Thursday, June 11, 2009

Greetings from Thailand!

Greetings from Thailand! I'm here at the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand in Phetchaburi, Thailand. I arrived here on Sunday, June 7th and got a tour of the facility. WFFT is not a zoo, it's rescue center that rescues wildlife in thailand that are being mistreated, especially for those who are trained for exploitation. The public is allowed to come in and visit but they will not be seeing animals that are in such good health, a lot of these animals have been traumatized.
On my first and second day here I was assigned to work with the bears. We started our day at 6:30am. Our first duties were to clean their enclosures and scatter their food about. The enclosures are made so that they are as close to being real habitats as possible--that is why we scatter the food around in places such as on top of climbing areas, in tunnels, or even underground so that the bears have to dig for their food.
On my third and fourth day (today) I was assigned to work with some of the primates. At 6:30 am, my group and I were assigned to do food preparations. This included cutting up the fruits for all of the primates and distributing them as needed. In Thailand, this can be one of the more hectic chores, only because it is so hot here and there are millions of flies around, and the food house, where the food is prepared, is their favorite spot to hang around. After that, the primate areas are separated into three sections, for yesterday and today, my group was assigned to the biggest area. Feeding the primates is a very difficult task, especially with gibbons, because when they see you coming with the food, they just want to reach out and grab it, and from personal experience, I can tell you that there arms are a lot longer than they appear! After they eat we collect the bowls, wash them, and then do it all over again in the afternoon. There are other duties that need to be done around the center, such as scrubbing the feeding stations, collecting garbage, and composting. The center has great composting system!
So far the experience has really given me a great insight to what my career path will lead me into. It's hard work, but it's very rewarding. We were shown a video when we first arrived about the rescue of one of the bears. Some of these animals had never seen trees or grass before. a lot of the gibbons spent years of their lives in cages that were just too small for them. All of the work I have done so far has been exactly what I expected it to be. Everything from collecting garbage, to observations, to food prep is going to help me get a head start in the captive wildlife care and education field.
Internet access is very limited around the area I am in, so blog updates will be minimal with no photos, but be sure to look forward to more updates from Thailand!
-Amanda Smith

1 comment:

Nicole Collins said...

Glad to hear you are safe and sound. To be having such meaningful experiences so early is wonderful. Thanks for the great update and please say hi to Amber.