03.02.2013 - 03.02.2013 35 °C
Today has been quite challenging for both of us. This morning Chelsea took Dean to the giraffes and introduced him to Lung Noi, the keeper. We did our usual feeding and it is nice to do such a relaxing job first thing in the morning at 7.30am rather than cleaning up monkey poo like all the other volunteers. When we had finished we went down to the monkey cages and helped them finish up with the cleaning and feeding. This morning Liam and Mike were on cub duty. They picked up the tigers at 9am and walked them down to the front. Neither of them wanted to walk today and refused to move until Toy, the lady who looks after the big tiger on the table came to help. They love Toy and will follow her anywhere.
After breakfast Liam and Mike stayed with the cubs, Liam on tigers and Mike on leopards. Chelsea was worried as Mike is big and quite heavy handed with them and has never done it before but trusted Liam to have it under control. Liam was totally run off his feet all morning as he had to look after both pairs of cubs and babysit Mike as he didn’t know how to make bottles, clean up or just generally anything to do anything except play with them and the cubs couldn’t settle because they were so revved up.
Meanwhile back at the monkeys Chelsea, Tat, Ned, Dean and Jen were tasked with deep cleaning Laura, one of the monkey’s cages and getting all new toys and furniture in there before lunch so she didnt become stressed in the holding cage. Laura’s cage has not been cleaned out for more than ten years and her holding cage door was broken. Dean fashioned a door out of bamboo to keep her in the back and we all set about cleaning. It was totally disgusting, green slime, poo and urine was everywhere. Not even her water bowl has been cleaned out in ten years so that was mouldy and green. We cleaned all the walls and floor and took everything out as it was all horrifically dirty. After hosing off ourselves also as we were covered in mould and poo the boys put everything that needed to go in the cage inside and the girls collected substrate leaves for the floor as Laura is a foraging monkey so likes to pick through leaves to find her food and seeds. Inside we have put a big tree to climb, a new tire swing and a platform to sit on. When we let her in she was talking loads, she makes this really cute squeak noise when she is happy. It was great to see all our hard work pay off and it’s a great feeling when you finish. Laura’s is the last monkey cage to be cleaned and they now all have nice enclosures so it is a real achievement for the volunteer programme.
We arrived at the cubs for lunch a little late as we wanted to finish Laura and get her in before we ate. It was a little manic at the cubs and Liam was stressed as he had made every bottle and watched both pairs of cubs with the tourists. He had timed the feeds so they worked around lunch but as we were so late the cubs were hungry and on edge. As we all pulled up Mike was talking and one of the baby leopard climbed up the cage and was just about to jump from a big height when Tat shouted him to get it. She was really angry as if it had fallen it would most defiantly have broken some bones if not worse and made Mike get out and Chelsea get in. Chelsea was a little concerned that she had just deep cleaned Laura’s cage and the leopards aren’t vaccinated yet so she covered herself in alcohol gel as they are really sensitive to illness and bacteria.
Me and Liam spent the afternoon at the cubs and broke the record for the amount of money made on their in a day with 11 customers. The cubs calmed down and Liam today has amazingly being able to bond with the female tiger cub. She really doesn’t like anyone except Toy and snarls and tries to bite if you approach her but today Liam has slowly built up a slight bond so he could sit with her and stroke her. It was amazing. The baby male tiger cub is still his favourite and he spent the afternoon playing with him and the water bowl. He likes putting his feet in and being splashed and loves it if you wet his head and stroke him. He looks adorable all wet and ruffled.
Today it was Hang Heng the big tiger down there again on the table rather than Blue as he is still sick. When it was time to leave he freaked out and didn’t like the chain that secures him safely to the pickup truck they transport him in so the driver just walked him on a lead onto the van. It was extremely dangerous and scary as he is very unpredictable and playful and even Toy refused to help and backed off and made her little girl Ming get inside the leopard cage for safety with Chelsea. We could not believe our eyes as we were sat right next to him and if he wanted to he could have easily escaped.
English class tonight was really fun. They all arrived early and found us down at the monkeys so Chelsea went and got our resources and sat with them. Their English is getting great and they could even name all the colours in one of the little ones pencil case, even the obscure ones like violet. We decided to learn them verbs today so started with words like run, walk, swim and jump to get them moving around. One of the little boys is really cleaver so we got him up at the front to act as the teacher and we fired verbs at them and they had to put them into actions so they were all running around and laughing. We then went on to words like shout, whisper, cry, laugh and we had another game of duck, duck, goose but used the words, cry, cry, laugh. It’s crazy how much they love duck, duck, goose. Every lesson they want to play it and any new children who come to class know how to play so we think they might be playing it outside school as well. By the end of class all the children as well as us were tired out as we had been running and jumping for an hour. They have learned loads of new words today from playing so we can’t wait to test them tomorrow and see if they remember them.