Today’s my mom’s birthday. And Abraham Lincoln’s. And…a sweet little friend of mine named Amelia: a little girl who happens to love elephants very much.
When Ted and I were in South Africa in 2012, little 1+ year old Amelia saw pictures of elephants in my Instagram feed, and her mom told me about her excitement.
I’d intended to write a story about the facility we visited and their elephant program, but after the day’s experience and the additional research Ted and I did about the system of elephant “rehabilitation” they purported to provide (and after the fruitless series of emails we exchanged with the operators, asking for more transparency in their operation), neither of us could in good conscience recommend the place.
I ended up writing a different post (The Questionable Ethics of Wildlife Tourism in South Africa), and later on in Asia we steered clear of animal-related tourism, including the famous Asian Elephant parks. We’d become awfully jaded, tired of petting zoos masquerading as medical centers, tired of tourists buying into the bull.
Yet, there was something undeniably amazing about standing next to those mighty animals that day in South Africa…
This year, I’m dedicating a little collection of elephant photos to Miss Amelia on her third birthday. Continue reading