mardi 22 décembre 2009

Up close and personal with elephants... in the U.S.!

I like this idea! Why not benefit a good cause instead of going on an African safari?

Arkansas elephant sanctuary offers close encounters with pachyderms

(Canadian Press, Dec. 21, 2009)


As you walk through the field beside them, it’s difficult to tell if that rumble is the sound of their mighty footsteps or your heart thumping in your chest.

Then just before you sink into the forest, one of the elephants throws her trunk into the air and trumpets, and you’re certain what you’re witnessing is nothing short of magical.

You’re not on an African safari. You’re in Arkansas, in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, at a sanctuary for unwanted elephants. And this may be the closest you’ll ever get to these mammoth creatures.

Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary will celebrate its 20th year in 2010. For years, owners Scott and Heidi Riddle have opened its gates for the Elephant Experience Weekend, where visitors get up close and personal with the sanctuary’s eight African and Asian elephants over three days.

The weekends, held about six times per year, help the small non-profit cover the cost of caring for and feeding the elephants. But the Riddles say it’s more about the education and conservation of the animals they’ve spent their whole lives working with.

Besides the weekends, the sanctuary opens to the public for a few hours the first Saturday of every month. There’s enough interest that they could open it all the time but Heidi said they are more concerned with caring for the elephants

Riddle’s Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary: Located in Greenbrier, Ark., about 72 kilometres north of Little Rock. or 501-589-3291

Elephant Experience Weekend, US$700 per person, includes all meals and lodging. Participants must be 18 years or older.

Open to the public the first Saturday of each month 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Adults $5, children two and under, free.

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