A Travellerspoint blog

Cub training at the safari.

sunny 46 °C

As of yesterday we have been in Asia five months. It has gone extremely quickly and looking back and reading this blog we have done alot but there is still so much we want to do. Here at the safari park several volunteers are stil away so we are continuing to look after the big cats and cubs.

Wednesday and Thursday we were both on cub duty. The days started with the clean and Chelsea got to take one of our new volunteers to see the giraffes. No matter how many times she goes to the giraffes she still loves it. The leopard clean is so much easier than the monkey clean, and most mornings we are finish around 8.30. This gives us time to pay a quick visit to the leopard cat in the jungle to re supply food and water and then go to the night enclosures on safari. We have been doing this for a couple of weeks now just checking whether all the cats are getting equal turns on safari as they can not all be out at the same time due to fighting. It has soon become obvious thought that this is not happening. We have had a meeting with the boss and the keepers and they have provided solutions to give all the big cats enrichment and excerise time.

The cubs are continuing to improve, the training is coming along well and they are both getting calmer. The only problem we have now is just space. The leopard can jump out of her enclosure and the tiger is too big for hers, it is becoming dangerous to have two people and the tiger in there. Giving Tat the tiger a shower is always one of the highlights. She loves the water and she sits under the hose, playing with the water for ages. She lets you rub shampoo into her and wash it off and its so nice watching her enjoying herself. As she loves it so much we are classing it as a form of enrichment for her so we are not going to do it very often, just so she still enjoys it and it is still novelty for her.

On Thursday night we finally had the BBQ that had been postponed earlier in the week due to rain, The ckicken was the only thing that did not survive. We sat outside with the fire and cooked ribs and a huge catfish stuffed with lemon grass and spices. It was delcious severd up with the curry that was cooked for our dinner by the restaurant staff.

Friday we had a bit of a change. Chelsea took one of the new volunteers on cubs and Liam helped the rest of the guys building. Tat the tiger is so bored in her enclosure that she often just runs in circles. We sit in there all day with her but the only thing she has to play with is her wter bowlwhich she often smashes. Since the death of her brother the owners have been very reluctant to give her any toys or anything in her enclosure at all. We managaed to explain that she needs toys and natural materials in there so she is less bored. We have introduced enrichment and gave her a coconut in the morning to play with. She loved it and she chased it round for hours trying to bite it. When the novilty wore off and she became boisterous again we gave her a frozen ball of ice cubes. She had loads of fun smashing it all up and licking it.

We have decided to build a new enclosure in the jungle for our leopard cat and for any future possible releases we do. The current one was thrown up out of necessaity and is not really practical. We currently have a welder here so plan to get as much out of him as possible as he is the first welder to volunteer. We are planning to make the enclosure alot larger and fit a proper holding cage so we cat safely access it to clean. Liam realy enjoyed helping. it was very scrapheap challenge as we salvaged metal from old stock piles and rusted flat bed trucks. Liam just helped holding and carrying while all the metal cut up and grinded to size. Thailand is not a country for PPE so we had to make do with sunglasses for sparks and ear plugs made of tissue paper. Flip flops are also not really appropriate footwear...

The main incident we have had this week happened in the afternoon. We have a tour guide who often brings small groups of tourits just to have a photo with Blue on the table. These tourists do nothing else in the park, usually we just ignore the samll group but yesterday the tour guide brought a coach of 50 people. It is a massive step back for us if this tour guide can continually bring this number of people to have a photo with Blue. If Blue is making this money he would never come off the table. Tat tried to speak to the tour guide about alternative programs that the volunteers have set up in order to remove Blue from the table and the guy was not interested. He said he did not care, and things got heated quickly and Tat got upset. This has disheartened the whole team. It remains to be seen whether the guide can bring this number of customers consitently.

Last night was also a nightmare. One of our puppies George, got a prolapsed penis. Everything wsa out and inverted and twisted he was in a lot of pain. We made several attempts to push it back in while restraining George but the swelling some became too servere. We conntated a remote vet we have and he thankfully replied quickly. We had to give him anti inflamatory meds, wait for these to kick in then after a cold compress to further reduce the swelling force it back in while ignoring the screams of the puppy. It became drastic as the vet said the puppy could go into shock if it did not go back in and then die. It took us until 1 am but we managed to get it back in. We do not know however what the after care will be like and how long until the risk of it happening again has passed. We do not know how it occured this time.

