10th Day Primates 1

Cha-am Travel Blog

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I woke today after a lovely dream about having a relationship with a bear. This would have been freaky if it hadn't have been such a nice dream, I was almost sad to wake up and realise I have no bear-love in my life.

The day started off normally, but when I went to let out Pepsi Max after feeding (he needs isolating from his lady partner during feeding otherwise he eats all her food and attacks her) he managed to grab my headscarf. Since he was still in the little isolation space we sat and stared each other out for a while, but it was clear we had reached an impasse. I wasn't letting him out without my headscarf, and he wasn't going to give me my headscarf at all. He played it cool, sometimes flinging it over his shoulder casually and leaving it on the floor, but when I reached in to get it he would jump at the bars. Eventually, when he left it on the ground, I started to slide open the door to the big cage by increments, and as soon as the gap was wide enough he slipped through leaving the scarf behind, clearly too afraid I would shut him back in again if he wasn't fast out of the door. I then pulled the scarf out with a broom handle before he could reach in and grab it again. It was a close run thing, I was truly expecting the scarf to be torn into hundreds of tiny little pieces...

About 45 minutes later I went back round all the cages to pick up the empty food bowls. At Sid's cage I noticed his bullying cage-mate was sitting with him in the overhead walkway but thought little of it other than it was unusual behaviour, Having picked up the bowls I walked back under the walkway and felt something warm and wet down the back of my neck. Yes, I had been peed on by that damn monkey. I immediately hosed myself down of course, but it definitely set the tone of the day. Could it get any worse?

Fortunately the rest of the day passed without any more dramas, aside from missing about 20 bowls when we set the dishes out for monkey breakfast tomorrow. We located most of them though, and finally trudged off to the showers, the mystery more or less solved.

We had planned a light drinking night but some people wanted to watch the Animal Planet doco that I saw on my first night so we all ended up sitting and watching it. It was actually really good to see it again, as at the time the names and stories didn't mean as much as they do now, knowing the animals personally. In the programme they rescue Oompoom and his playmate Apex and put them in the brand-new purpose-built enclosure. Oompoom later killed Apex, and the enclosure is now seperated into 2 halves, one for the 4 school bears and 1 for Oompoom as he doesn't seem to be able to share. The other story was about 2 babies, Pepper and Pindah when they were babies, who are now in the '9' enclosure with Poppy, Pepsi, Pooh and Phon. They are all given the run of the new enclosure, and Oompoom immediatley set about destroying the grass, pulling it up because he was more used to concrete. Edwin comments on film that the volunteers would be furious. I guess we would have been too to watch all our hard work be scratched up by a bear.

The other stories were about Zack, a gibbon baby, who later was seized by the government with another 500 animals when Edwin was involved in that court case over 'illegally kept animals' when he was campaigning against the zoos in Thailand from making animals perform. And also Joem Jim (pronounced Chum Chim), a gibbon who was kept in a tiny cage for 20 years by a private owner. She had a broken foot, probably caused by her initial capture as a baby, if mum was killed by gunshot and baby fell to the ground, and her foot has healed deformed and at an angle. She is still in solitary block where she seems much happier, and calls and coos to her heart's content, which she never did before. It was really good to put real experience to names and animals I saw on the first watch.

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Cha-am
photo by: thelailama