30.03.2013 45 °C
As Adam and Danni have taken a couple of days off from the Safari Park we have been given the responsibilty of the big cats. We are very happy with this, not only because we like the variation of different tasks but also the big cats are our favorite thing to do as it involves looking after the cubs.
Our days start slightly differently to the ususal monkey feed. We need to pick up the meat from the stores to feed to the cats enclosed near the monkeys. This includes Fang, Nala, and Coffee the leopards and Toast our Asiatic golden cat. All them eat chicken carcasses as well as been given small amounts of beef or pork that we hide multi vitamins in and other medication. You can hand feed these small amounts through the bars and it is really cool to see the giant cat take the meat from your hand. Our only hiccups yesterday were Fang not wanting to get in his back cage, and a partian door between Fang and Nala being broken down by Nala. Ever since Liam and Adam built the climbing rig in Fangs enclosure the last time we were here he has been able to reach a platform high up that he never could due to his illness. Now he can get up there he can be quite hard to coax down but after a while we won that little battle. As for the partian door, that was slightly more alarming. There are several sliding doors on the enlcosures that lock the animals in the holding cages whilst we clean them. There are others that help seperate and segregate the animals when needed, it was one of these that seperated Fang and Nala that Nala managed to ram completely out of the sliders and flatten to the floor so she could get to Fang. It took a while for us to seperate them again and lock them between different doors whilst Liam got in and put the door back on its runners, we will have to see how long it holds. There now needs to be two doors seperating Nala from us, just in case......
When we had done we went to collect Tat the tiger cub for what we had been looking forward to, walking her down to her day enlcosure. She is so much easier than she used to be and she pratically ran the whole way, meaning we needed to run to keep up. It is really too hot to be running. Sometimes though she would give us a rest and walk and even stop but it would not be long until we would be off again, Tat chasing the rustic bottle toy we have made for her to chase. We got more or less all the way until she saw a hose pipe and decided that was more interesting and set to chewing it. It is really hard work prizing something from the jaws of a tiger if they don't want to let go, especially without getting bit in return. Liam tried for a while wrestling with her and flicking her nose but she was having none of it. Eventually Toi the lady who looks after Blue came to help and we managed to get her off, there is just a rather large leak in the hose pipe now.
The rest of the day we just sat with the cubs, it was really nice, Chelsea took more responsibility of Latte the leopard and Liam did Tat but we both helped each other out and took turns with the feeds. Latte is a crazy kitten, she loves to play and can jump well over a metre. Chelsea managed to get a little cuddle from her though with no bottle sat on her knee which she was iver the moon with as she is not a cuddley cat. Tat has mellowed a lot, she really likes play and likes be around people. She is not as afraid as she used to be and it boisterous and stunning looking. They are not as easy as last time we we were here, they are so big and fast and you can not go in the enclosure safely without some kind of distraction, like food or a stick or toy for them to bite rather than you. Luckily we got through the day unscathed. Whilst watiching the cubs we started work on our fundrasing idea for the park and in particular the big cat enlcosue. We are thinking of setting up a 'Adaopt an Animal' scheme like most zoos where customers will be able to adopt there favorite and it will go towards, toys, food and new enclosures. We have just started writing personal profiles for the animals and species fact sheets.
In the evening Chelsea was not overly fond of the dinner on offer so we had a trip into the real world and visited Tesco in the town of Bo Phloi, for her to get somehting. On the way we stumbled across a place selling pizza so obvioulsy Chelsea wanted to go there. It was a small place making homemade pizzas, the staff spoke very little english and Chelsea said she would have anything but ham and pineapple and agreed on chicken as that is the only english owrd the lady knew. Of course she then got an ham and pineapple pizza. Liam ate all the chunks of pineapple. We sat there with a beer talking on our own and it was nice to get away for an hour or so. We then carried on to Tesco to get some supplies we neeeded before heading back.
Today has been less eventful. The clean up this morning ran smoothly and Nala didn't break anymore of her enclosure. The leopards all have different personalities, Fang is really grumpy and does not like anyone been too close,especially Liam and will growl constantly. Nala is friendly and will sometimes come up to the bars and rub against for attention. She did so this morning and Liam spent a while just stroking her through the cage. Coffee is the craziest of them, he is so playful and will run around the cage following you. We really enjoy working with them, and we prefer them to the monkeys.
Tats walk was a real treat again, she was even faster than yesterday, We got all the way and nothing was chewed. She came close to giving Liam a nasty bite on the leg when we first let her out of night enclosure but thankfully we were a little faster than her and managed to scruff her and get out of the way before any real damage could be done. Today we had Mocha the leopard rather than Latte, they have swapped them for a reason we are not too sure of. Mocha has not been in the bigger day enclosure for a while and was going crazy running around and jumping. He was not even bothered about feeding at first he was so excited. Although he is so big now and more of a leopard he stills likes to have his belly rubbed, and Chelsea loves doing it every chance she gets. He lays upside down on her knee while she strokes his belly. It is adorable. Another milestone of today, Liam got his first ever chuff from Blue, the big adult tiger. It was awesome and he repeated it when Liam mimicked the chuff back. It is really good to see that Blue still has something in him after so long chained to the table.
This evening we have done nothing.Chelsea skyped her family but it has been too hot. At one point today it was apparently 49 degrees. It certainly felt it and there is no let up in the evening. Danni and Adam are now back so it is back to the monkeys for us tomorrow. It is a shame because we really love the big cats. We are going to ask if we can do it more often whilst we are here.