Today we were all a little tired after last nights drama. The clean passed in a bit of a blur. Then we got more bad news, the flat bed truck we had taken apart yesterday for the leopard cat enclosure was not scrap and has to be put back together. This despite it being in terrible condition. We spent the morning welding back together all that we had cut up yesterday. Again Liam is no welder so he was on holding duty. Chelseas was on cubs again. The cubs are making real progress after working with us so closley. We are trying really hard with them and we think you can tell in their behaviour. Latte the leopard cub used to jump up to play and bite but now she is very calm and if she tries to jump you just show her your index finger as a telling off and she walks away. Wehave started to take customers back inside with no milk safely with her and she enjoys all the attention and affection. Someone is sat in her enclosure all day so she gets used to people ebing in there and does not react when we bring in a customer. She walks on a lead really easily and will even let you lay next to her and stroke her.

Tat, the tiger cub is more difficult than Latte but is doing really really well. In the mornngs she walks on the lead nice, even though she is quite strong. She just needs patience as she likes to have a sit down and a play. This is understandable as she has been in a metre by metre box all night so she is excited when she comes out but Toy does not have the patience and hts her bum with a stick until she moves. This causes her to be unpredictable and jump around as she is afraid and is really annoying when you are walking her. Her training is going excelent. We train her inside the cage now. We show her the clicker and say the command 'calm' and show her the palm of our and and she lays down. We then click and feed her while she is being calm. If she gets up we wait until she lays down again and then click her. This means she recognises getting a reward for being calm. Today Chelsea brought in a brand new volunteer into the enclosure half way through the training. Usually she would be up, trying to test them and dominate them but she stood up and went over to him and when Chelsea said calm she laid back down and stayed there. This is a massive step and it is obvious that she enjoys the training and wants to please us. During the day she had a mad half an hour where she wouldnt settle down and was bouncing off all the walls. Chelsea went in with some food and the clicker and she calmed straight down. She even eats meat from your hand. We are really pleased with the progress she is making and hopefully it will mean that she can learn several commands and we can safely take in customers when she is a really big cat. We dont hit her apart from an occational flick on the nose when she tries to bite as we are finding that having mutual respect between ourselves and the cats is working much more effectively. The only problem is Toy, Blues keeper. She regularly enters Tats enclosure to 'play' with her. This invloves revving her up so much that she is dangerous, hitting her and then leaving the cage becasu she is too 'crazy'. it is annoying as it is really detromental to our training as she is getting mixed signals. We always insist that any volunteers that go inside dont play with her as we are trying to encourage her to be calm, especially with our hands as when she is older this can be very dangerous. Also hitting her and dominating her is so different to the approach we are doing with her that it can cause her to be unsure how to act with humans. We called a meeting with the boss today to express our fears about Toy and her behavoiur with Tat as it really upset Chelsea. After all our hard work we dont want it to be jeperdised by someones urge to dominte and humiliate a tiger. We feel like if we dont get the training with Tat right we wont be given another chance to show the boss we can do it. Not only this but it is hard to watch someone really hit a cub that you have looked after for months.

In the afternoon we had a meeting with Joe the boss, we addressed what happened the day before and also that fact that Tat the tger is too big for her current enclosure. We proposed moving her temporarily to a empty cage by the monkeys until our big project of Big Cat World is complete. This would give Tat at least three times the space she has now. Joe said he would think about it but it sounded promising.

There has been a big step back with the tour group and the team is a bit shaken. The last thing we needed at this point when we are so close the getting Blue of the table 50 people turnng up to pose with him. We hope it is a one off, and we also hope it does not mean the Thai staff decide to leave him there. We need to come uo with a new strategy and try and bring more people in to do our ethical programs and making people think about what they are actually paying for when they take a photo with Blue.

