26.01.2013 - 26.01.2013 37 °C
We were absolutely shattered last night. We are not used to all the work after the two months we have been on the road. Again today was a 7am start so we could clean out the leopards and monkeys, before feeding them. So we were in bed early to try and recooperate.
This morning we swapped roles, Chelsea took the leopards and Liam helped with the monkeys. It takes a couple of hours to clean up and feed them, and this is done every morning. There is one particular male leopard that is ill, the volunteers here think he is terminal and he certainly looks in a bad way. Unfortunately being a Buddhist country, they can not put the animal down, so he is suffering. It's hard to watch but we are doing what we can and giving him tablets in his food to try and make him more comfortable, as well as vitamins etc that he should have receiving for years.
One of the other leopards is called coffee and is absolutely gorgeous. He was originally in the safari park but he was too playful so they locked him in one of the small concrete cages. If you run around the cage he follows and his food gets attached to a pully system so he can jump around for it. He needs a much bigger and better enclosure.
Some of the team left today, and the two who run the volunteers went to Kanchanaburi for the day to meet new volunteers that arrive tomorrow. For most of the day there has been four of us working, mainly carrying on where we left of yesterday and renovating the monkey King Kong's cage. We were given a job each, Liam had to remove a mesh sheet that was attached to the roof of the enclosure and Chelsea had to build a tire swing to go inside. The other two finished off building the climbing rig that Liam worked on yesterday.
It was going well until we had our first incident. Liam was on the ladder on the side of the monkey enclosure, King Kong is a really strong monkey who sometimes likes to hold your hand and other times likes to try and rag it out of the socket. He kept coming up to see Liam on the ladder and he was staying out of reach, although he grabbed the ladder a couple of times. Liam was removing the mesh and was keeping a knife and small serrated blade in his pocket out of reach of King Kong, however he was also using a pair of small wire cutters that he forgot about when taking some rubbish away from the cage. Within five seconds of Liam leaving the ladder King Kong had the wire cutters in his cage. They had plastic handles which he managed to remove on no time and put in his mouth, all the time Liam was hoping he didn't choke so he wouldn't kill a monkey on his first volunteering job. After a while we managed to bribe the monkey into a small back cage where we could lock him in and retrieve the wire cutters. It was nerve racking but everything is now okay.
Meanwhile, Chelsea had done an amazing job building the tire swing. The tire sits flat and has holes drilled through it with rope coming through that is used to pivot the swing and tie it to the cage. Liam was very impressed, and Chelsea was really proud herself and got to use the power drill.
We managed to finish the enclosure today but he will not be going in it until tomorrow when all the team is back to see him. For the rest of the day we collected some seeds that grow in the area that the monkeys like to eat. We also collected some dried leaves and foliage for the cage floors and other small jobs. By the time we had done this it was time for the evening feed.
In the evening the monkeys are fed through the bars rather than hiding it throughout their enclosure like the mornings. We feed them with a stick rather than our hands and the trick is to not let them know what is coming next, as of they prefer it they will either refuse to eat what is on the stick or rip the stick out of your hand and throw it away. Chelsea then got to hand feed one of the binturongs, they are tame and the team are trying to train them to use as a symbol for the park rather than the chained tigers as they are rare and can be playful. There are two, Wendy and Sydney. Sydney is stronger and more adventurous but Wendy is blind. They look like a little old couple as they have grey faces and whiskers but have big sharp teeth so Chelsea was a little scared but also excited.
One of the highlights of today was the fact we have moved rooms. We were temporarialy in a unfinished room that had a squat toilet and no shower or sink, but now people have left we have moved into one of the nicer rooms complete with western bathroom.
Today has been another hard day and we are worn out, but we are enjoying it and are looking forward to seeing King Kong move into his new enclosure that we have helped build tomorrow.