Noah’s Birthday!

by Luke, in Costa Rica
8th January, 2010

Noah’s birthday!! Mobile reception has been an absolute killer on this trip and there is no phone in the lodge so Christine very kindly lent me her super powerful 3G iphone as a solid back up for the essential call home. Amazingly Greg’s lodge does has wi-fi so I was able to download Skype and phone home first thing this morning (UK time) to blast out my finest rendition of Happy Birthday to a (presumably) very bemused Noah. He did say Daddy down the phone which pretty much broke my heart as I tunelessly sang my lungs out in my very best dulcet tones. Hopefully I didn’t wake Marc next door – but he was incredibly supportive first thing as we crawled out of our rooms about 6am to get to the boat on time so I don’t think he minded if I did. He said not – but I suspect he was just being nice. Noah was planned to meet up with cousin Robyn at the soft play centre in Basingstoke today but the weather in the UK has been the worst in 30 years (apparently) so hopefully Cords and Noah made it whilst we are sweating our socks off, careful not to jump in the water with12 foot crocodiles no matter how tempting. Hard to think all our families are freezing cold and despite the amazing company and great people, can’t help but wish you were at home.


Today has been a day of power, met Carol and Earl who are hardcore jungle people, championing the wildlife of Costa Rica in pristine rainforest. They don’t have electricity more than two hours a day and live about as rustic as you can get. They are warm and generous and clearly do all they can for the rainforest and the animals within it. Very inspiring people and immensely likeable. They had flown in the head exotic vet of Costa Rica for the main film day so the pressure was on as we knocked out Sweetie, a stunning spider monkey with skin lesions and took some samples.


This was closely followed by examining a Macaw with an injured wing and a Jaguarundi – which was the most playful and amazing cat you can imagine. Beautiful animal with a face like an otter but the body of a cat. They are related to Cougars and are awesome creatures – often kept and captured as pets until they reach maturity when they turn wild and are abandoned by their ‘owners’.


The best animal of the day though was the anteater called “Tank”. I think anteaters are my favourite baby animals. They are simply the most adorable creatures and without sounding completely wet – but probably failing – they are the sort of animals you just want to give a hug to. One of the only species of mammals that never possess teeth, they have a tongue that darts out at speed of a 150 times a minute. When adults, they are a bit formidable – growing up to seven feet in length – but a three days old, they are some of the sweetest things in the world. Also one of the hardest to raise and rehabilitate.


Carol and Earl reckon only 25% of those brought into their care make it due to the phenomenally intense efforts required to raise them and the high protein diet they need to make it. Tank is on a winner and looking good and the sancturary on the whole is so impressive and so remote (now we have made all the efforts to get here (huge thanks to Christine and Karen)) we are heading back there tomorrow soo I can castrate a couple of collared peccaries for them. Should be exciting as these wild pigs are so wild they have never been managed to be domesticated. Will keep you posted!


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