Posted by Chelsandliam 07:45 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand volunteering kanchanaburi Comments (1)

Cub Sitting at the Safari Park

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As some of the volunteers have gone on holidays and visa runs we have had the last three days on cubs, it is great to be together back doing what we enjoy the most. We are respinsible for all the big cats at the minute, this includes the big leopards, the jungle cat and although we have yet to get the chance to do it, checking the night cages for the big cats on safari.

Sunday started with cleaning out the leopards. Each leopard gets a chunk of beef with multi vitamins inside but Sunday we also had to give them worming medication. Chelsea sorted out all the meds and managed to fit the massive dose of nine worming tablets into the beef. Once the clean was done and chicken carcasses left for them to eat, Liam drove into the jungle to feed out jungle cat. It is in an enclosure in the middle of nowhere so it can get used to its surroudings and be away from humans for when we hopefully release it. It is too young to fend for itself at the minute so we just visit in a morning and evening to feed and leave water.

Once this was done we went and did the cub walk. It was a difficult one as Tat was really not interested in walking, Liam is nice and patient and lets her get on with it at her own speed, Toi is less patient and is sometimes quite aggresive when persuading her to move. This scares Tat and makes her almost impossible to walk, it can be really frustrating. The rest of the day however was great. The clicker training is going really well, we decided after the morning session that Chelsea did, to move into the cage with her to see how calm she would be with the meat and also to see if you could hand feed her without bars in the way. She did really well and although she got up a couple of times we just waited until he laid back down before clicking and treating we are so happy with the progress we are making. She still needs to practive hand feeding though as sometimes she catches your fingers. In the afternoon we gave Tat a shower, she loves the water and we used the hose pipe on her and she was trying to catch and eat the water. We showered for a good fifteen minutes letting her play in the water and then Chelsea did the hard part of drying her without Tat eating the towel.

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Yesterday morning started rather differently as we got up at 6am to go to a morning market before work. We were a little delayed as our bike got a puncture but we borrowed Tat and Neds and drove 7km to Boh Phloi. The market was a usual crazy Thai market, we bought ice coffees, BBQ ckicken on a stick and then some fresh meat, chcken legs and ribs, and a huge fresh fish, the plan was to have a BBQ that night as we had new volunteers.

We had a pleasent suprise on cubs as we had both Latte and Mocha. This involved walking three cubs, one of which, Mocha hardly ever gets walked. As we thought, he went mental, climbing trees, constantly attacking Latte and at one point was on Tats back. He calmed down after a while and we got them all the way. It was a really great day, it was good to see the two loeaprds playing together again and Chelsea kept getting caught up in the middle of it and getting nipped by Mocha. Chelsea has been training Latte not to jump up at eople and it is going really well. if you point your finger and make a loud noise she backs off and has learnt not to jump. With Mocha in the cage though its a different story. They run around all day, jumping and playing and are too excited to do anything with. Latte still didnt jump but Mocha was crazy all day. The training with Tat keeps getting better and we both still have all our fingers......

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The BBQ that night never happened. We had the biggest storm we have had since arriving in Asia. Around three inch of rain fell in an hour and everything was drenched. Riding the bike on the dirt roads was extremely hazardous. Especially driving into the jungle to feed the cat. As if that was not enough when Liam finally got there, he found a huge elephant sat in his way. One of the mahouts had tied him up but not knowing how long the chain was and not fancing been rampaged by an elephant decided the cat will survive missing one feed.

Today has been another great day. After a long clean due to the rain yesterday we had an amazing walk in which Tat walked almost the whole way without stopping, a first. We had new volunteers down at the front all day and let them feed the cubs and go and sit with them. Thankfully no-one got bit although Tat gets really excited when anyone new enters her enclosure. Chelsea managed to get the leopards under some sort of control today and even managed to get a paw print from the both of them for her.

We are really happy being back on cubs and want to do as much as we can with them in the time we have. The training is going to be a great acheivement if we can pull it off so we are working hard on that and constaly researching in the eveinings on what might work. Chelsea is even thinking about training Latte with either the clicker or maybe a toy as she absolutely loves playing with her toys. We should have the cubs all to our selves for another few days.

Posted by Chelsandliam 07:09 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand volunteering kanchanaburi Comments (2)

Building and cub watching at the safari.

