5th Day - Primates 2 team

Cha-am Travel Blog

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Baby macaque. We call him "cocksucker". Ahem.

Tried to get an early night last night, which only serves to make me more bleary in the morning, raising myself from a deeper sleep. I wandered out into the cool fresh air, blinking in the half light and poking out the sleepy corners of my mind when all hell broke loose with the dogs already. An intruder dog entered the centre by accident and as people ran from all directions to pull the bigger dogs off, I could only watch resignedly with my toothbrush stuffed in my face, wishing animals could wait til after coffee before kicking off...

 

Next drama was the death of little Tommy, our resident chick at the food prep house.

"Item" (ice cream in Thai I think). Baby macaque.
Suddenly over 6.30am coffee, everyone started shouting and pulling the dogs away from a corner of the room. Emma picked up the limp chick and walked with him into the light to see if he was still conscious, but it was too late. We hoped it was another chick, since no other chick has pierced the communities heart like little Tom, the chick abandoned by his mother, and constant companion at the food house where we prepare all the meals every day. When we set off for our jobs today,  Sarah reported back that regretfully Tommy had not turned up at the food house. His little fluffy scuttling will be missed, as 7 people slip and slide around the fruit-stained floor stepping carefully over his cheeping.

 

Primates 2 is an easy day, lots of big breaks between tasks. Cleaning up monkey poo isn't great, but it's not as bad as I imagined either. Thankfully we only have to clean about 5 cages (both inside and outside enclosures) and the hardest part is the logistics of moving monkeys from one part of their cage to another (by use of treats and bananas) and in what orders. They were fairly relaxed today, and we had no real trouble manoeuvering them, but 3 puppies wanted to come and help and they only served to agitate the macaques who leapt up and down and chattered. Plus, if you don't realise the puppies are there, when they snuffle up behind you your instant reaction is that somehow a monkey has escaped and is about to bite your leg. Or they are as difficult to get out of the cages (you wouldn't want to leave them in by accident!) as the monkeys. They like to eat the monkey poo. Gross.

 

After cleaning we fed the baby macaques and the macaques we had just cleaned and headed off to breakfast and a 2 hour break. Emma too had been having dramas, new baby gibbon, squirrels escaping, more dog fights, perhaps there's something in the air today? It's cooler thankfully, we could hear the faint rumble of thunder all morning. Fortunately for me, the rain started on my break but when it started, it really started, and we worked among the sludge and puddles for the rest of the day. The monsoon season is due in May, but apparently it's starting earlier and earlier every year....

 

After breakfast we had to scatterfeed in the macaque fields (seeds, monkey biscuits and fruit thrown over the enclosure walls into the grass so the monkeys have to forage), and enrichment. Then lunch, then in the afternoon we had to sweep outside the cages that don't have gutters. Some of the macaques took particular exception to our brooms, and as I blew kisses at one, he raced over to the wire and grabbed my broom end. My flirting quickly turned to a brief struggle to pull it back!

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Baby macaque. We call him cocksuc…
Baby macaque. We call him "cocksu…
Item (ice cream in Thai I think)…
"Item" (ice cream in Thai I think…
Cha-am
photo by: thelailama