Who’s idea was this anyway?

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December 10th 2008
Published: December 10th 2008
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This old fella had a note on his cage saying that he did not have many teeth, he just needed a bit of love and care!
Andy got up at 5.30 this morning and dutifully made me a cup of tea for 6.00. I jumped out of bed showered dressed, breakfasted and before long we were on our way to the Zoo.

We did not have to be there until 8.30 however we arrived at 7.30 in eager anticipation of the day ahead.

At 8.30 a young lady called Breeze came to collect us, give us our shirts and a brief induction, plus numerous documents where we had to sign everything away. We were met by Sarah who kindly took us to our various posts.

Andy was given the enviable task today of being on Koalas and me…. Oh dear I was on birds! Still I was not too disappointed it is the experience that counts.

We were given maps, so I was told to go down to the Wetlands and find a keeper, Andy on the other hand was whisked away in the other direction.

Down at the Wetlands I had to find a keeper, who then had to ask someone else, who then asked someone else before finally finding who I assume is the head keeper. Jess asked me to
Sleepy HeadSleepy HeadSleepy Head

Andy was talking to him about motorbikes which bored him so much he fell asleep.
wander further down the enclosure to find another keeper Luke who would give me some instruction for the day.

Luke was not in the enclosure, however I heard a great deal of banging and crashing in one of the sheds so I just waited until a young man appeared with a bowlful of seed.

Introducing myself, he was not entirely certain what I should do as he jumped over the fence and into the Emu enclosure, looking at me said “jump in, if you are not scared of them”.

Well I certainly was not going to be scared of an Emu, so looking at the fence and deliberating how I was going to climb over it with some sort of decorum. As most of you know how accident-prone I can be, I had visions that I would get to the top of the fence and then crash to the ground in a heap on the other side.

Fortunately I put one foot on the fence, found a grip then swung one leg over, then precariously I swung the other one over then thought, now what do I do? Sitting on top of the fence, I did

Just another picture.
manage to find another foot hold, spun round and climbed down.

It was not long before the nosey Emu’s came to see who I was. One of them being particularly nosey and started to nip at my arm and shoulder. Luke assured me that it would be fine; he was only interested in my sunglasses and not the feed bowl that I found myself carrying.

Not long after Jess appeared, and suggested that I may be better off cleaning the path of bird droppings, those selfish birds apparently sit on the fences all night and make a mess of the path. So I was despatched to the shed to find a brush and a watering can.

In no time at all I had walked along the path washed/brushed away any bird droppings and was then despatched to the rain forest Aviary.

It was really really hot by then, my hair was soaking with sweat and it went all “Monica” for those of you that remember that Friends episode.

Nothing much happening in the rain forest except to clean the path, that sounds familiar I thought. To me the jobs that needed doing were a bit
Deb GardnerDeb GardnerDeb Gardner

Andy really enjoyed his afternoon digging with Deb and talking about his passion for elephants.
of an afterthought rather than planned maintenance.

For such a multi million-dollar organisation, I was astonished at the lack of decent basic equipment. Such as a quality broom with enough bristles on to actually make a difference at sweeping the mulch off the path or a pair of gloves to weed a path or pick up any errant mushrooms growing in the enclosures.

At about 11.45 I was despatched to the food court, great lunch, you could be forgiven for thinking that. I had in fact to walk around and make sure that the white Ibis did not come into the food court and hassle the public. Interestingly enough he was not around for quite a while and about 5 minutes before I was due to go back to the enclosure, I saw a kerfuffle in a corner of the food court, yes, the White Ibis appeared.

I wandered over to shoo it away. If flew off, then waited a few moments on the opposite side of the path, before flying in again on a different part of the railings, all the while keeping an eye on me. In the meantime I made my way over to
Rebecca Ferris and TaffyRebecca Ferris and TaffyRebecca Ferris and Taffy

I will leave you to decide who is who.
foil his landing so he flew back to the opposite side of the path again.

Third time he tried it, realised he was not going to get anywhere and careered off course and into the appropriate enclosure where some seed had been put down for him.

I was really looking forward to lunchtime as I was meeting Andy. Not to mention that I was quite bored with the day really as there seemed no real plan of what to do with me.

Lunchtime came and I cheerfully went to get our lunch, that Andy had prepared earlier, from the ‘volunteer fridge’. Racing off to the foodcourt so that we could lunch together. However after 10 minutes I realised he was not going to show. So ate my lunch just like Billy No Mates.

I was hoping that the afternoon was going to be better.

Straight after lunch I was to report to the crocoseum to help with a show. “Crowd Control” was the order of the day. Kate gave me a walkie talkie and despatched me to work with Stuart, another volunteer of 2 days, and ensure that the crowd did not walk around during
Andy and TaffyAndy and TaffyAndy and Taffy

Andy seems to be making lots of friends today!
the bird display or indeed go to exit at the front when the crocodiles where on display.

However I was given a walkie-talkie that the battery had run down on, I could not hear Kate or her instruction. Just as well that my side of the Crocoseum was quite. There were only 3 people sat there.

After that fortunately I only had 2 hours to go, so went back to the rain forest and looked forward to the end of the day. My last 2 hours were spent sweeping and emptying the bird seed bowls and talking to Luke.
Finally the time came and I raced off to meet Andy by the Volunteer Office.

I am on Koalas tomorrow, so maybe tomorrow is worth going back?

Andy’s day started off meeting the keepers, Katrina and Rebecca, at the Koala HQ, he was instructed to get into the cage and start sweeping out the bottoms of the cage of the poo and the half chewed Eucalyptus leaves.

The inhabitants of the cage did not really even open an eye when he went in and started to sweep. Then he went through various jobs washing down the

Andy forgot most of their names so this is just another Koala but I think it looks a bit like Taffy the Welsh Koala!
cages, disinfecting them and generally hosing them down, the cages that is.

The second half of the morning went down to the Koala walk through, where it is a true Koala area where they sleep in the trees, but they hang signs saying there is a “Koala in the tree.”

There is a canopy area where there is usually 3 or 4 Koala’s that at anyone time you are allowed to touch one of them, but only on his back/rump, different states in Australia have different rules on touching Koala’s, it is like a trade union for Koala’s and it gives them a break.

I don’t know who the Arthur Scargill of Koala’s is.

The last half hour of the morning Andy had been asked to dig some holes to put some plants in. However in the afternoon Andy went to help a lady called Deb, who then said “because of health and safety you are not allowed to use the shovel”, but because he had already been digging holes earlier in the morning and had broken one shovel, Andy suggested that he may just as well carry on and dig the holes anyway, while she put the plants in.

She was a very pleasant lady and was telling Andy about her family and home life.

The last hour for the day Andy watered the plants, put all the tools away.

Luckily for Andy he was able to keep his Camera on him for the day, and took some great pictures of the Koalas, which we have put up for you.

Tomorrow Andy is on Natives, which is Kangaroo’s and Wombat’s.

We will probably get the bad jobs again, but that’s what we expected when we went for this “experience”.


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