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Wednesday, May 23, 2007


Whenever i find time during the weekend and happen to be in KL, I always opt for zoo work. At one time, years ago, while i was doing my MBA and still actively performing, I volunteered everyday at the Reptile House. The cleaning, washing, feeding and all services needed for lizards, crocs, snakes and tortoises went on for 4 months. Like full-time work only without pay, i did it feeling honestly privileged:) Really, if you love animals, have the urge to be around them or feel a certain calling to protect and care for them, the zoo is the kingdom of heaven.

My childhood dream of being a vet may not have been realized...perhaps never will, but my goal in being upclose with animals and care for them, did. Of course, I've also volunteered for WWF at the Ma'Daerah Sea Turtle Sanctuary in Kemaman, which became my yearly routine, visited The Elephant Sanctuary in Lanchang but those were very different experiences altogether. Zoo Negara became my second home - a home 5 minute's drive away from home :)

Zoo Negara has many sections. I had the privilege to have, from chimpanzees throwing feces at me to get chased by king cobras, from treating injured flamingos to hatching crocodile eggs, my job to enrich the lives of the sun bears and orang utans became an enrichment of my own life.

Dr. Abraham who was one of the zoo vets at that time, is my hero. He took me under him because I had specifically requested to work with reptiles and that was his area of expertise. That's rare i thought, a reptile vet in Malaysia. Plus he's my age, pretty young for a person his calibre. Yay! I came to the right place! Turned out, 4 months of learning and handling snakes, overcoming fear, building reptile enclosures, treating diseases of sorts, all the new human friends I made who share my interests - what have i done to deserve all this!

Really, how many get close enough to look into the kind eyes of a giraffe, close enough to feel the breath of a tiger's thunderous roar, cudddle & play with a baby orang utan called Katie or repair the shell of a giant galapagos tortoise? Or witness how one such Dr. Abraham calmly pins the head of a king cobra to the ground when in threat display with only one finger like he has magic powers. Or simply the chance to hold a gibbon - a monkey species you hear from deep in the jungle but hardly ever seen.

Really, the best things in life ARE free.

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