Another typical day…

8 07 2010
Today has been another exciting day here at Paradise Gardens.
First, some good news.  We gave Athena another chance to eat a mouse and she was victorious!  After playing with it for a little while,she actually ate it.  We also witnessed another important behavior that shows that she is on her way to becoming a wild animal.  When we first released the mouse into her cage, one of her kitty roommates went for it and she actually attacked the kitty and claimed the mouse for herself.  Don’t worry, the kitty wasn’t hurt…just startled.  
The other big excitement of the day was that the lovebird’s cage door was left open and one escaped.  Everyone is very concerned because he could easily become prey to any number of other animals…especially the falcon, who had gone missing this morning and missed her morning feeding.  Of course, the falcon showed up shortly after the lovebird’s escape so there was a stressful few minutes while Jen ran to get the falcon’s breakfast and the rest of us kept a nervous watch on the lovebird.  
This has been a big day for acquiring new animals, too.  First, Jen came home with a little, tiny baby kitty.  Then Ryan came back with a bunny.  Neither of these are the kinds of wild animals that Paradise Gardens is supposed to be acquiring  but they are both adorable.   We just got a phone call that a woman found a baby “ant bear” that was being sold on the side of the road.  We will know in about an hour what exactly it is…anteater?  coati?




Athena – Not quite a huntress

7 07 2010

We decided to work with Athena, the baby Jaguarundi, today on her hunting skills.  We had caught some mice in the aviary which we figured would make great prey for her.  Her kitty friends were released for a morning of freedom so it was a good chance for her to practice her hunting skills without any help from the cats.

We learned that she still needs a LOT more practice!  After 3 mice and a bird, she didn’t actually catch and eat any of them.  She did get some good exercise and had some good fun playing around but in the end, all of the little critters lived to see another day.  If you look closely at the picture you can see the cute little mouse.





Hello from Debbie

7 07 2010
Hi everyone.  My name is Debbie and I am volunteering here for a couple of weeks.  I will be guest blogging while I’m here and hopefully, I will be providing a different perspective from the other bloggers since I’m very new to this kind of volunteering.  We heard about Paradise Gardens months ago from some other travelers that we met on the road in Honduras.  Honduras is 3 countries away but they were still so excited about this place
My husband and I have been here for about 24 hours but thanks to all of the great folks, we feel so comfortable like we have been here for months.  I’m not sure what I was expecting before I arrived but Paradise Gardens has blown me away with the beauty of the gardens, fountains, animals and people.  I could tell within minutes that a ton of love has been put into the facilities and the animals.  Even without the animals this place is really special but, of course, the animals are the stars of the show and they seem to know it.
I spent the day yesterday getting acquainted with everyone and everything here.  I was immediately taken with some of the big personalities…Sam, Minolo, Muffin.  They seem to thrive on human contact and love to show off.  The cats are great, too, but have that typical feline pretentiousness.  They know that they are gorgeous and seem happy to just prance around like supermodels just looking beautiful and fierce.  Ok, so I’m not a cat person….I’ve just always felt that they think that they are better than me.
So far the highlight of the last 24 hours for me has been my one-on-one time with Minolo, the little Capuchin monkey.  I’ve always loved dogs because they really know how to welcome a person.  Minolo gave me the best welcome that I’ve received in months.  He was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement (and my head, my back and my arms).  He christened me with pee and poo but I’m just going to believe that is his way of showing how much he likes me.  That little guy has a ton of energy.  If we could bottle it and sell it, this place would be rolling in money.
Yesterday afternoon was incredibly busy with visitors.  I was told that this was the busiest day that anyone here has seen.  There were over 50 visitors in one day!  I got the crash course on the visitor introduction and had a trial by fire.  I hope I didnt give anyone too bad of information.  I will keep listening to the experts, though, so that in a few days I will be able to give the whole schpeel myself.
……many hours later
I never had a chance to make my post from earlier so I will continue it.  Today was even more exciting than yesterday.  We were full this afternoon with volunteers and the afternoon ended up being incredibly productive.  We finally got access to a ladder and the guys made the most of it clearing out the aviary.  It looks like a completely different place and now guests will be able to actually see the birds instead of just seeing the shrubbery.
They also put some work in on a new, more permanent cage for muffin.
There was more big excitement when someone brought in a tarantula that they rescued from their garden.  It seemed very healthy so we took it down to the ravine for a big release.  At first, it didnt seem to want to leave the safety of the Tupperware but eventually it crawled away.  Hopefully it will be safe and happy in the ravine.
The checklist is almost completely checked off so Jen will be busy tomorrow morning making a new one.




