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Monday, December 21, 2009

I'm Back...Again!

CLP Vice President Andy Goldfarb has returned to Thailand for another stint as Manager of the Clouded Leopard Consortium, a breeding project based at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo. Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium sends Andy there annually in support of the project where he raises cubs and manages care of the adults. This is Andy's first report since his return:

Hey guys I'm back in Thailand again. This will make four months in under a year. Don't get me wrong, I know I should be bummed that I'm missing out on the 18 degree weather back at my home versus the 90 degree temp with a very low humidity here in Thailand, but I'm not! I was never a cold weather guy. I've been coming here for 6 years and this it the first time that I have come in December and January which I have to say is just awesome. It's still hot, but the humidity is very low so it's quite nice. There are still all the bugs to deal with but to a lesser degree.

Okay, when I left back in April there were three cubs that I had been working with: Mang Po, Dawk Mi and Taifun. Also there was a little girl named Ginnaree born while I was here and she lived with me for my last month. Everybody is still here except Taifun, he went to Chang Mi in northern Thailand to meet a girl. Mang Po is one of my favorite cubs, so it was incredible to see her again. She's a lot bigger but still a sweetie and just jumped in my arms when I showed up. Everybody is doing great. The big news is that in the time that I was gone we have had six more cubs born at the breeding center. That makes ten cubs in a year! So the place is over run with the spotted little rats! What a dream come true for me. I have to say that it's hard to pay attention to all of them, they're always screaming at you when you walk past the enclosures. So I spend a fair bit of time going from one area to another playing with the cubs.

I know you're thinking, "Oh how brutal is that, poor Andy, he's suffering" Okay I know you're not thinking that but it isn't as fun or easy as you might think. Only those brave enough to enter know the truth, that’s why the guys that work with me don't go in. In one area there are four cubs that are five months old, three boys (what a nightmare ) and one little cute, but semi-evil, girl. When you first enter the area there are heaps of cute squeaks, chuffs, and rubbing all over your legs for attention. This lasts for about a minute and then it starts. A flurry of spots start flying through the air. They take turns jumping on you from every direction. From below, one of them always strikes first, and while you're bent over to detach the little beast another one hits from behind and then you lurch backwards to try to remove that one and you get hit from the front that’s when the other moves in for the big prize, your head. Now for those of you that kept up with me last time know that I copped it good in the face. So far my face has remained un-scarred, the rest of me is in real rough shape; my arms, legs, back, neck and scalp look like I scrubbed them with a wire brush.

I do love these maniacs and I'll write more soon ….I promise….. kinda.


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