30 Oct 2013

Zoo Enrichment Studies

Nel signed up for several classes at the Zoo Negara, where she worked with a team of people to create an Enrichment program for an animal of choice. They chose to work on an enrichment program for an Orang Utan.

During the wonderful sessions in Zoo Negara under the guidance of Edwina,
- they learnt the basics of Research
-They learnt to observe animals and take important notes
- they got involved in animal husbandry (what an exciting thing to do, chopping food for animals and cleaning out cages!!)
- they designed enrichment program for the orang utan
-they had the opportunity to present their proposal before APE Malaysia
- They worked hands on in creating their enrichment - freezing fruits in ice blocks and sewing fruits into burlap sacks.
-They got to watch the orang utan's reaction to their enrichment program, which was positive! the orang utans loved the challenge of unwrapping food from the tightly sewn sacks.

All in all, an excellent program!!
Children presenting proposal to APE Malaysia

Nel came back to volunteer on a weekend at a booth to teach public about orang utans.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013

26 Oct 2013

Some random updates, nothing important.

Things have been so busy, that updating the blog is the last thing on my mind.
Just some random updates:

25th Oct  Jo went for a voice over audition at Canang Studio. She was very confident and did well. Apparently when the guy asked her if she spoke any other languages, she replied Latin and Spanish. Tickled they asked if she could translate the text into Spanish, to which she just giggled and said loudy, "Sorry, No, because I only knew about 20 words!"
14th Oct-
Kids and I had been busy looking after these kittens after their mum, Zora, our favourite stray, disappeared. Girls went round alleys looking for her but found nothing. So we bottle fed them kitty formula, helped them pee/poo which we found out was the role of mum. Eventually Zora came back, but looking extremely weak and sickly.
We put the kitties back to suckle...not knowing the mum had severe worm infection which could spread through milk. Sadly, 2 of the kittens passed away..and we only found out why after they began vomiting worms. It's been a tough week. We have now one kitty fighting for her life after being given deworming med, and now hope Zora will survive. My girls are learning what's it like to be a vet/animal rescuer....tough.

(update...dewormed the mother cat and the remaining kitty. Both healthy again. Dewormed the children and myself too!)

13th Oct-
 One thing I really love doing with my children is taking evening walks, sometimes at dusk, like we did today. We walked an hour, at times in silence, sometimes in conversation. "Look at the moon mama..and the only star shining in the sky! Wow!"..."Why are birds called birds and not "flutter", why is the sky called Sky and not Kly?" asked my lil one.

"Mum, I had a great time at my girl's camp..we trekked and stayed at a lovely place and I made friends with 4 other girls," my older one told me as the lil one kept her dad company. A cool breeze blew in our faces as we walked, every stress and lethargy melted off.

Even in yester years when my Jo was just a babe in a sling, and Nel just 3, I used to walk, sometimes to soothe my crying baby, sometimes to ease my tiredness, and often to spend time with my gals, "us" time. I'd show them the sparrows hopping freely on the grass, the branches of trees dancing in the wind, wild flowers creeping along slopes, glimpses of the setting sun bursting through huge trees, a lizard scampering away.
And till today, it's become a way of life for us, spending time walking in the evenings, just us. [Below..a quick watercolour sketch done just after today's walk at dusk."

9th OCt -

here's a story id like to share. Kids n I were browsing through a book sales today..books going for Rm5. As my girl showed me her huge loot, I had a mini discussion with her about why we couldn't take all the books she'd picked, because of limited cash and space.
As our discussion continued, an elderly man butted in. He said: "why are you stopping your daughter? Kids nowadays rarely read, always with some gadget. It's a great thing if she wants to. Let her take them all. Reading is like having vitamins, you learn something from every book, no matter what book, and this acquired knowledge will be stored for future use. I'm a visiting professor, and some of the students have not read more than five books in their lives. How terrible. Exams are almost worthless, but reading expands the mind." And on and on he went.
In the end he took out rm50 and shoved it into my child's hand. I refused the money and returned it to him. But he continued on a lengthy discussion about reading...and in the end, he refused to take his money back, so my child ended up 10 books richer, and I, a 130rm poorer.

