Volunteering at ARCAS, Guatemala – Week 2

Week two got easier.  I was past the exhaustion faze and started to enjoy the hard work.  Most importantly I started to enjoy the animals.  I was on the recuperation cages most of the time.  There were a lot of animals in these cages so it might have been a bit more work than some of the other cages.  On the plus side the animals were more varied which kept it interesting.  My cages contained 2 ducks, 1 baby deer, a flock of malevolent parrots, 2 deer and a female howler monkey in one cage and a lonely male deer in another, 1 one eyed hawk and 3 kinkajou.

I loved the ducks.  They would sing to me as I came up the path to the cage.  Everyone said that they would stay quiet all morning until I came ambling up the path.  They were friendly, ate like a pack of hyenas and even ate the leaf cutter ants (since these ants bit me all the time I had a special fondness for anything that prayed on them).  The baby deer was obviously ridiculously cute.  I named him bambi and I had to feed him with a bottle, he would get so excited when I came in the cage that he would run around in circles and jump up at me.Bambi

The cage containing the 2 deer and the howler monkey were difficult because they were very friendly animals but we weren’t allowed to touch them.  The deer would come up to me and nuzzle me, eat my clothes and play.  The lonely deer would knock his water bowl over just for attention.  We weren’t allowed to go up to them but what if they come up to you?  The howler monkey would sit on top of the cage door waiting for me so she would steel her food straight from my hands.  No matter how much I tried not to let her it was difficult manoeuvring around the deer, the door and monkey hands.  I would have to feed her a milk replacement called nestum and it was hard not to stand and watch her with her milk moustache.Howler

 

I particularly loved the deer, they were like dogs; mischievous, friendly, playful.deerbird

 

Apart from being beautiful, the hawk didn’t do much but fill me with sorrow.  How were they meant to rehabilitate a one eyed hawk back into the wild?  What kind of life will he have?

hawk

The Kinkajou were just great.  At the sight of a kinkajou you’re heart muscles will probably feel like they’re compressing, you’ll get the almost uncontrollable urge to run up and cuddle it or vomit a rainbow.  It’s so damn cute.  However, it’s not a good idea to approach a kinkajou because it will probably maul your face off.  There’s a story that a past volunteer last half a finger to one of these cuties.  During the day I have to clean their cage which is fine because they’re still asleep (being nocturnal animals they sleep most of the day) but in the afternoon I have to feed them while they’re hungrily hanging off the door of the cage.  Feeding them consists of spraying them with a hose to get them off the cage door, throwing in distracting banana pieces, running in, throwing their fruit onto their food board than running out of the cage in terror.

KinkajouI love this photo by the way.  You might notice the spider monkey arm reaching through its own cage trying to steal the kinkajou’s food.  Also, the Kinkajou like to lay on their back and eat which just makes them even more adorable.

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