Sunday 29th March
Life continues as usual at the wildlife centre.. I am now half way through my time here! Everyone told me that it would fly by and it has, in a way. Have also been feeling a bit homesick the last week, though.. quite a lot of volunteers have left this week/are leaving this weekend (end of the month), which makes me think about home and how long it will be til I am back there.
Have decided that two years may be an excessive length of time for my trip. So when I get to Aus, am going to change my flights (which I have to do anyway or I would have to come home after a month!) so that I have 71/2 months in Aus, then leave 21/2 for NewZealand. This will allow me not to lose the price of my flights. As much as anything, this is to make me feel better, by my trip not seeming unmanageably infinite. If I love Aus, I may well stay longer, and the same for NZ, if I want to do that, then I will just book new flights (which I would have had to do anyway as my ticket expires after a year).
Boring bit, over and done with! I have been doing mostly bear-work.. yesterday we gave them an enrichment, using big 'Kongs', just a bigger, more heavy-duty version of the ones we use for Jazz at home, with frozen banana inside. So cute! When we went to clean the bears on Thursday, noticed one of the babies had managed to de-claw himself, basically rip a claw off somehow.. not really a surprise as they are so boisterous and always trying to rip off the gates into their enclosure! So then had the luck to see the vet sedating him, to examine it and give him antiseptic and antibiotic shots... as he was coming round, was so adorable, laid out spreadeagled on the floor, dosy snoozy, just licking the ground, was so funny! Picture to come! Unfortunately the skin left may have to be amputated, as there is no real way to keep it clean/safe.
Have also done a couple of stints on Nocturnals, which were cool. For some bizarre reason, all the nocturnal animals (diff groups/species) have a SMELL in common, there is a musky scent that hangs around all of their cages, even the ones that are far away from each other. It's not unpleasant, but very noticeable. Think maybe it IS some kind of scent used to identify themselves in the dark?
Few interesting enrichments for the primates, too, including showing the macaques their reflection in a mirror, watch their various reactions, some did a 'greeting' face, others were unsure, a few were defensive and wary and a couple masturbated... the stump-tailed macaques decided to have group sex in reaction! Also played music to the gibbons, which made them calm down more than anything else.
Friday night, we had a 'bidder promises' evening, organised by one of the volunteers to raise funds for the centre.. each vol pledged to do something for the highest bidder, and we all bid for what we wanted done! Pledges included various massages, swapping duties for a day, taking on unpleasant duties, opportunity to shadow the vet nurse in the hospital for one day, having breakfast cooked for you, stuff like that. I pledged to bring the highest bidder tea or coffee in bed before work for 4days. It went for 90B, I started yesterday morning, 6.15am, woke Sarah, the girl that won it, up with a nice cup of tea! I wanted to win it myself, but oh well! Over 10,000B was raised (200pounds) to spend on enrichments for the animals.
Almost everyone here is so conscientious and hard-working. I thought about this and realised it is because they WANT to be there, to do the work. It's not like at work at home, where people are there mostly for the money, there IS no money to gain here, so people are purely here for the desire to do it. It's hard to keep up with, particularly at 2.30pm, when the sun is baking hot and you are tired and overheated.
The long-expected rain has not been much of an issue so far *touch wood*.. we had a few days with a few spots and the odd rumble of thunder, but not too bad.. the mosquitos/flies increased hundred-fold after what rainfall we had, though. I now have more bites on me than ever before scince I have been here.
One of my roommates, Virginia, leaves this afternoon and Lee-Anne leaves tomorrow, I have a new person in tomorrow, from the UK, then another next weekend.. will be strange!