After my time at Wildlife SOS in India had come to an end, I flew from Delhi to Bangkok to start the next leg of the trip. I stayed a night in a hotel in Bangkok and happened to find a great little rooftop bar to have a delicious meal at. After the two weeks at Wildlife SOS, it was nice to have a little bit of time to recharge the batteries as sometimes the work can be hard going when you’re working out in the elements!
The following morning I woke up early to catch a 2-and-a-half-hour train to the southwest of the island to a place called Phetchaburi. It was quite hard-going trying to get a very large, heavy suitcase up the steep steps onto the train on my own! Luckily a lovely Australian couple were on the train and helped me get the suitcase off at my stop. Phetchaburi is quite remote and when I arrived there was nobody there and I had no signal to call the contact I had from the sanctuary! Luckily after a little while, someone did arrive to collect me and we drove the one-hour car journey to Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand. They have a wildlife hospital on-site where I spent my time shadowing the resident vets. They have a huge variety of animals there, from elephants from the logging industry to slow loris and marmosets who have been confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade.
One of those was Mongkood which means ‘crown’ in Thai. Mongkood was tiny baby macaque who had been handed over to the sanctuary after falling sick. He was bought illegally as a pet and was fed the wrong diet causing him to become very ill. As a result, he had to be hand-raised at the sanctuary and therefore, would never be able to be released. He was my responsibility while I was there and I had the best time looking after him but again, similar to India… he should never have had to be in my care in the first place, it’s a very conflicting feeling.
Every day was different and on one of the days, I treated an adult macaque that had been electrocuted who had severe burns. He wasn’t living at the sanctuary he was just picked up by one of the locals who happened to see him by the road so we fixed him up as best we could and released him back out near to where he had been found. I also helped take care of a really sweet but emaciated dog that was brought in by one of the local monks. It was a stray puppy that had been found collapsed and needed to be put on fluids for a few days and have a decent meal! This video was taken after a few days when he was feeling much better!
One of the daily tasks was checking on all the resident animals who needed hand feeding. Pond and Pat who again were victims of the illegal pet trade. They had been handed over after they fallen ill, Pat has never fully recovered from being in a cage that wasn’t big enough for her and so instead of walking normally hops instead. They were too young to be rehabilitated and released so unfortunately had to be hand raised with bottles. I seem to be saying this a lot in my blog ☹.
Across the centre, there were similar stories everywhere, proving that the illegal wildlife trade market is still booming in Asia. TRAFFIC is the main organisation responsible for policing this wildlife trade. Wildlife trade and wildlife markets are of course very topical at the moment with the COVID outbreak as they are a melting pot for zoonotic diseases.
In the evenings, the vets would take me and the other veterinary volunteers on mopeds into to the local village and eat some street food….YUM! Everything that they got me to try that they said was mild seemed very spicy to me and I love spicy food!
As with India, Thailand is so vast that I only travelled a tiny portion of it and would love to go back someday to explore more of these amazing countries. I spent a day either side of my trip in Bangkok, it’s a busy city that’s easy to get around with lots of outdoor markets to get some local crafts and nik naks.
To see my video about my trip to Thailand you can click here, I hope you enjoy it!