Good Times Bad Times (5 weeks)

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December 12th 2008
Published: December 12th 2008
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Hi Bloggers!

So after yesterday we returned to the Zoo for day 2 (Thursday). Andy was on natives, Kangaroos, Echidnas and Wallabies. I was on Koala’s, which was what Andy did yesterday.

The sequence of work is very much general maintenance of the animals, their living accommodations and their eating routines, cleaning out water bowls, raking up leaves, changing food bowls and general visible maintenance of the park.

The Kangaroo and Wallaby enclosures take a lot of maintenance as it is such a large area. There is a lot of sweeping and raking to do, not to mention dragging heavy hoses out.

At the end of the day, the water bowls/buckets/troughs need filling to ensure that the animals have plenty of water overnight. Andy had the opportunity to look after the echidna compound (an Echidna is like a miniature porcupine).

My day on Koala’s was a busy one, it was great to be working with the Koala’s they are such cute animals (marsupial). Although you think they might be sweet and cuddly, they can in fact get grumpy (a bit like me in the mornings) and will bite and scratch if they are not happy.
Fatty (Echidna)Fatty (Echidna)Fatty (Echidna)

It is not fair to call a woman fat!

The day was hot, I watered the plants that Andy planted the day before and I stood by the tree to protect one of the Koala’s from being patted. This one Koala, Edna had inadvertently chosen to be in the ‘Pat’ area and was in fact left there to do her thing, which was sleep and even though there is a sign up to say ‘I am having a break from pats’, peopled still think it is ok to disturb them.

The pat area is specifically for 2 koalas to spend the day for the public to pat on their behinds. Koala’s are territorial and do not like being patted on the head, the arm or paw.

The day was exceptionally hot, I had helped do some ‘mulching’ with the zoo staff, which was ok as we were in the shade and thirsty work though, went through a good few litres of water.

The zoo have poles in some of the enclosures that spray a fine mist of water over the paths, these are actually for the general public as they walk through. It does feel lovely to walk under them and cool down for a brief
3 FT3 FT3 FT

My name is 3 foot as unfotunately I only have 3 feet.

Yesterday, Andy did birds and I was placed onto natives. However after my first task at cleaning the paths, I was reallocated to the Kids Zoo. No problem to move, the natives was set to be hard work.

In the kids zoo, I had the unenviable task of cleaning one of the pens out, which involved sifting sheep p** through the sawdust and then putting the p** in a big bin behind the pen.

The best bit of the day was to take the goats for a walk. I took, with Hayley a zookeeper, 3 lots of goats for a walk, this consumed most of the morning. This was great because you get to interact with the visitors to the zoo and the kids love to pat the animals, although some are scared of them, so you try to encourage them, sometimes with great success. In the afternoon, I had to take 3 of the goats for a walk again, believe me this is not easy, they all want to go in different directions, so at one point I was wrapped hopelessly around a tree in fits of laughter while I had to work out the

don't sniff my boots you will be shocked!
conundrum to get us all free. The goats looked at me as if it was my fault saying “so what are you going to do about getting us out of this mess?”

Andy came into the kids zoo to see me and picked up one of the little piglets. This poor piglet squealed like crazy until Andy put him back down again. It was great to work closely with the animals. When I was in the sheep pen, one of them came and knocked his head into my arm and then stood back looking at me. I am not sure if I was in his way or if he was just interested with what I was doing.

Andy really enjoyed his day working with the birds, far more than I did. He found it very tranquil and calm. I found it boring. As a sealed enclosure it is not very big, it is nice and cool. The people were very nice and friendly.

Russell the Electus Parrot, likes to fly the whole length of the enclosure then swoop down to make the girls scream. The Zoo staff say he does this deliberately all the time. I guess we all find our fun in some way.

In summary, some of the Zoo staff are lovely and the other volunteers are nice. However there are some Zoo staff which do not treat volunteers well and this is disappointing as people are prepared to give up their free time (at a cost at times) for the animals. There seems to be no operations management structure and no one seems to know what is going on. There is a poor induction and some of those that ‘manage’ the animals and staff appear not to ‘manage’.

We are not being critical in our observations, we are just telling you how it really is. We had no health and safety training and emergency procedure training, we were given a leaflet to read later when we got home, but that is no good when you have already spent the day there and anything could happen.

For example Andy went through a gate, which he had done previously and got told off for being in the wrong place as there were Tigers on a walkabout. However how was he supposed to know? No one had instructed, no one had put up a sign saying no entry and as volunteers we have no radio communication with any staff.

All in all it was great to be with the animals but it was not the best of experiences with the human interaction as volunteer.

Oh Yes and before I forget, yesterday morning I brought the washing in off the line, a cockroach fell out of one of Andy’s t-shirts. He soon scurried away across the grass, then suddenly he put a sprint on as two large Water Dragons were pursuing him, fortunately the cockroach was not fast enough and became an early morning snack for one lucky Water Dragon. The other Water Dragon ran up the wall disappointed.

Thinking of you all and missing you.
Love and kisses
The T’s

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


Still LaughingStill Laughing
Still Laughing

Rolling around the sand is great fun!
All my money's fallen out of my purseAll my money's fallen out of my purse
All my money's fallen out of my purse

I forgot to zip the top of my purse up!

The Electus Parrot and his perverted sense of humour.
Piggy goes to MarketPiggy goes to Market
Piggy goes to Market

Squeal piggy Squeal!

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