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dorns’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 21 May 2005

Location: Villa Turani, Bolivia

MapHello everyone,

We are in a small Village called Villa Turani in the Bolivian rainforest. For the next three weeks we are working in the Inti Wara Yassi animal refuge. They have all sorts of animals here, from puma and monkeys to pigs and snakes.

For the three weeks I am working with a 18 month old puma called Leonsio. He was rescued from some one that was badly abusing him. Before he got here he had two of his legs broken and as a result doesnt have a great trust for humans. This makes the days quite interesting. I am working with a english guy amd the two of us are responsible for him. We spend our days walking, swimming and playing with Leonsio. Its kind of like walking a dog, in that he is on a leash. The major difference is that he decides when to walk and rest (so i guess he walks us) and if he jumps you it really hurts. Yesterday he jumped me for the first time. Its very difficult to stay calm with a puma sinking his claws into your thighs and chewing on your arm. Most of the time he is only playing but the more excited he gets the further in the claws go. Then ten minutes later we were swimming with him. He is so relaxed in the water and swims over to you, puts has paws on your arm and licks your shoulder and you forget all about the fact that he has just attacked you even though you are still shaking.

There are moch worse ways to spend a couple of weeks. Walking a puma and playing with monkeys after work. The place is run by Bolivians but almost all of the workers are backpackers from all over the world who stop in and help out. Pictures will have to wait till we get out of Bolivia as the internet is so slow here. Hope everyone is well and everything is ok.

will have more updates soon.