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Tuesday has been another nice day. Chelsea went on giraffes in the morning so she could get some photographs of them. They have these weird black markings on them as if they have a skin issue and one of the zebra has bad legs so we took some photos to get them diagnosed by a vet. Liam cleaned out the leopards this morning and then went straight on the cub walk and stayed on cubs all day.

After breakfast Chelsea and the rest of the team went litter picking in the jungle. Currently under construction is a tree house and some camping spots so people can come and visit and stay in the jungle so we needed to clear the area of all the rubbish. We didi that all morning and between us all managed to clear up the whole area. After lunch Chelsea went on monkeys, feeding them frozen watermelon in the midday sun and scattering their seeds. It's nice to go down in the day as part of a small group as the monkeys can be themselves when they are not stressed out by big groups of people.

Liam had a lovely day looking after the cubs all day. He went in with Tat as much as possible to get her used to people spending time with her without food or toys. He did some training with her and quite a few customers came in to have their picture with her. Late afternoon Liam and Talei were leaning on her enclosure and Tat the tiger bit Talei's arm. She wouldn't let go and Talei had to go to the hospital to get in checked out. Everything is fine, it's not very serious but she is definitely getting too big for her enclosure. She can almost jump out. While Talei went to see the doctor Chelsea helped Liam on cubs which was nice. We sat in with Tat together and Chelsea went in to feed and stroke Latte for a while.

After we all went to feed the monkeys their evening feed. We both feed our favourite monkey every night, Chelsea feeds Gramps and old macaque who is really nice to wo en and hates men and who loves Chelsea and Liam feeds Junior. He is really head strong and often quite afraid which makes him aggressive but Liam is working with him to bring him round. All the monkeys are lovley but we all have our favourites. Chelsea also got to feed buddy the baby owl after the monkeys. He eats bugs that everyone catches throughout the day but today we got him a little frog. He absolutely loved it and flew it back to his perch and ate it all.

Wednesday it was Chelsea's turn to go on the cubs with Danni. In the morning she went to the safari night enclosures as we are mapping which animals stay inside and which go out. There is meant to be a rotation so every animal gets to go on the safari so we are mapping this to check if this is happening. There are some really beautiful animals there and we are currently in the process of getting acces to this area to enrich and work with them. Chelsea's day on the cubs was great. She spent a lot of time just sat with both Tat the tiger and Latte the leopard as we are trying o get them used to people being around them. Currently they are very excited when people enter their enclosure so we are training with them and spending as much time as possible with them so customers can enter and it be safe.

Liam started building storm shelters with Dean, who was here when we first came, left to travel and and has just came back. He is a carpenter so Liam learnt alot working with him. We built boxes with wooden frames and then clad them with more barked wood to make them look natural. There is seven to build and we managed to do five of the the frames and clad one.

In the evening we had English class and did nature. We took the kids for a walk and gave them things to find and pick up to learn the English names for them. They seemed to really like the change to the classroom. Then we went back to a our normal setup for a recap and finished on a game. after we took a time out from everyone and went to the local village for a drink on our own, it was really nice to get away for an hour and talk.

Thursday and Liam was back on the cubs, the training is coming on really well. We are clicker training her so she recognises the sound of a click with a reward so eventually we will not have to reward for every behaviour we can just click and she will know eventually she will get a reward, in her instance meat. The first step is just hand feeding her a few chunks and clicking every time so she associates the click with the reward, this will carry on for the next few training sessions.

Chelsea spent the day with Dean making storm shelters for the monkeys. They managed to finish four which is a large chunk. Chelsea really enjoyed herself making the shelters and Dean is a really good carpentry teacher. They had to stop early as they ran out of wood but They got to go on an adventure in the back of a pickup to find more wood. There was a load inside the safari where the deer are but it has all been used so a wood finding mission will need to take place.

In the evening there was a big storm which blew away half of the Binturongs shelter and smashed a lot into the cage. It is made from asbestos so we can't clean it without the help of the Thai staff. Luckily they have a double cage so we were able to move them into their other enclosure.