(some comments I received from friends:)

 "Perhaps the visiting prof is right. Cultivating reading in children is hard work and when you have one, it is worth every cent to pay for the good books that they would read. I'd say your girl is 10 books richer and so are you! Well done!"
  • "Wow talk about random kindness and senseless acts of beauty! Wise and true words!"
  • -Agree - reading expands the mind. You are RM50 richer & I know a very very happy girl on the way
    "I totally agree with that man. Bless his heart. Thank God for wise old souls around."
  • "Reading is the best gift you give your children! Fantastic."


    6th Oct
    A card written by Nel to her daddy recently..

    "Dear daddy, I have loved you, and love you more each day. I shall still love you, young or old, as you have been very bold. Through all our years you've been protecting me, you're a great father..." etc. ( goes on an entire page and ends with Happy birthday. )
      I believe, and have read, that a father plays a very important role in the lives of daughters. A "present" father creates the feeling of security and assurance in the child that will last a life time, impacting decisions that they will make in their later life.
     My child's lament upon being told to bathe before heading to church:
    "Why must I? Why must I? I've been bathing for years and years and have never stopped. Soon I'll be smelling like a flower patch!"
    1st Oct

    "Armed" with her new turtle sarong from Turtle Conservation Center, this was how math class went with Jo. True story. Teaching an 8 year old, never a dull moment.

    Sept 30th - 
    Performed at the JB Arts Festival with Jumping Jelly Beans.
    Photo by Natalie K.
    Sept 11- 
     Kids took part in Sports Day events, and together with some friends, they ran a food stall, that managed to raise RM300 for a water filter project for the poor.

    Apart from these our coop is into 4th session on Forensic Science now, and the kids are loving it. Nel is also involved in an animal project at the zoo. Unfortunately we've been given strict instructions not to share anything. So I won't. But she's enjoying it, particularly the first session!
    (Please pardon any grammar/spelling errors.)


3 Oct 2013

Terrapin Release Sept 2013

I guess, we kinda fell in love with turtles when a friend brought us to Bentong Farm Sanctuary some years ago.

This year, my kids and I decided to adopt several terrapin nests to support conservation, and thus decided to attend the Terrapin release event. We went with two other families, and though we were just a small group, we were still treated to a very informative talk about turtles by Prof Chan Eng Heng. What a privilege. :)

Thanks Prof Chan for sharing about turtles and answering all our questions about turtles.
Pelf measuring terrapins and collecting weight data before the release. The kids initially wanted to help with this, but alas, became very distracted by the baby chicks in the backyard.

It was then time to transport the Terrapins to the river, and our children helped move terrapins into 2 large containers.

This top terrapin (with the dented shell) was adopted by one of our little friends. He named it Sweetheart, and he still misses it till today and cried buckets and buckets after releasing Sweetheart into the river.

Lifting the terrapins onto the lorry before proceeding to the river nearby.

Nel and the terrapin she adopted. It is a real tough and strong one! While all terrapins became still when turned upside down, this lil guy refused to lay still, but would struggle with all its might to turn back. See its little flipper touching Nel's finger.

Chen Pelf Nyok, the person heading the Terrapin Conservation effort in Kemaman giving a short speech, and  thanking her terrapin team for all the effort.  It's great to know that efforts have paid off, and the number of terrapins are increasing. Great job Gang Tuntung!

After the short speech ceremony, terrapins were  carried nearer to the river for release.

Jo and her little terrapin. They were reluctant to part with each other I think.

On your mark...ready....get set......Go!

Terrapins excitedly heading towards the river for their first taste of Freedom! We learnt that baby terrapins are carnivorous when young, but will turn full vegetarians when older. (hope I got that info right.)

Jo and Jo refusing to let their terrapins go. I stood near them and heard them saying lengthy prayers aloud for  their terrapins. Something about letting them survive, finding food, to be protected, long lives etc. I'm sure God heard their prayers. :)

After the release, everyone was treated to a feast of Malay food. Some of the adults went hunting for fresh paku (which we later had for dinner). The children kept thinking of the terrapins they'd released, happy for them, yet missing them.

Well, if you're keen on releasing terrapins, watch out for their announcement  on their facebook page, and sign up to receive their newsletters.
To Help in conservation, you can adopt a terrapin/nest, purchase Batik and other merchandise, become a member of TCS or simply donate to them. More information  can be found on 
Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia- Facebook
and  http://www.turtleconservationsociety.org.my/

My other posts on turtles:
Watching Turtles in the wild and tagging terrapins 20/6/11),
 Kuala Terengganu (Turtle Alley),
and Releasing Terrapins 21/May/2012.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2013

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