12.02.2013 - 13.02.2013 36 °C
Yesterday (Tuesday) we did our usual morning routine of cleaning and feeding the monkeys. It took us 3 hours to get it done so we missed walking the tiger cubs at 9am. Me and Liam were looking after the cubs all day again which we still love. The leopard cubs are still biting through every teat we give them when we feed so everyday we are covered in milk. We have been experimenting with toys for them the last few days. They really enjoy them. We have given them balls, rope chews and pull toys so they can play with us and each other. The tigers get really protective over theirs and growl when its time to take the toys away.
Blue, the big tiger chained to the table was not well or happy yesterday. He was sick and kept roaring at Toy, the tiger keeper and trying to get up. When they walked him to the pickup truck to take him back he could hardly walk and had to be pulled. It is really horrible to see such a gorgeous and powerful animal like that and the volunteers can’t wait when he can have his own big enclosure.
Whilst looking after the cubs, Chelsea managed to finish the tiger and leopard cub playground portfolio and has done such a good job she has been asked to present it to Joe, the boss .
We had English school in the evening and taught the children objects in a room and rooms in a house. They were extremely excited and wouldn’t concentrate; they just wanted to play games. We persevered and made sure they had learnt the words before we went onto games. A little girl who lives near where we have the class joined us. She watches the class ever time but is always too shy to come in, even when we go up to her or try to wave her over but today she participated. At first she wouldn’t speak and just looked at us when we asked her to say a word but by the end she had learned the words and would say them in English and was running around with lots of confidence. It was lovely to see her running around and joining in as it has taken us 3 weeks to persuade her.
Today (Wednesday) has been a little different for us as we have had a day off the cubs and English school. The usual morning with the monkeys took a while again as Wendy the binturong had managed to climb up to a high platform in her enclosure and couldn’t get down so we had to persuade her to climb down using boards to stop her falling off or going backwards so it took a long time as she is blind and afraid.
Wednesday is enrichment day. We concentrate on one animal and all think of ideas for the enclosure or toys we can build in a day. We concentrated on the adult leopards today and all decided on scent bags that will hang from the roof that the cats can investigate. Liam sourced/ stole some big hessian sacks which we cut up to form Huckleberry Fin style sacks. Me and Liam then went to find some fresh elephant poo to put inside as apparently the cats love to smell it out and rip through the bags. We went to the elephant area and the elephants were being cleaned by the mahouts. It was a gorgeous sight, the elephants were free with no chains and the mahouts were using hose pipes and brushes to clean them. One of the females was having inside her ears done and she loved it. We found some good poo and filled the sacks and attachd rope to them so we can hang them around the enclosure.
In the afternoon Liam cleaned out the binturong pool and Chelsea went on cubs as everyday lots of tour buses turn up around 3pm so more people are required to keep them under control around the cubs. We have got into the habit of warning customers that the cubs bite and it can hurt so when they enter they are more cautious and not as rough with the babies. It is funny when the customers come inside the enclosure and are really scared of the cubs when two minutes before they have sat on the table with the huge tiger for a photo.
Hang Heng, rather than Blue was chained to the table today as blue is sick and on ‘holiday’. Hang Heng is adorable and it is devastating to watch him on the chain. All day he wants to play and he paces and moves round and round. He roles on his back and likes to be sprayed with cold water. It is really hard to spend the day down at the front of the park with the cubs and Hang Heng as it is so sad watching him. He is only 18 months old so still acts like a cub. When they tried to walk him off at the end of the day onto the pick-up to go back he was not happy. He twisted and broke the chain and was extremely restless and they had to get pliers to get the chain off him as he had mangled it. All three volunteers that were down there took a big step back as he was very playful and stressed and it was quite dangerous however when they finally got the chain off he just walked onto the truck on a lead. It would be so nice to see Hang Heng in an enclosure where he could play and the thought of one of our cubs going on the table is heart-breaking. The cub playground needs to be finished in 5 weeks as that is when the tiger cubs will be too big to be at the front in their current enclosure.
Chelsea presented the design and portfolio for the playground to the boss today. He was really interested and asked lots of questions and his only concern was the cost. Chelsea assured him that the only big expense would be the fence as it has to be a minimum of 5 metres high and the rest we could build ourselves and source and recycle materials from around the park. He has taken the portfolio to look at in depth so fingers crossed we can start work soon and get both sets of cubs into nice big outdoor enclosures.
During all this, Dee Dee, one of our dogs has finally had her puppies. We saw them when they were first born and sat with her while she looked after them and go to hold and stroke them throughout the day. She has had 3 puppies, one girl and two boys and the girl is named Chelsea. The girl is healthy and really fat compared to the other two. One of them we think is too small to survive and looks like his back legs have not developed properly so we are trying not to get too attached to him. They are absolutely amazingly cute though and are as small as the palms of our hands.
Some scouts arrived today so as well as the enrichment, the cubs and the puppies we have had to man the monkey cages as the scouts insist of feeding them ice cream and trying to touch them which is extremely dangerous as they carry diseases and are extremely strong and could cause serious damage. We had to continually tell them to stop trying to touch and had to send a lot away from the cages. There are signs all over explaining the rules but they just ignore them. Some monkeys like the gibbons stick their hands out of the cages as they know they might get fed ice cream and the children can’t resist trying to touch their hands. There are hundreds of children so it is a big job to stop them from getting maimed by the monkeys.
There has been no English school today so we spent our evening relaxing and sitting with Dee Dee and her new puppies.