As much as I enjoyed working with the Birds and Bears, I more preferred to be placed on a projects team.
I signed up to volunteer at Tasikoki to work with and see the animals up close yes, but my main objective was to help these animals as much as possible.
The projects teams were the ones that I thought really made a big impact at the rescue center.
Don’t get me wrong…..making enrichments and feeding the animals is a crucial part to running the center, but more and more animals are coming in, and they are running out of enclosures to house them in.
The enclosures they have can only hold so many.And then there is the other issue of pairing up the different animals. Just like humans, not every monkey, bird, or bear is going to get along. They have to make sure that the animals won’t hurt each other when placed together.
Remember me talking about Jelly the sun bear? As of right now, he cannot be placed with the other 2 bears because of his aggressive behavior. He also can’t stay in the small cage that he is currently in forever, so Tasikoki has to build a new enclosure for him with the hopes that he will calm down and someday be able to live with the other 2 bears.
My first day volunteering I worked on Jelly’s new enclosure. It was a hard day for sure, but I really enjoyed working on something that was going to have such a positive impact. I don’t know how long Jelly has been living in his little cage, but working on his enclosure brought him that much closer to finally being free from that confined metal box.
Tasikoki also has a large number of macaques to take care of.
They are in the works of trying to find the right area to release the monkeys, but until then, they want to make sure the animals have a comfortable habitat to live in.
Some of the macaques have been in the smaller isolation cages for a while waiting to be moved into a new enclosure.
Since there was a surplus of volunteers coming in to the center, the organizers were able to have a team working on that new enclosure every day.
We were also able to revamp old enclosures for even more space.
I was lucky enough to help out with these projects and actually see the macaques move into their new more spacious homes.
Getting to see them enjoying their new enclosures is one of the most rewarding feelings any volunteer could ask for! It makes all the hard work worth it!!!
The latest project, which is also the one I helped the most on, is for the turtles.
Tasikoki has 2 fresh water turtles that are in desperate need of a new space. Right now they are living in 2 small pools with barely enough room to move around.
When they were brought to the center, Tasikoki had nowhere to put them, so they quickly built the small pools until a new enclosure was ready.
The turtle project is probably the hardest one out of all of them because it requires a lot of digging.
In a perfect world, you would hire professionals with heavy machinery to come in and cut through the dirt in a matter of days, but this is not possible at Tasikoki.
For one, there is not enough space the get a large tractor into the area where the new enclosure is being built without cutting out a large portion of the jungle.
Cost is another issue. Tasikoki is not a zoo, and it doesn’t bring in big profits like a zoo would. The center runs mainly off the money volunteers pay and individual donations. This doesn’t leave a lot of room to hire outside labor.
So it’s up to the volunteers to muscle up and dig the trenches.
I was placed on the team in the early stages and helped a few times a week up until I left. Were my arms sore and tired? Yes. Did I have gnarly blisters? Yup!
But again….seeing the progress that was being made day by day was really amazing.
So many volunteers wanted to be placed on the turtle project because they knew that was one step closer to the turtles being out of their small pools for good.
Sadly I didn’t get to see the enclosure finished before I left, but I look forward to seeing pictures of the turtles swimming around in their new luxurious home in the near future.
Would you like to help out on a projects team at Tasikoki? Check out their website for more info on how to sign up to volunteer. Not able to volunteer? You can also help the projects teams by making a donation to the rescue center.