This post is literally pulled from my journal from my time volunteering at the La Senda Verde Animal Rescue Centre in Bolivia.
After five weeks at La Senda Verde my time working at the animal rescue has come to an end.
I am really sad to be leaving but I know that I will be back hopefully later this year or next year to spend many more months here.
Each morning when I walk to the restaurant for my pre work cup of tea I find Nina the Spider Monkey hanging off the wire that forms the walls of the restaurant.
Each morning when I say ‘hola Nina, Coma stas?’ she comes running over and jumps up onto me for a morning cuddle.
I then get my next morning greeting from handsome Aruma, the Andean Spectacle Bear, when I go to clean his enclosure and leave his breakfast food.
Next up is Tipnis, often found sitting high up in her orange tree waiting for us to arrive.
- She is much more wild than Aruma and I love watching her trying to navigate her descent from the tree tops.
Bears are really good climbers but are not so good at coming back down and are really slow.
Daily life at La Senda has come to comprise of chasing alpha female spider monkey Wara out of the restaurant, sometimes up to eight times a day.
Two days ago when I was chasing her through the restaurant the cook grabed a bowl full of water to try and throw at her to get her out and as she threw the water, Wara jumped out of the way and I was on the receiving end.
Over the five weeks that I have spent at La Senda Verde I have learnt so much about caring for wild animals, enrichment, Andean Spectacle Bears and monkeys and also about animal trafficking.
The reason all of these animals are here at La Senda is because they were taken from the wild to fuel a selfish industry intent on making money from innocent animals.
For many animals such as the bears and the monkeys they endure the trauma of watching their mothers be killed by the poachers and then are taken from the wild and placed in small cages, some are even found in backpacks when they are rescued.
Their stories are all sad and many come with physical reminders of the abuse they suffered as well as psychological reminders as well.
For the many Amazonian Parrots that suffer easily from stress for every 10 birds taken from the wild as many as 8 will die from stress and trauma before reaching the black market.
Some of the tortoises have holes drilled into their shells where people have tried to tie them to a tether to stop them from escaping. Tortoises have nerve endings in their shells and the pain they must have endured when this was happening is horrendous.
It makes me really sad to think about all of the animals around the world that are trafficked simply because some people think that having a monkey as a pet is ‘cool’ or a good idea.
This needs to stop and in places like Bolivia the few refuges that exist for wild animals taken from the black market and homes are near capacity.
Whilst I would love to think of Aruma running free through the Andean mountain range, or the thought of Nina swinging freely through the forest I can continue on my travels knowing that there are people who care enough to try and provide a safe refuge to these rescued animals.
Without selfless people like Vicky and Marcello willing to dedicate their lives to stopping animal trafficking and protecting rescued animals I don’t know what would happen.
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