Yesterday we both got a turn on cubs, Chelsea in the morning, Liam in the afternoon. This morning Chelsea got to give Tat the tiger a shower, she always loves playing with water and flicks it with her paw as it comes out the hose pipe. Towel drying her proved more of a challenge however. Her back and belly were no problem but drying her front paws was an issue as she just wanted to bite and play with the towel. The training continues to work, she will now sit calmly during her training rather than excitedly pacing the enclosure as before. We are really excited for the possibilities of the training, and hope to train her to do things that will help us work with her but also be entertaining to give us the option to have a tiger training show when our Big Cat World project is finally completed.

We also welcomed Adams mum from Czech yesterday. She speaks zero English and is really nice and brought us all some Czech food. In the evening along with our Thai meal we had sour dough bread, salami, cured sausages, pate and onion. It was a real treat and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Today Chelsea was on cubs all day and took two of the volunteers who had not had a chance to meet the babies yet. We walked them to their enclosure. Latte was a dream, she just walks nicely all the way. Tat was a bit different. For the first ten minutes she was so excited she was jumping all over and rolling around rather than walking but after that she was good and walked nicely the rest of the way. Both the baby girls have been really good and calm today. Having people sat in their enclosures all day and coming in and out is really helping to calm them down and not react when people enter. At one point Latte was laid down and Chelsea laid next to her and she wasn't reacting or jumping, Chelsea almost fell asleep it was so relaxed. Both the babies got a watermelon to play with today. They loved it. They were rolling around with them and biting and pawing them until they were totally destroyed. It was really cute.

We also got given two squirrels by a what seemed like a slightly crazy thai man. As a result Liam and dean have spent the whole day building a temporary cage to house them. The had to scavenge timber from around the zoo to build it with, most of which was dire and we had to remove staples, nails and remove rotten bits. The cage is 60cm x 100cm, more than big enough for two squirels and has been really problematic to build, mainly due to terrible materials and tools.

Tonight has been a quiet one, seven people have left today, most temporarily for visa runs, just leaving five of us. The morning cleaning is going to take a while tomorrow....

Posted by Chelsandliam 07:53 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand volunteering kanchanaburi Comments (3)

A Few Days Relaxing

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Saturday was a little different than usual for the both of us. In the morning Liam cleaned out the leopards for a change and then asked to go with Danni to see the safari park night enclosures. She has been going for a week or so, checking the conditions and if all the cats are on rotation and take a turn out on the safari. They can’t all be let out at once because there are too many and some of them fight, cats in the wild are mainly solitary, but each cat should take a turn out of the night enclosure on safari. Liam saw the leopards, which we honestly have too many of, then the lioness who has been kept out of the safari for a few days as we think she is about to give birth to cubs. Lastly we saw the tigers. There is one tiger called Diamond who is huge and amazing. He makes Blue at the front look small it was crazy been three feet away from such a huge animal and he was so calm and just watched us. Unfortunately though Danni has noticed that they do not all get to go out on safari. Another problem for us to work on.

The rest of the day Liam was on cubs with Dan. It was his last day so similar to Chelsea yesterday, Liam got him making paw print and even a 3D cast for him to take away, he got to feed all the cubs and even got to hand feed Blue, nervously putting chicken directly in his mouth. Chelsea had the different job of sterilising the common room with Tat as two of our dogs, Scruff and Deedee, have had operations to stop them having any more pups. We currently have seven dogs and it is a mad house. Chelsea’s main responsibility was to help Scruff with his recovery, he is really feeling sorry for himself so Chelsea spent the day just sitting with him and stroking him.

We had a treat for lunch; the kitchen staff showed the team how to make papaya salad. They prepped all the ingredients and then taught us. It was great, we had a pestle and mortar and threw in chillies, garlic, papaya, peanuts, lime juice, tomatoes, palm sugar and fish sauce and smashed it all together. Served with deep fried chicken and sticky rice it was delicious.

As we are staying on for free for longer we decided this weekend to have a couple of days off. We managed to get Sunday off with Danni and Adam so went from work on Saturday night into Kanchanaburi. It took a couple of attempts to get a guesthouse but once we were checked in we went straight out. We had pizza together for tea and Adam used to make pizzas for a living so asked the Thai lady if he could make the pizza we ordered. Chelsea wanted to help so Adam taught her, she made the whole pizza from scratch and then we ate it. It was really good and Chelsea loved it. We stayed out drinking until Liam was too drunk and said he had to go back. Overall it was a great night.

