06.02.2013 - 06.02.2013 34 °C
When Liam woke up this morning he was greeted in the common room by the news that Chelsea has extended our stay for another week. That will take us up to next Thursday. Liam does not mind at all and Chelsea obviously loves it to extend our stay without even telling him……
This morning’s clean out was slightly different as we were given the task of cleaning the Leopards. There are three leopards in enclosures alongside the monkeys, Fang, Nala and Coffee. Nala Is a female and we believe she was pregnant and due any day so her enclosure has not been cleaned for two weeks so as not to disturb her or remove her scent from inside. However we found out yesterday that she is so overdue we think it could be something else, possibly a tumour and she will need a vet visit. This for us meant there was a few days mess to tackle and it was bad.
Fang is an old male that has been abused and used to mate with Nala. He has been neglected and is in a bad way. He has an abscess and is in pain, his eyes are cloudy with dark rings around and he is very grumpy and aggressive when you go near him and enter his cage. We have been told he is terminally ill and needs to be put to sleep but being a Buddhist country euthanasia is not accepted, even in animals. He has started to look better in the time we have been here though, he has a better diet and has regular meds and vitamins sneaked into his chicken carcasses that are hopefully making him more comfortable. Unfortunately in Fang’s case it is too late.
It is not all doom and gloom on the Leopards though, Coffee is a young leopard that was originally on the safari but he was too playful and kept approaching the safari bus so he was taken out and put into an enclosure. He is beautiful and still playful, in a morning he will chase you around the perimeter of the cage and stand up and let you touch is face and paws through the mesh. We are planning on building a large enclosure for Coffee so he can run around, we have got funding and the space to do it, we just need to find the time amongst everything else that needs doing.
After breakfast the plan was to build some toys for the gibbon’s new cages, once Chutney and Mango are next to each other. We spent yesterday doing the planning so today was all about building. Chelsea walked the tiger cubs with another volunteer, down to their daytime play area; Liam went back to the common room to prepare all the builds. Chelsea was supposed to spend the morning with both the tiger and leopard cubs along with another volunteer, Jen. Not long after though Chelsea turned up to the common room to tell Liam to go down to the Tigers for a swap. He has been making real progress bonding with them both so Chelsea thought it would be a shame for it to be wasted and as the other volunteer can do nothing except sit a stroke the leopard cubs it is hard work down there. We really enjoy dong the cubs together as we are both comfortable with both sets of cats and will both make bottles and clean up but when it is one of us and someone else the workload doubles as you have to make all the bottles, clean, keep an eye on both cubs and the other volunteer as well as talk to the tourists. It is not ideal to have a volunteer down there that is only willing to do one set of cats.
This morning the park had arranged for three American ladies to attend a V.I.P park package which included the tiger cubs so after they were walked Chelsea put them in the pen instead of the leopards. They had not eaten and were scared of the three ladies and went crazy. Ned, the usually placid one would not even drink his milk and he bit one of the tourists so hard Chelsea had trouble getting him off. We did a quick change so they could play with leopards as the cubs were too distressed but they were crazy too as they had not yet being fed, running around, jumping and biting. We have decided that we are not letting anyone in with the cubs until they are settled and fed as it is dangerous for the customers and stressful for the animals.
Liam turned up after the customers and was not aware of what had happened and just turned up to find four angry cats roaming around. The tigers calmed down when they saw him, which is a good sign and a good feeling to know that all the time spent with them is starting to pay off. Liam took Ned for a walk so he could have a sniff around and run and then fed him his morning milk. After a while they fell asleep and everything was back to normal. The leopards calmed after their morning milk.
We smashed the record for most money made on the cubs today again and brought in 3700 baht. It was more or less an even split between the two pairs of cubs. The tigers are more difficult to have customers with as they are obviously stronger but they will try and bite literally anyone new so you have to be vigilant and they also ‘stalk’ and can pounce on you which can be nasty if you are not careful. Liam has got to a point now where the tigers will not bite him unless he pushes them too far; they seem to understand what they can get away with and how to play, it is great.
The day has been hard work as well though; Liam has made 16 bottles for the cubs whilst the other volunteer just sat playing with the leopards. Chelsea started to build one of the toys for the gibbons, a trapeze style log that we can drill full of holes to stick things in that the gibbon can eat, smell and play with. After lunch she joined Liam and the other volunteer down at the cubs and really helped with the workload by dealing with all the tourists as it takes a lot of effort to keep them under control.
Its our day off from English lesson, so the plan was to finish the monkeys early and go fishing with the team but a group of scouts are staying over in the park so we had to say by the monkeys later than we planned to makes sure no one fed them anything. The monkeys really love ice cream but we hate cleaning up the mess they make the next day and it makes them really ill. So fishing will have to wait until Saturday, our next day off from teaching.