Charli and Leigh in South America

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Tours Made by leigh on 2011-06-23 06:12:56

Fully in Tourist mode now we have done the Chan Chan ruins, Islas Ballestas, the Paracas national park, Sandboarding and will soon b flying over the Nasca (Nazca?) lines.

8 pictures uploaded today
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Saying goodbye Made by leigh on 2011-06-20 01:42:12

We both really liked Merazonia and wished we could have stayed longer. We think they are doing good work and left them with some of the money Wilkinsons had kindly donated to us for the projects we visited. It´s great to work with people like Frank and Louisa who run Merazonia and put the animals first. Good Luck in the future and we´ll see you again I hope.

15 pictures uploaded today
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Peru Made by leigh on 2011-06-18 17:43:28

After 30 hours either on or waiting for a bus we have arrived here, Trujillo in peru.

Leaving Merazonia Made by leigh on 2011-06-16 17:10:05

We have had to leave Merazonia, while we would have happily stayed another 6 weeks we thought we should at least give the other refuge a chance before spending all our time in Merazonia. Baby bird gave us a really special send off by flying and landing! I really didn´t think I´d miss getting up at 7 every morning this much.

Capuchins Made by leigh on 2011-06-08 19:19:53

The last feeding round is the Capuchins. They can be either the most straightforward or the most difficult round depending on what sort of mood they are in. They are the most intellegent new world monkey and at times use all of that intellegence to make our life difficult. We have 6 Monkeys, 4 female and 2 male. They are all able to give us problems but none quite as much as Anuska.

Anuska is a little too fixated on humans and has real trouble acting like a monkey this can often result in her being picked on, particularly by the boss of the group Tina. She has also mastered most of the locks on the cages and open the sliding door that are meant to keep them out of the compartment you are cleaning. We try not to go in with any of the monkeys since the idea is to get them acting as much like a group of wild monkeys as possible. Anuska can make this very difficult since she quite enjoys being with the people because she used to be a pet. Giving her her own way might be easier for us but is not a good idea for her in the long run.

There is then just the Clinic left to feed which neither Charli or I have done. This is normally for injured animals but currently just has a Howler monkey called niamh (a weird spelling of neve) and a Turtle both waiting for their permanent homes to be finished. Also in the Clinic is a little baby Black-headed parrot which is part of the Quarantine feeding route so We do get to feed him. He squawks almost all the time even while gulping down food at an incredible rate. We have to feed him mushed up food in a syringe at the moment but he ate his first solids yesterday, I was so proud!

5 pictures uploaded today
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Made by charli on 2011-06-02 17:08:24

An 'exciting' week at Merazonia this week, there's not many volunteers so its been really busy! We're really close now to finishing a new cage for Niamh the howler monkey, and have finished a new pool for Donnatella the turtle. We also have a new addition- a baby black headed parrot, that we've been feeding every few hours. she only has one leg, but is flapping strongly so we're hoping she'll be able to fly! She can also be a friend to Juanita, our resident black headed parrot who is currently a bit lonely.

So the 'exciting' bit, the reserve accidentely lost a pair of parakeets this week! a mouse got into their cage and scared them- no one thought they could fly and when the cage was opened they took to the wing! We also lost a kinkajou as a door got left open, its an animal that has been released before and ended up returning- so we're fairly sure she'll be back for food soon! We're not trying to create less work for ourselves by releasing the animals, honest! Leigh also nearly lost a capuchin monkey who can now undo locks at lightening speed. Anouaka used to be a pet, and loves people and is always seeking attention despite living with a troop of other capuchins. Her tactics for getting attention often includes trying to undo the cage doors- guaranteed to have you running towards her. However this time she went a step further, undid two doors and got outside the cage in about ten seconds. Leigh was somewhat confused to see a monkey prance past outside the mesh.. and he was inside the cage! Luckily Anouska loves people and grabbed Leigh when he ran outside, so he could transport her back indoors! We've now reinforced all the locks on the capuchin enclosure, its a bit like Alcatraz now- they're not quite ready for release yet!

That is about it, we've been working hard on making cages and paths, the weeks pass very quickly! Can't believe we've been here a month already!

We're in baños again today, drying off after a week of rain (it is the rainforest after all). clean laundry is awesome! We've also managed to break the generator (Leigh has the job of taking it to bits when we get back), so we're charging everyones mobile phones here! Its amazing that you can get mobile phone coverage in emra- which is a good hour through the mountains from the nearest town, yet you can't get a decent phone signal in Duffield in Derby. We did mean to go whiet water rafting or something, but were too tired so are just mooching round Baños eating pancakes and ice cream.

