Stacey and I had the amazing experience of volunteering for 10 days at Safari Park Zoo – one of my favorite experiences in our 101 days in SE Asia. As such, this calls for multiple posts! I started off with an introduction telling you a little bit about the Safari Park Volunteer program (which you can read here) and then there will be four posts giving a little bit more detail about different teams and animals you work with – starting today with the Safari Team!
The Safari Team has already been changed since I was there, but from what I’ve heard it has been for the better because it now includes bear enrichment! Let me describe a little about how my days volunteering with the Safari Team were spent and how we took care of the animals that people see during the drive through on the safari bus tours.
Mornings on the Safari Team started with feeding the giraffes & zebras in their stalls before driving in and feeding the deer.
This deer was my favorite (pictured above and below), and if you go to Safari Park Zoo be sure to say hello to this little guy that Stacey and I lovingly gave the name Brady to after my sweet but goofy-looking pup. How can you not love that face and those little bowed-legs! What a cutie!
These pink beauties are in the Safari area with the zebras and giraffes and I love seeing them bathe in the pond; they look so graceful!
After we finished putting all of the feed out, it was time to go back to the zebras and giraffes. We let them out of their stalls (which is magical watching giraffes run- it’s like they run in slow motion). Then, it was time to shovel and sweep up some poo… lots and lots of poo.
After the feedings and stall cleanings, there was usually about an hour before and after lunch which I usually spent helping out with elephants and / or the rescue team! I had a blast hand-feeding the elephants and loved helping with enrichment projects!
Afternoons consisted of chopping up bananas for the emus, collecting bowls of bananas and carrots for various animals and picking up the meats for the cats in safari to drop off at their enclosures.
Also, while back there we got to hand-feed some of the sun bears bananas! I’m very happy to hear that they have added enrichment time for these little (well, in a lot of cases BIG) bears.
After loving on those cuties with handfuls of bananas, we moved on to feeding the deer again and ended back in the giraffe and zebra where they got lots and lots and lots of carrots and bananas!
The ostriches kinda freaked me out! They’re so big, but they’re still a sight to see!
Salapong was nice enough to try to teach me how to drive the blue motorbike / trailer… Stacey didn’t seem too impressed by my driving.
To be honest, the giraffes ended up being the animal I grew to be most intimidated by. They’re just so large and when they see that you have carrots they come from all directions and go face-first into your bowl. However, since they’re so big, they don’t always see you down there and these guys can easily step on your or knock you with their big, long necks! It’s unintentional, of course, but it’s good to be aware of where these guys are coming from.
Another afternoon duty on Safari Team was to cut these branches and deliver them to the Rescue Team for the monkeys to munch on.
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Once a week, the volunteers get to ride the Safari Bus where we got to feed the Safari animals from the bus and give some of the big cats toys to run after and play with!(You’ll see more of the big cats playing in my Cubs & Cats post on August 10.) I think the most memorable part is feeding the giraffes, though!
They say that this is one of the harder teams to be on because you have more physical work than other teams, but I LOVED this team, and I would look forward to working with Salapong and these animals when I come back and volunteer here again!
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