by Linda Kaye
San Antonio, Texas
May 15, 2002
Once the cobwebs were gone, we received a more thorough description of the main topic of the tour, THE ELEPHANT, including details of the full life cycle of the elephant and its habitat. One of the guides explained, by using a skeletal head of a deceased elephant, the various parts of the skull. An interesting bit of information about the elephant is that the average life span is 70 years and death comes as a result of starvation due to the loss of their seventh (and final) set of teeth.
The elephants were brought out to meet us. As we watched the trainers go through their training session, we began to see the different personalities of each elephant. The interaction between trainer and beast was inspiring. The demonstration ended when the lead elephant took a large stake passed to him by each of the other elephants and promptly delivered the stake to the youngest lady in our group. Now, how did he know to do that?
Finally, it was time for our ride. We mounted the elephants, two by two onto the backs of these large and magnificent creatures, sitting just behind the trainer, and off we went. In approaching a small lake we thought "we’ll go around" and didn’t think much of what our guide had said a littler earlier "have a good swim", until we literally when into the lake. Yes into the water. What was especially discerning was that there were several hippo on the other side of the lake. But no problem our guides knew what they were doing and we arrived on the opposite side safe and dry.
Upon returning to the camp we participated in feeding the elephants as a "thank you" for a great ride. We also had the opportunity to pet Rastus, a baby elephant who had the run of the place. Rastus even followed us on the safari. All the time we were playing with Rastus, we couldn’t help notice the wonderful aroma of bacon and sausage cooking on the open grill. We were treated to a full breakfast, and joined by several of the guides, enjoyed more discussions on the life and times of these great giants.
Following breakfast, we were invited to view a video tape that had been taken of our visit. The first five minutes was a documentary about the work done by Wild Horizon in rescuing hurt or abandon elephants. The tape was irresistible and at $25.USD, we could not resist purchasing a copy.
From journal Expanding Our Wild Horizons