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  • Writer's pictureMonica Beth

Things to do in Ubud: Elephant Mud Fun at the Bali Zoo



So we have been really excited about seeing elephants, however I've heard about places in this area of the world terribly mistreating animals so I'd been a bit apprehensive about unintentionally supporting that industry. We were in Bali for almost a month at this point and as we learned about the culture and the traditions and their deep appreciation for nature and respect towards all living beings we felt the Bali Zoo would be a safe space for animals and we booked an afternoon of "Elephant Mud Fun." We got to the zoo around noon and were able to explore for a couple hours. The animal enclosures were big and some of them you could even walk through and see little guys like parrots, lemurs, wallabies and deer all up close and personal. Some of these animals were just behind some chainlink fences with signs saying "I eat fingers too" or "don't feed me I may get sick and die"



Then we made our way over to the second area of the zoo where we met the elephants. There were about 15 of us and they introduced us to three female elephants and split us off into groups so each elephant received equal attention. Before we got started we were given some guidelines, where the elephants were sensitive and not to touch them there, we were told not to stand behind them so they don't get spooked and the obvious no hitting or aggression. Each elephant at the Bali zoo has an individual keeper assigned to them. One person will care of one elephant for the entirety of its time at the zoo. Our Elephant was named Anna and she was 40 years old. She was a rescue from Sumatra and had been at the zoo for 11 years. All of this information really assured me that these elephants were well cared for.

So on to the fun. We began by preparing some bananas and cucumbers to feed the elephants and we all took turns one at a time feeding Anna and petting her. We were really shocked looking into her eyes she seemed to stare back with so much curiosity and seemed to really be enjoying herself. After we were all well acquainted we went into the mud bath. We covered ourselves in mud to avoid getting bitten by giant horse flies (or in this case elephant flies?) Once we were covered Anna came and joined us. She laid down and we covered her in mud Her face, trunk, back and sides. after the mud we rinsed off then got to work scrubbing the mud off of Anna. From there we headed down the the river to swim around and splash and play. Elephants LOVE water and they even swim using their trunks as a snorkel. (the river wasn't that deep so we didn't get to witness it.) After we finished playing in the river we went into some mud pools. (The mud bath was about ankle deep, the mud pools about waist deep) We really enjoyed our time with Anna and the other Elephants and their keepers and we learned a lot too. We definitely were not ready for the afternoon to end, but it was time to hit the showers and enjoy a nice lunch buffet that was included with our ticket. This was by far the best zoo experience we've ever had!



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