Another day at the Lion Park


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Africa » South Africa » Gauteng
August 13th 2009
Published: October 27th 2009
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It's been a fairly quiet day at the Lion Park. The most excitment I had was at breakfast since Purdy was still loose in the camp. I was sitting on the bench outside the kitchen when a large shadow passed over the material covering and rippled over the wooden posts of the fence. I looked up to see a giant giraffe's head silhouette looming over me before she got bored and walked off. Glenn soon came to join me and as the two of us sat there Purdy returned. This time she managed to find the entrance to the fenced off area and took a few steps inside craning her neck right into the raise seating area where we were having breakfast and peering through into the kitchen. We managed to dissuade her from joining us as she really is just too big. It's one thing having her stuck in our camp, but a giraffe in the kitchen would be a bit much!
I went up to Nursery for my morning shift and found Princess already there bottle feeding the white cubs. Glenn, Tara and I set about making breakfast for the other animals while the little cubs sucked and slurped on their milk bottles.
After the first shift Glenn and Tara left to visit a craft market. Apparently Carolina had given them permission to go but forgot today was also the day the five older volunteers were taking a day off to go on safari. The rest of us will have our safari trip at the end of our volunteer placement so we will not need to take time off during our placement (although we can arrange to swap shifts ad so on if there's anywhere we really want to visit). So with 7 volunteers gone there was only me, Em-J, and Iris working today! We were promised that the staff would come and relieve us from some of the shifts but it seemed we would be working solidly throughout the day.
I spent my first shift at cub world gate. It was very cold this morning. Usually by the first shift of the day it's starting to warm up but today it stayed cool for much longer. It also happened to be the first day I didn't bother to bring my fleece up to the park with me as I had a 9 'o' clock shift and wanted to be in uniform when the public arrived. I wish I had a lion park fleece. Some of the other volunteers have them but when I explored the curio shop I found they were running thin on stock and there were only L and XL sizes left. So I sat at cub world gate in my t-shirt, hugging the sunlight to myself and waiting for it to get warmer. I did a full two hour shift and then ran back to camp for an early lunch (and so I wasn't available if the staff decided to hand out extra shifts! I don't think I could stand sitting in one place for more than two hours at a time!) I did my washing and then took my lunch down to the decking by the tent and sat on the sun warmed boards with a book.
I walked back up towards cub world to take over giraffe duty from Princess and T-K. I somehow missed the drama of the staff getting Purdy out of our camp this morning. I suppose I was stuck to my seat on cub world gate at the time. Both giraffes were wandering about the main field again and I spent a relaxing afternoon sitting in the sun. The park has been relatively quiet today and I didn't sell that many bags of pellets. I did enjoy watching one family visiting the giraffes. I'm going to assume dad is a professional photographer or something because while I am used to seeing people with posh cameras here I've never yet seen little kids following behind with great big DSLRs round their necks too. Son and daughter were following along with dad and while the girl was happy to take the giraffe feed the little boy was weilding a massive camera and mimicking his dad's every movement. It was so funny to see him holding a camera that was really too big for his tiny hands and directing his sister on how best to model for pictures and how to encourage the giraffes into different poses with the promise of food. They left and gave me back the remainder of the feed so when there were no other visitors around I went to feed Gambit and Purdy and have a chat.
Fianlly just before 3pm Glenn turned up and said he and Tara were back and ready to take over our shifts. Glad to be free to move I walked over to cub world to see the cubs again. I found Em-J already taking advantage of being released from her shift early, as well as Emma, one of the members of staff. Emma was great fun to chat to. Her dad keeps lions at home (!) and so she's grown up handling lions. She's very good with the cubs and was happy to share a few tips with us. We have recently picked up the trick of finding sticks so when the cubs start to play rough we can shove it in their mouth and they can chew on the wood instead of us! We sat for some time talking and playing with the cubs. We ended up with quite a group of tourists watching us through the fence and taking pictures! I wonder how many strangers' photo albums I'm going to turn up in now!
We left the cubs as the staff swapped the visitors over to the enclosure we were all sitting in. I went up to find Tara still sitting at cub world and since I had feeding duty at four I asked if she'd like to swap with me so she could get off the hard seat and move about. She was happy to swap and I spent the last part of my day back on cub world gate. I assumed I ought to stay there until the park offically closed but there were very few people still around and Princess laughed at me when she walked past and saw me sitting alone on the chair with no-one around and told me I could go. So I got off work a little early and went back to camp to collect my washing in and get dinner. I passed Jen and Nicole who had just arrived back from their safari trip and were walking up to the park with large wooden giraffes under their arms. I asked them where they were going and they said they were headed to the kitchen to put their giraffes in the freezer! (I did later find out this is to kill off any woodworm and things living in the carvings!)
We gathered back at camp after dinner and lit a bonfire. We sat chatting into the night hearing all about the others safari trip, and looking forward to our own upcoming one before retiring to our tents (now sadly without a resident giraffe).


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5th November 2010

lovely, lovely, lovely
So lovely and cute. I do love animals. Lovely pictures. Love from Argentina.

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