Monday, January 16, 2012

Volunteering + Animals= Perfection

I started last Sunday my first day at Summer Wind Farms Sanctuary.
The facility sits on 140 acres and is home to over 200 animals. They are a non-profit, USDA Licensed sanctuary for exotic birds, animals and reptiles. Their purpose is to provide a facility where these animals can live out their lives in a safe, well cared for environment. Some of these animals were taken from homes where they were kept illegally, uncared for, or other situations. Sometimes also to prevent unnecessary euthanasia or to home a surrendered animal.
Sunday was a short day, only 2 hours, but they went over everything with me that I will be doing. So basically I will be working ever Saturday, Sundays if I want to come (duh, I think I will!) and any evening nights more so in the summer when it's lighter out longer.I will be feeding them and cleaning their enclosures with the rest of the volunteer staff. No it does not sound glamorous but it is honestly. They are all on strict diets and cleaning. It's the #1 thing that needs to be done when tending to ANY ANIMAL. I will also observe them to see if they have any medical conditions that I notice. Like yesterday, I noticed one of the tigers had a large cut about her left eye....
I got instructions from the Sanctuary how to feed these animals, how to enter/exit cages, how close to get to a cage, etc. You can't go too close to a primates cage- well yes because they can be aggressive and unpredictable but also because they will steal your gloves, cell phones, or try to clean you and pick in your hair. The tigers can be aggressive and feisty also esp when you have the water hose out and they think it is a play toy.
Here is the list of the animals at the sanctuary.
  • Grizzly bear (Coco)
  • Black bears
  • Asiatic black bears (pictured below)
Cats- (my favorite!)
  African serval
  Leopards-they have 5- (Passion, pictured below)
  Siberian Lynx
  They only have 1 lion.They used to have 4. Old age does take a toll on animals too. :(
  Tigers- ShereKhan, Lenny, Squiggy, Hops,and Pandora. They have a few more......
  A white tiger Mohan (pictured below)
Total # of large cats that they have is 18!

Random Exotics/Animals
  • Horses
  • Camel
  • Llamas
  • Foxes
  • Buffalo
  • Raccoon
  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Fallow deer
  • Artic Fox
  • Skunk
  • Ducks
  • Red Fox
  • um.....the list goes on!!!
         Here are some photos I took of the exotics I saw  on Sunday 1/8/12 that caught my eye

A Cavy- which is a kangeroo/rabbit/rodent mix

Jaycee- a 2/12 yr old hamadryas/olive cross Baboon that is super sweet. She reached her hand out to me to have me rub her belly. Her hand felt like a humans. She is definatlely going to win my heart, I can see it already!

Alex- an olive baboon. He scares me a bit I will admit that! He is loud,large, and must I say again large!!!

                      This photo was taken of him by the sdanctuary outside in the summer
                                                          Zeus - Japanese Snow Macaque

                                                                   Random Macaques

 And lastly here are the tiger photos I took and I can not tell you for the life of me which tiger is which so just enjoy their beautiful faces!

                                                   We fed them water threw a hose!

Put your hand out in front of you and that is the distance between me and these enclosures. It is safe I ensure you that but always beyond amazing. This was honestly the first time in over at least a year I felt so happy to be doing "work" Its not even work to me! I feel honored and privileged to be doing this and having this opportunity.

By the way, Sorry, I can't  hang out on Saturdays.....I have to go feed some birds,monkeys and tigers :)

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