The week started off by welcoming 4 new volunteers! Three are working on the primate project and are currently at Fireburn reserve hanging out with the released howlers, the last is my newest helper who will take over looking after Twiggy after I've finished here. I spent the first few days showing Jess around and introducing her to Twiggy. We then took the shifts together to get her accustomed to the day to day routine of things. With Jess, myself, and the occasional help of Shawn it has become a lot easier to let Twiggy out in the lagoon for larger amounts of time; allowing for her to graze longer and eat more sea grass! Good stuff all around.
Wildtracks has acquired three new animals this week! 1 owl, 1 kitten, and 1 new howler monkey. Shawn has taken the owl under his wing (punny!) Paul and Zoe are assessing the howler and myself and Ashley are taking responsibility for the kitten. I've named the kitten Puma because it's awesome. It was found by a family on their front porch; having a language barrier we were unable to explain that the mother will probably come back for it; it being two weeks old it relies on us to syringe feed it 10 cc's of formula every 3 hours (makes for long nights and busy days!).
This week also consisted of Twiggy's check up! A team of scientists came over from Florida and took blood samples, measured her weight, fat levels, as well as length and girth. It was really cool to watch! I stood by with a bucket of water to keep Twiggy hydrated as they explained what they were doing. I was also there to help restrain her tail, the most dangerous part of the manatee; she was trying very hard to flip us away and it took quite a bit of muscle power, and to help roll her over (quite stressful)! To do all of these things we had to catch Twigatron, put her in a sling, and lift her out of the water! It. was. awesome.
I also took part in one of the most important days of the month.....POOL SCRUB DAY! Can you say par-tay? Okay, it really wasn't that exciting, but I felt like a beast removing all of the delicious fungus from the pool walls and floor. It is important to keep the pools clean and filled at all times in case a stranding occurs, this way Wildtracks will be ready for the animal and can begin to make the manatee comfortable.
I never got around to publishing this so I'm going to add my final 4 days into this blog.
All 4 days ran reletively smoothly. The three volunteers came back from Fireburn to relax and do some data analysis, so it was nice to have a good amount of people in the main house. Twiggy has been enjoying her 8 hour days and we decreased her formula/water ratio from 200:400 to 100:400 and she's taken to it just fine. Puma is growing stronger and becoming more active; when I'm not out with Twiggy I'll be letting the kitten run free for a few hours and feed it its 10cc's of formula. During the week it peed on its own without any stimulation, which was new and great news.
It was sad to say goodbye to such a wonderful group of people and an amazing experience; I felt as if I was leaving home instead of going back to it. The journey went well; we had to chase down my plane in a pick up truck, but it ended up seeing me and turning around so it's all good :) I got to enjoy my last few hours on the beach of San Pedro and soak up my last bit of sun before coming back to Chicago (where it's cold and cloudy! what is this non-sense?!) and have had that one Madonna song stuck in my head ever since (last night I dreamt of San Pedrooooo!!). Anywho, I hope you all enjoy the rest of your internships; I can't wait to read all about them.