A long lay in helped with the hangovers and we were out for breakfast around 11am. We changed to our favourite guesthouse as they now had rooms and sat by the pool all day. Adam was really hungover and did not surface until 4pm but Danni and us relaxed and had a few beers. It was another of the volunteer’s birthday today so we met up with him and his friends and some of the team to celebrate. We all went for steak for dinner and then for drinks.

Monday Danni and Adam went back to Safari but we had the day off so sat around the pool again. It was really hot though so it was shade only for long parts. We left around 3pm and fitted in another pizza as it will be a while until we have another, and then made our way back. Our days off have been fun, we have spent a lot more than we should have but it was worth it. Our next days off will probably be just the two of us though so we can take it a little easier.

When we got back to the safari around dinner time, Tat and Ned had organised a BBQ for the team. We have spicy and lemongrass chicken, more damper, ribs, and red snapper. It was really good and made a change to the sometimes terrible Thai food we get at safari. We have not decided how long we will stay here for, we need to sort some things out. Our visa ends on 17th May so we will need to do a visa run to stay longer than that. That will mean a week somewhere outside Thailand, currently we are thinking Bali but we could go anywhere, Indonesia? Philippines? Laos?

Posted by Chelsandliam 07:51 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand volunteering kanchanaburi Comments (1)

So we are staying a while longer at the safari.....

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Tuesday we had a lovely day. As we are leaving very soon we decided to do some of the nice things. In the morning we went on the giraffe feed together. We helped Lung Noi feed all the giraffes and then waited for Sanapong. One of the zebras is really friendly and Chelsea has become attached to it. It is heavily pregnant and is due any day now but she loves to be petted and stroked. She likes behind her ear scratching. She is the only zebra that you can get near as all the others are too afraid and skittish. When Sanapong arrived we helped feed all the zebras and then went into the safari to feed all the deer in his little side car. After the deer Chelsea took Liam to see the bear and Liam was amazed. He is gorgeous and fluffy. He sniffs really loud and puts his paws up to the mesh.

After we had finished our feed we helped on monkey clean until 9am and then decided to walk the cubs together. Chelsea walked Latte, her baby leopard and Liam walked Tat, his baby tiger. Latte is really excited when she is walked, she runs and jumps and has a lovely time playing. Tat is super strong now so when she runs you have no choice but to go with it. Half way down we swapped babies for a bit. We can’t believe how big tat is now and we still imagine her as a little cub. She is beautiful now though and her coat is gorgeous.

We spent the day on the cubs together. In the morning we had customers who had paid to do the morning programme so we decided to bath Tat. We have a big concrete giraffe bowl that Liam cleaned up weeks ago but that she has only been bathed in once. She didn’t want to walk over so Liam picked her up and took her over. She was a little afraid of the water at first but Toy just put her in and she loved it. She was splashing around and playing with the water. It was unbelievably cute. When she had had enough she got out but she wouldn’t get dried so we had to wait until it was her feed and Danni towel dried her whilst a tourist fed her. In the afternoon Toy asked us if we wanted to get a paw print from Blue. It was such good fun. We painted his paw green and stamped it on the paper and managed to get a few good ones before he had enough and then we cleaned him up. The rest of the day was spent looking after the cubs. There was no big tour groups because of the holidays so it was quiet. We got to spend some nice time feeding and playing with the cubs.

After the cubs went back to their night enclosures we fed the monkeys and went for dinner. There wasn’t enough food but luckily we had supplies so we came home and made some sandwiches. We decided to take them to the dam and have a little picnic over sunset. It was beautiful, really peaceful and just us two with stormy skies

Wednesday was the official day of Songkran and we had loads of fun. Joe, the boss said we could borrow a safari bus to go into town for the day and join in the massive water fight. Me, Liam and Ned spent the morning making a little nest box for buddy, our baby owl. We didn’t finish it as at 12.30 the bus picked us up. We had lunch on the bus and called on the way into town to buy water fight equipment. We all got buckets. When we arrived into Kanchanaburi it was totally chaotic. The roads were closed and the streets were filled with thousands of people playing, singing and dancing. It was like a huge carnival with the added extra of water. The streets were lined with massive barrels of water where you could fill up your bucket and people had hose pipes, water pistols and buckets of water that were being thrown in every direction. As soon as we stepped of the bus a crowd of people gathered to soak us and within thirty seconds we were drenched and stayed drenched all day. People have this white paste that they smear on their cheeks to wish you happy new year so every metre people would stop you to wish you sawdee pee mai, happy new year and smear paste on your face. It was loads of fun and we spent all day playing and water fighting.

