I’d like to start out by saying, both of us love animals. We have our whole lives, and a lot of the times Jeff actually prefers the company of animals to people. Becca's favorite animal in the world is elephants (and cats), so being able to visit with these wonderful creatures was truly something special for us. That being said, we were very conflicted about actually supporting an "elephant riding excursion" that was set up for us on our honey moon in Indonesia. The sanctuary we went to was a rescue for elephants in Sumatra whose land was slowly being encroached upon by humans. Unfortunately, as people expanded their villages further and further into the jungle, the elephant’s habitat was slowly disappearing. As a result of this, more elephants were coming into the villages, destroying homes, and ultimately being killed by villagers. Once we arrived at the sanctuary we were saddened by the whole place. So much so that we almost turned around and left. Both of us dislike zoos, and our first impression of the sanctuary was just that. While we were deciding on whether or not to leave a baby elephant caught our eye and we went to get a closer look. While feeding the little one we spoke to some of the trainers at the sanctuary about how the elephants are treated and what their life is like at the rescue. What we found out made us feel quite a bit better about supporting the sanctuary. As it turns out, each elephant is assigned only one trainer who they work with, and form a bond with, for their entire lives. The guide we were talking with had worked with his elephant for over 12 years, and honestly thought of him as his child, not an animal. After everything was said and done, we decided to meet the trainer’s elephant and go for a ride. Sitting with the gentle beauty was an absolute treat and while the sanctuary isn’t as good as the elephants being in the wild, at least they were safe, being fed, cared for properly and really loved.

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