Why you should never pose for a photo with a wild, chained animal.
01.04.2013 - 03.04.2013 43 °C
Monday was extremely hot. We both cleaned out the monkeys and had breakfast and then the whole team set to work on a run for the dogs. We now have seven dogs and at night they get really protective and chase motorbikes. We are scared as often they have children on them and it scares all our neighbours so we have decided to make them a pen to put them in at night. This has being ongoing for a few days but was unfinished so we all set on it to finish it in one day. We got really close until the electrics in both extensions broke so we had to stop. In the afternoon Chelsea went down the the cages to do the usual seed scatter. Usually Tat and Ned do it but they were both busy. She fed all the monkeys there seeds, got trouble, our langur monkey a new tree to eat and made sure all the water bowls were still full. King Kong likes to stand under the hose and have a shower. Chelsea has never done it and it was really lovely. He stood under the hose and drank loads of water and then sat underneath, changing sides at one point for a shower until he got fed up. We then worked on our adopt an animal scheme, making profiles for each animal and their personalities. Monday night we had an English lesson. Danni prepared a lesson on music so we taught the words of some instruments and they made some shakers out of toilet rolls, coloured paper and seeds. The kids really enjoyed it and we all played out instruments, a harmonica, drums, shakers and whistles.
Yesterday was a nice day. In the morning Liam look our new volunteer, Brandon on cubs. We only have Tat the tiger cub down there at the minute but he really enjoyed it. Liam taught him how to feed and go into the enclosure. Liam has a beautiful relationship with Tat. He is only one of a couple of people who can pick her up and he goes into her enclosure with ease and she is totally comfortable. Brandon thoroughly enjoyed it and was really enthusiastic and confident with Tat. Chelsea went into the Jungle in the morning with the rest of the team. The safari is surrounded by jungle and rivers that's all connected with a trail for the boy scouts. It is really beautiful and we were on the look out for nice big logs for Coffee, the adult male leopard we are next upgrading and for any fruits we can research to feed the monkeys. It was a lovely morning, walking on the trails, crossing the rivers on rope bridges and talking. We have found a beautiful tree that over hangs the water that would make an amazing tree house so we are thinking it would be a good place to come and have time off to relax. In the afternoon Liam went onto sourcing logs for Coffees new enclosure and Chelsea went on cubs with Brandon. After Liam had done he came back down to cubs and we all sat in her enclosure. She is quite big now so a lot of people are nervous to go in with her but she is adorable. If she stalks you or tries to bite all you have to do is tell her off and she backs off and cuffs at you.
Toy, the tiger keeper has been having some personal problems so as well as cub sitting today Liam was left in charge of Blue, the full grown male tiger for a few hours. Everything was fine for a few hours until he gave him some water. Normally you give him a bowl and when he is finished you take it off him but he became really possessive about the bowl and would not give it back. He was rawing and snarling at Liam and it was scary.
At night we had a few beers around our fire pit and had some laughs and talked. It was a nice end to a nice day.
Today Liam has being sourcing more logs for Coffees enclosure. They are extremely heavy so it took a lot of people and effort to cut, drag and load them on the pickup. In the afternoon he managed to finish the storm shelter for King Kong we started so hopefully that will be in soon.
Today Chelsea has been in Kanchanaburi town all day. We have decided that one volunteer needs to be down near the bridge over the river Kwai as they have been taking Mocha the baby leopard cub down there for people to pay to feed him. Two days ago they started taking Latte instead and she was totally distressed and would not eat anything all day or settle or stop crying. Yesterday Danni and Talei went with her but today Chelsea went. They basically chain her to a table all day in town and insensitive tourists pay to have a photo with her or feed her. Chelsea absolutely loves the leopard cubs as she has raised them since the first day they were put under our responsibility so she found it really hard to watch or be involved in this in any way. Danni and Talei had complained that it was boring in town so we decided to share out the responsibility but Chelsea just found it really sad. Tourists seem to forget about the chain and how morally wrong it is when they see the beauty of the cub. At every opportunity Chelsea got she was talking to tourists, telling them about the volunteers and explaining about Latte. She was really upset and shocked about how little some people care. Some people just want that photo with a baby cub, they don't care about the implications of there actions. Only a handful of people asked about how wrong it was and Chelsea managed to sell one print of Lattes paw to raise money for her enclosure and one man has promised to come on our big cat day programme. Standing at the bridge all day explaining how wrong it is to have a photo with the baby is extremely hard. Telling people you work with the people who do this is even harder though.
If Latte and Mocha stays chained to the table they will be there, their whole lives until they get sick enough to take them off. Not only is it distressing and morally wrong but it means there muscle tone won't develop properly and they won't be able to walk easily when they are older. They will be kept on milk so tourists can feed them and they will be lacking in vitamins and they will be deprived of a normal free life, playing and running aroound in the safari. The more people who pay for a photo the more money it makes and the longer they will be chained up as money makers.
When Chelsea got back to the safari she was really down about the whole day. She spent most of the day calming and stroking Latte and making sure she was being looked after correctly. We have got the next two days off so packed straight away and left. We skipped the evening monkey feed, came straight into town, and have gone to Pong Phen, the gorgeous guesthouse with the pool we have stayed at before. We went to our favurite Italian and had a really good meal and a beer and had some drinks on our balcony. Hopefully Chelsea will be able to stay away from Latte at the bridge on our day off tomorrow, attacking tourists who want to encourage her being down there.