Kinkajous Made by leigh on 2011-05-26 20:11:23

Kinkajous are nocturnal members of the racoon family, and although really cute looking you wouldn't want to hug one as they have impressive teeth and claws. They eat fruit, are surprusingly agule and graceful, and make an awesome mess that we have to clean up every day. Merazonia has 6 kinkajous, they were once released but found their way back home and took to taking on the three dogs and getting into the volunteer house, so ended up back in theur enclosure.

Also on the kinkajou feeding route are 16 blue headed parrots that swoop around your head as you feed them. There is a single nice parrot named Slutty who sits on your shoulder and preens your hair, and several that imitate her but land on your shoulder and bite your head.

Then there are the parakeets, two pairs that battle to out-do each other in battles over who can screech the loudest. One pair is evil, to the extent that as you clean the bottom of theur cage they will dangle upsue down from the wure feeing tray trying to bite your head. They're only about 12 centimetres tall though, so it isn't a massive problem if they do get you.

And finally, there are tamarin monkeys. Last week we released 3 of them. Their cage was situated in an area where wild (and previously released) tamarins were found, so they could get aquainted. Last week we left the cage doors open for the first time and let them take their first steps in the big wide world. For one tamarin, Lionel, this was his first ever time outside! For the first few days the tamarins went back into the cage at night, but now they're left outside. Sadly one tamarin has since gone missing, probably plucked up by a bird of prey. Which begs the question is it best to give them a chance at freedom which is inherently dangerous to a 20-cm tall monkey, or to keep them locked up when they are essentially capable of surviving in the wild? For now we spend plenty of time chasing Lionel away from the volunteer house! He can survive fine, just seems to like our company!

6 pictures uploaded today
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Made by charli on 2011-05-20 00:24:01

Justa quick note to say hello and that we are all well here! We helped release some tamarin monkeys today, a complicated propcess as the monkeys have to integrate into a wild troop of monkeys. They have been in a cage in the territory of the wild ones in order to get aquainted, and today we left the cage open for them to go exploring. They did have a minor disagreement, but we hope they will make friends tomorrow! Consequently have spent large portions of the day sitting and watching monkeys in the jungle!

More updates soon!

The Big Birds Made by leigh on 2011-05-16 17:37:09

The Big Birds was our feeding round yesterday, today we are off and visiting Baños. The round consists of the Agoutis (or maybe just the Agouti sine no one ever sees them together), a couple of Tamarins that can´t be with the main group and of course the big birds.

My personal highlight of the round is Malcolm, who is a Blue and Yellow Macaw. A typically beautiful bird he has a tendency to act like a small child, which is quite funny. If you make the mistake of giving him his water before his food he will happily throw it over you and once he is finished with his food he won´t hesitate to throw that on the floor if people are there but not paying attention to HIM. His story is sadly typical once a pet his was kept in a small cage and he is a rather big bird. Now he is unable to fly and hasn´t got a great sense of balance. This means he has no chance of being released and although his cage is now much bigger and out in the jungle it is still a cage. He keeps himself entertained torturing volunteers but I´m sure he would prefer freedom.

The round contains two Tamarins, Evie and Rodger, Evie is a little disabled and Rodger had already been rejected by the local wild Tamarins. This means that they were keep separate from the other three Tamarins that are due for release soon and are caged near where the Wild Tamarins roam. Evie has to be fed milk and likes to increase her cuteness by giving herself a little milk moustache which goes with her overbite really well.

The main bird cage contains two Chestnut Macaws, four Mealy Amazons and another parrot I believe is a Oranged-Winged Amazon. Despite being the smallest the Chestnut dominate the group often trying to bully the Mealys even though they are much bigger birds. In the front part of the cage is Jackie, Nigel and Margret one Mealy and Two more Oranged-Winged Amazons respectively.

An Update as of 26/5/2011: Rodger has been transfered to another refuge, since he was rejected locally he stands a better chance of release elsewhere so we had to say goodbye. Also the Agouti (Agoutis?) have apparently released themself, they were due for release so it's not that much of a problem. This round is starting to get really easy!

The Animals Made by leigh on 2011-05-13 23:32:26

I plan to split up the animals into several posts, and the best way to do this is by feeding rounds. Today both Charli and I did Quarantine and I have posted some pictures of the animals there.

There are only 3 cages at the moment in Quarantine containing the animals that have arrived and need to be passed nastyness free. One has 2 parakeets, another a black-headed parrot and the last our lastest arrival a Blue-headed Parrot. These can hopefully be integrated in to our populations but since we have no other Black-heads her best hope may be to transfer to another reserve.

19 pictures uploaded today
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