Once they arrive at the sanctuary, they no longer were on view to the public. The public's only chance to see these elephants is online through streaming Webcams on the property or through VIP tours for donors.

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