19.02.2013 - 19.02.2013
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Today has been a hard day. We both woke up exhausted and fragile from last night’s jaunt into the village for beers. Tat and Ned came back this morning but we still had to get up at 6.30am to prepare the monkey diet. Chelsea taught Danni, a new long term volunteer how to do the monkey diet in between groaning, breathing heavily and sipping water to try and come round. We all went down to the cages at the normal 7.30am. Chelsea was useless and sat and watched Liam clean in between running off the bathroom until Tat laughed and told her to just go and sit down. Liam finished the clean, and did almost every cage. All the cages have been upgraded now and can be accessed so the morning monkey clean takes a long time.
At 9am Chelsea stopped pretending to clean and went to walk the tiger cubs. Since Toy, the tiger keeper is in such close contact with Blue and he has a fungal infection she can’t have any contact with the cubs which is hard for her as she adores them. When Chelsea arrived this morning Tat the female tiger had managed to gag herself with her collar and was really distressed so we think she must have been like it for a while. Chelsea managed to get it sorted without getting bitten but walking the cubs without Toy is hard going, especially when someone decides to varnish the narrow staircase we have to walk them down. Chelsea carried their chicken breakfast and dinner to lure them along and a nice Thai lady called Pinu helped.
Chelsea was down at the cubs on her own today. When she got their Toy told her that Ming and Arm, her children from last night could not stop talking about how much fun they had with us and were telling their grandparents all about us which was really nice. We are really happy the children enjoy our lessons as much as we do. Looking after 2 sets of cubs all day is hard work, especially without Toy. They get milk every two hours and the tigers also get chicken twice a day. They get extremely protective about their meat and even the bowl after the chicken is gone. Getting the bowls out without them trying to bite you takes some practice but Chelsea managed it today.
The leopard cubs were totally crazy aswell. They were trying to escape every time we opened the gate, they were jumping at full force when Chelsea entered and biting and scratching and were fighting each other also. Toy noticed and reckons that as Chelsea usually just looks after leopards and someone else does tigers they can smell the tiger cubs on her. Toy explained that if she spends time with the cubs and then with Blue he can smell them and doesn’t like it. Liam said that must be the reason they always bite him then.
Liam and the rest of the team today were working on Fang’s enclosure. He is a fully grown male leopard that is seriously ill. He has been used as a breeding leopard and as he is quite old has just been left in a concrete cage as the park assumes he will die soon. Danni and Adam designed a new enclosure plan for him with logs to climb and rocks and a table for him to lie on so today everyone has been building and installing Fang’s new home. It has been hard work, especially in the midday sun but they got it finished and let him in. He was so happy when we let him into his enclosure and rubbed his face on all the logs and used his claws on them. His mate Nala is in the enclosure next door so she will be the next one to get a re-vamp and them we can reunite them so they can share the two spaces which will be amazing. They groom each other through the bars and follow each other into the back or front sections so it will be a great sight to reunite them.
Chelsea has been ill all day and fell asleep a few times down at the cubs. When we were giving the monkeys their evening fed she went back to the bathroom and laid on the bed for ‘five minutes’ and accidentally stayed there for half an hour, missing the first half of our last English class which she was gutted about. We had a little party with them. We took in jam sandwiches, sweets and fizzy pop and played games. They are lovely and we will miss them but we think we will be coming back after we have done a little traveling.
Tat and Ned approached us today to ask if we wanted to come back. We have said we are but not long term as we don’t want to spend all our money here rather than see the places we planned. They have been having private talks and have decided to ask Joe, the boss if we could become long term, non-paying volunteers and become part of the core team that carries all the responsibility. We are happy that they want us to stay and are thinking about what we should do. Tat will be in touch with us while we are away to see what they have discussed with the boss.