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Amanda Silva - Thailand Zoo Assistant 

Amanda was a Zoo Assistant in Thailand for two weeks this summer and took care of some of the animals at the park. During her experience she encountered a lot of animals and looked after them, and she has plans of going back!

Why did you choose this particular project?

It was always something I wanted to do - a dream if you like. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate (animals included of course) and have memories that I'd treasure forever.

Which kind of work and activities did you do during your project?

I looked after the general welfare of the animals – feeding and cleaning enclosures and projects to improve the living conditions of the animals. I showed visitors around the park, promoted the zoo and answered questions visitors might have. I also volunteered at a local school teaching the children basic English.

How did the culture and people differ to home, and what were the locals like?

I was told before coming that Thai people were very generous and it wasn't an exaggeration! Locals were always really friendly and helped out when we seemed lost or were injured.

What was the accommodation like?

Basic but had everything we needed. Mosquito nets and fans were included in the rooms.

What were the staff and other volunteers like?

A great, dynamic group of people who were clearly very passionate about the animals and making improvements where they could.

What was your most amazing moment or your best memory?

On my last day there, seeing Junior, a former coconut monkey, begin to use the new swings we'd made and placed in his enclosure.

Do you feel the work you were doing was worthwhile?

There is only so much you can hope to achieve in two weeks and I believe with such limited time, I did what I could. I would've preferred to have extended my trip and made a greater impact but responsibilities at home awaited me. I'll be back though.

What sort of wildlife did you encounter?

The classic animals you'd expect to find at a safari: Giraffes, Elephants, Zebras, Ostriches and many more.

What were you hoping to learn while on project, and have you achieved those goals?

I wanted to learn more about myself, of what I was capable of and I did.

Any tips and advice you might like to pass on to future volunteers?

It is an amazing, unforgettable place but there is still a lot that needs to be improved and worked on at the park. So don't be expecting a perfect wildlife haven!

What do you have planned next?

I'm starting uni in a week but in the summer, who knows. I plan to go back to the park at some point.

Anything else you would like to add?

Much has to be improved as I've said but the zoo has character with animals that are generally happy. All they need is for people like us to go visit and spread word. The place really is worth it.

By Amanda Silva - Thailand Zoo Assistant

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