Archive for February 2011

Thailand Animal Resue Centre   Leave a comment

I once went to Thailand to work as a volunteer at the Animal Rescue Centre, which is near to Hue-hin & Cha-am. On arrival at the airport I could not find anyone to meet me, so after some haggling took a taxi to the centre. It took approx one hour with the driver having to stop several times to ask for direction before we finally pulled up at the centre. The centre was founded by a Dutchman named Edwin Wiek, who runs the centre with a small permanent staff and a varying size group of volunteers who come from all over the world with ages ranging from 19 – 73.  The centre was founded in 2001 and built on ground generously donated by Abbot of the Kao Look Chang temple who is very supportive of the rescue centre. Since then it has grown into the largest animal rescue centre in Thailand. There are over 350 animals at the centre including, Sun Bears, Asiatic Black Bears, Gibbons, Lemurs and Macaques. There is also a separate section for elephants that have all been rescued from walking the streets while being used as tourist attractions. Many of the animals at the centre have a variety of defects, due mainly to being given an incorrect diet when young, with others being rescued from owners who could no longer handle what was once a small cuddly pet. The centre is not one where you can hand feed or stroke the animals, as the intention is avoid human contact as much as possible so that many of them can later be released back into the wild. The work at the centre was split into small groups of volunteers and varied every few days. Some days were much harder than others, especially when it was time to help clean out the various pools that the animals had. This work involved first draining the pools, then getting down on hands and knees and by using wire brushes scrubbed the pools clean. One day our task was to clean out Miaow the only Tiger at the centre enclosure and pool. Edwin had rescued Miaow from a life of being chained up outside a petrol station. Unfortunately it was not fed the correct food when a baby, which resulted in him having a badly deformed spine. This caused him to walk in a very lopsided way and it was painful to watch him walking in such an awkward manner. Before we could go in to clean his enclosure one of the Thai staff first went in to get Miaow into a separate side enclosure. All was going well with Miaow walking slowly towards the side enclosure with the Thai walking a short distance behind when suddenly Miaow stopped, turned around and faced the keeper. Seeing Miaow suddenly turn to face him, the keeper immediately ran to the fence where he leapt up and quickly climbed to the top. We were all shocked at first then we noticed that the keeper was sitting on top of the fence laughing. After a few minutes, the keeper climbed back down into the enclosure, this time Miaow walked into the side enclosure and we were able to go in and clean out his pool and enclosure. Shortly before I left the centre, Edwin who is the only person that Miaow trusts, walked him on a chain just like a dog on a lead, down to a very large newly constructed enclosure. One section of the centre is laid out in the jungle with cages of Gibbons & Macaques set up among the trees. Twice a day the volunteers prepare food for the animals in the kitchen, then took it out and fed them. Many of the Gibbons & Macaques were fed by lowering their empty food containers via a rope and a pulley, filling them with prepared amounts of food then hoisting the containers back up to the cages.

Set among the animal’s cages was a very large covered enclosure of various rescued birds that included a Hornbill named Rodney. Rodney had a habit of diving at you while you were inside cleaning out the enclosure, so a hard hat was at hand to wear if you felt it necessary. I did not usually wear a hard hat while cleaning the enclosure as normally Rodney did not bother to attack me. But during my last time of cleaning out his enclosure he seemed to know that I was going to leave, as twice he flew down and caught the top of my head with his talons as he swooped down over me. It was only a scratch as I ducked as he passed over me, but it made me remember that one should always be careful when dealing with wild creatures. Some people think it strange when they hear that you pay to work as a volunteer with wild animals, but to me it’s my way of giving something back to nature.

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Posted 13/02/2011 by Tigerman in Uncategorized

SanWild Rescue Centre SA   Leave a comment

Volunteer work with wild animals

Posted 13/02/2011 by Tigerman in Uncategorized

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Posted 13/02/2011 by Tigerman in Living in Turkey