Everyday when going out on our tours the bus would cross the new 8 km bridge from Nusa Dua to Sanur and we would pass by the huge monument statue of Titi Banda which was at the centre of numerous roads converging at the monument. The traffic was always horrendous whenever we passed by but today our private driver boldly stopped our car and ran out into the traffic screaming and with hands waving to stop the cars and scooters to allow us to cross the road to get some good pictures of the monument. The Titi Banda statue represents stories about the character Rama who built the Titi Banda Bridge in the middle of the sea with the help of monkey troops in order to rescue his abducted wife. The statue shows Rama accompanied by his monkey troops. It was well worth the “dangerous crossing “ to see it up close!
Prior to arriving in Bali we had done quite a bit of reading about how the elephants in many of the parks on the island were cruelly treated and had decided not to visit. However after talking with our tour guide, we learned about
Calling his monkey warriors.
the Mason Elephant Sanctuary and decided to go there.
Since opening in 1997 the Mason Elephant Park & Lodge has garnered a reputation around the world as the blueprint on how elephants should be cared for in captivity. Set in the misty hinterlands of Taro, this multi-award winning park is Bali’s only dedicated elephant rescue facility and is home to 31 endangered Sumatran elephants, 4 of which were born here. The park provides guests with the opportunity to interact and learn about these gentle giants while giving the elephants a comfortable and safe environment.The Park is set in 3.5 hectares and has been carefully landscaped to mimic as much as possible the original environment of the elephants’ previous home in Sumatra. The location in central Bali was also chosen for its cooler climate and more tropical location. For those reasons the elephants are kept cool and comfortable in this lush tranquil landscape.
They do not use brutal or cruel training methods, as all training is by repetition, reward and patience. Elephant rides are on specially-designed light teak wood seats that are heavily padded to cause no discomfort or injury to the elephant’s back. Riding an elephant
actually helps by providing necessary exercise for its muscles, bone density, foot health and general wellbeing. The Mason Elephant Park has been recognised by the international community and numerous animal welfare organisations such as the National Geographic Society as a Welfare Supporter and the World Wildlife Foundation as a Partner in Conservation.
Once inside the sanctuary we were glad we made the decision to go. It was apparent right from the start that these elephants were being cared for very well. We spent over an hour meandering the lush grounds observing these magnificent animals. At feeding time, we had the opportunity to feed a couple of the elephants as well- a small portion of their daily 260 kilogram meal. They are fed a variety of fruits, grasses and slices of trees. They have 4 large molars to literally crunch the bark as they munch away. They use their trunks with great dexterity to pick up food from the ground, it is quite something to watch. Although their skin is as rough as tree bark and the hair on the skin is course, their large tongue is soft. Dianne had a good feel when she repeatedly popped pieces
Catch this rock
of banana into their mouths. One was very grateful and gave her a hug and then used it’s trunk to place a flower ring around her neck! This visit was one of the highlights of our trip!
Leaving our elephant buddies, we traveled along to the Bali Bird Sanctuary. Bali Bird Park is divided into regions that recreate the natural habitats of its birds, complete with indigenous plant life. There are birds from across the Indonesian archipelago, Latin America, Africa and Australia. It took us the better part of 2 hours to wander through the jungle pathways that make up the park. Along the way you encounter some of the most colourful birds you can imagine and they are all right there for you to photograph in their natural environment. The end of a perfect day.
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