In all my years running this fabulous place I have never once thought, ‘What am I doing here’? or ‘Is it all worth it’? but every now and then something happens that makes me say ‘I really do know why I love this job so much’ and today was one of them.
It started off quite normal really, in fact it was very warm and humid so everyone was happy, we had just found out that our Greater Vasas were on eggs which is always good, then Pete Liam and myself went to the walk-through to get the water feature and the painting sorted, well i say painting, Pete painted everything and I mean everything with just a little wind blowing he got covered and looked a right mess 🙂 even got it all over his new uniform so in a panic he went to the white spirit and literally soaked himself in it to get it off his , face, arms, hands, t-shirt and trousers mmmm now when I say trousers he never realised that there may be the chance that there would be an adverse reaction if the stuff touched parts that arent used to white spirit …. you getting the picture? It took about 15 minutes and he started to itch a little in the ‘nether regions’ then while having lunch it turned from an itch to a burn and before you know it he was in the toilets and….well i will leave the pictures up to you 🙂 plenty of water later he is fine and can walk in a nice straight line again.
Then something happened, something so good I still have a smile on my face 3 hours later. For the first time ever i really think its the most exhilarating experience i have ever had while working here
Caz called me on the radio saying Kola the ring tailed lemur was looking very agitated, on checking her out we deduced that she was in labour 4 weeks later than expected and a real surprise, so we watched her very closely and it certainly seems that this was the case, excitement started to creep around the centre and we all waited in anticipation, around 2 oclock it came over the radio from Caz “We have a baby” woohoo a baby lemur was born, we all spied through the window and it was a real treat to see her with the baby. Back to work we went but around 3.45 as the girls were about top go we saw she was getting a little more agitated, I went in to see her and she was walking around making a pitiful cry, Clarence and the kids (the remaining lemur family) were all just sat watching, the staff went asking me to keep them informed should anything happen. I sat there on the floor, just watching in case anything went wrong, time was getting on and it was 3 hours since her first birth but she started getting very stressed, so stressed in fact she started pulling the new born very wildly, holding its leg with one hand and tail with the other while the contractions came and went, all the time the little one was screaming, the family was all pacing and I was getting very worried too. The next event was by far the best thing that has ever happened to me while working with animals. In the middle of all the noise i gently placed my hand between Kola and the new born and she just as gently wrapped her hand around my finger and with this she stood up and went for it, holding on to my now throbbing finger she let out the most excruciating noise and with a final push, out came what i can only presume was the amniotic sac, at this point she let go of me and climbed on the shelf, she released the remainder of the sac and then just sat looking at it for about 10 minutes, I sat in a panic thinking she knew something that i didnt and i expected the worse… 🙁 but then she got to work, ripping and licking then eating and before i knew it, out popped a little head and she licked like crazy, one little whimper and that was it, within 5 minutes we had a twin lemur climbing up mom looking very bewildered (similar to me i think) other than screaming for joy very loudly (which i didnt so as not to frighten everyone) I thought the next best thing was to leave her alone to get some rest, so with a pat on the head and a little wink, I left.
I have just been back in to offer a little food and also to give a check up before sleep time and the proud mom looks brilliant and so do her little kids. Take a look for yourself.
Oh the joys of being a zoo keeper. 🙂