Snake snacks

1 07 2010

Yesterday Arjento, the baby coati, and I went down for some play time in the crimson fronted parakeets’ old cage. He doesn’t really like to play around in new places by himself so I went into the cage with him and sat down. He climbed around my shoulder for a minute, bit my nose, ear and finger, and then decided that the dirt was tastier than I and started burrowing his nose into it.

The cage is full of worms and nuts and rich dirt, but also has several mouse holes, mice burrowing in to get the seeds that the parakeets so carelessly dropped. I sat super still, watching Arjento stick his nose into the dirt and then scrape with his claws until the found something he deemed tasty. And then in a second there was a snake whooshing across the ground straight towards him. I screamed and the snake stopped, I grabbed Arjento and rushed out of the enclosure, ran to the aviary looking for Jen. She had finished the scrubbing and was somewhere else so I kept running, Arjento trying to bite my fingers the whole time. Aren’t animals supposed to have good instincts? Shouldn’t he be a bit more upset that a snake just tried to eat him? No, apparently I was the only one with a racing heart from a near snake attack.

I passed Billy and Monty’s cage. Evan and Eric, two volunteers, were inside rearranging the cage. Earlier in the day Evan had been telling me about snakes, something like the ones we saw here were probably not the dangerous ones and probably just ate the mice. I told them I just saw a snake, and it tried to eat Arjento. They ran down to look for it but it was gone. I described it: grey, bigger than I could encircle with my thumb and forefinger, but not much bigger than that, and long. I didn’t know how long because it was partially covered by grass, but the part I saw was as long as my arm.

After investigating the area around the enclosure they said it was probably just a ratsnake and probably couldn’t eat Arjento anyway. But I know a snake heading for a nice chubby meal when I see one.

Anyway, Arjento is in a new enclosure now, between Limpet, Biscuit and the yet unnamed tamarin on the right and Sam on the left. He gets to play there during the day, he seems to love love love it. And in the mornings and evenings he comes back to his old enclosure and gets to play in the aviary for a few hours. Sans snakes.





Best Birthday Wish Ever

29 06 2010

So a local girl named Jessica just came by with her mom. Bearing gifts… bananas, several bags of other fruit, rope for the animals to play on/with and cash. Wahhooo! But why?

Jessica turned 12 on the 24th of June. And for her birthday she asked for people to bring gifts for Paradise Gardens. And they did, and today she brought all the loot by here. What a generous birthday wish! What an awesome gift for Paradise Gardens, not only the bananas and fruit and rope and cash but also knowing that people are so awesome and will forgo other birthday presents in favor of giving back to the animals. Amazing, awesome, inspiring.

Thank you Jessica! And Happy Birthday!





Subscribe Now!

28 06 2010

Look to the right of the screen! There is a new button, it says “Sign me up!” If you love Paradise Gardens, if you like reading about Paradise Gardens, if you love animals and rescue animals and reading about and seeing pictures of animals, click “Sign me up!” and follow the instructions for signing up. This will give you periodic email updates on what has been going on on this blog. And since you’re already reading this, I know you want to know!





Autopsy Results

28 06 2010

Last week was busy. Jojo died on Monday, from what we thought was a spider bite. We found the spiders on Tuesday, two brown recluses. We had moved Mic out of the cage on Monday night, suspecting correctly that the culprit for Jojo’s death might still be at large in the cage. He was in a smaller enclosure, in the garage, all day Tuesday and Wednesday. He was eating, but not eating well, and he wasn’t talking whereas normally he is super talkative. Wednesday afternoon Mic fell off his perch, dead. We had no idea why, but thought maybe we had been wrong about the spider bite and that it had been a virus or bacteria, that killed Jojo and now Mic. We got in touch with several cockatoo experts and rescues and they all said to bring Sam, our third moluccan cockatoo, who had lived right next to Mic and Jojo, inside the house to keep him warm in case he was battling an invisible illness as well. We did that, and kept an eye on Sam. We also started all the birds at Paradise Gardens on a vaccine recommended by several of the vets we talked to.

On Thursday we tried to send Mic and Jojo’s bodies to Panama City for an autopsy to find out what might have killed them and be able to better protect the rest of our birds (and other animals). No go. The airline wouldn’t take dead birds. Friday Jen had to go to Panama City anyway, to renew her passport, so she took the bodies along with her (frozen and on ice). The doctor who looked at their bodies also ran some blood tests and other tests, and we finally heard back today.

Jojo did die of a spider bite, probably the brown recluses that we found under her perch. Mic’s autopsy showed that he had nothing wrong with him. Apparently cockatoos are easily stressed and can die from stress without any other causes or symptoms. And since cockatoos mate for life, Jojo’s death was sure to have caused Mic a lot of stress. Even when Jojo was sick we noticed Mic freaking out, acting strange… but we thought that of course, like anyone who loses a loved one, he would be upset but survive. Apparently not. He died of heartbreak.

RIP Mic and Jojo