The bus broke down on the way to pick us up so we didn’t get back till quite late. When we got back a few of us went to feed the monkeys in the pitch black which was really scary as all we could hear was digs, the cassowary making his aggressive noise.

Yesterday was a slower day. Chelsea fed the giraffes, zebra and deer in the morning with a new volunteer and we all did the monkey clean and feed. In the morning Chelsea made loads of signs to try and stop tourists feeding the monkeys. As it is Songkran we have had lots of customers and as some of the monkeys put their hands out to people they get fed all sorts of things that make them ill for days. Chelsea has made a sign for every enclosure now so hopefully people will take notice. Liam spent his morning researching tiger training. There is a zoo in South America that brings its tigers up around dogs so they take on the temperament of dogs. This means people can go into enclosures with fully grown tigers and it is never dangerous as the tiger is trained as a dog would be and so behaves with the friendly temperament of a dog. Tat the tiger is now too big for her current enclosure. She is really playful and we want to try and train her. We think it will be good for her as at the minute she is bored and she would enjoy a challenge and more attention. We are going to try positive reinforcement clicker training so when she hears a click she gets a treat and she associates the click with food. After a while you no longer need the food and she will respond only to the click.

In the afternoon we started on an improvement for troubles cage. She has to eat a kilo of leaves per day which we pick and put inside her cage but if they go whisened she wont eat them so Tat has had the idea to make little bamboo vases around her nclosure that we can fill with water and keep the leaves fresh. Yesterday we started sawing and drilling the bamboo and wired it it her enclosure. Hopefully it will work. In the evening Chelsea finished the last of the adoption pack information as we are presenting it to Joe tomorrow.

Today has been an eventful day. Chelsea has been on cubs all day and took a new volunteer, Megan down as she is leaving soon and she wanted to do it one last time. She had a lovely morning. Latte didn’t want to walk this morning and had to be picked up several times but after five minutes Tat was bounding down the road with Chelsea running after her on the lead. They had their morning feed and Chelsea and Megan spent a lot of time in the enclosures with them. Tat is used to people only going in when she is being fed or played with so is really active every time she hears the enclosure gate open. This is really dangerous so today Chelsea and Megan have been going in as much as possible to get her used to people being in there just to be in there. It was nice and after a while she calmed down and they sat stroking her while she drifted off to sleep. Latte has been crazy all day, jumping around, biting and just being really excited. We managed to go in and get some paw prints off Latte and Megan kept them as a beautiful souvenir. Tat has been really scared of the paper and paint lately but we decided to try her and she was ok so Megan got to take home a paw print of Tats foot as well. It was a really nice morning and Chelsea also started the training with Tat. It is only the first stage so all you do is click and feed chunks of meat but she enjoyed it as it was totally different to her usual routine. Liam worked on Buddies little bird box with Ned and it looks really cute.

At lunch we had a meeting with Joe and we presented our adoption idea. We think he likes it and he has taken it to show his father, the big boss. He had never heard of it before but we explained that this happens in every zoo in England. In the meeting he also said that we could stay on as staff. We can now stay at the safari for free for as long as we want which is really nice of him. We are not sure how long we are staying but we are going to stay as long as we are enjoying it.

In the evening there was a surprise party for us to celebrate. Well it was meant to be a surprise but Toy asked Chelsea if the party was at the tree house of at our houses so it was given away a little bit. We had slushies and we had damper again which was gorgeous. It is little spirals of dough baked on the fire and covered in butter or honey. They were lovely and everyone came.

Posted by Chelsandliam 04:59 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand volunteering kanchanaburi Comments (1)

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