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Monday, March 17, 2014

Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center , Cambodia

Bear Keeper for a Day 
Phnom Tamao Zoological Park and Wildlife Rescue Center



It's our last day in Cambodia and a very special day for me. We arrived back in Phnom Penh around 6 in the morning and right away took a tuktuk ride to Lazy Gecko Guesthouse. 

Tuktuk fare: $10-$13. 

My friend took a shower while I did some packing. The feeling of leaving made me feel sad because I wanted to do more stuffs in Cambodia , yet at the same time I was excited thinking about my next travels. I was beaming with excitement with thought of exploring another country and fill in my soul's desires. 

A few weeks before we came to Cambodia I've read a very interesting article about the Phonm Penh rescue center. It was highly recommended by bloggers and travellers. I decided to drop an email regarding their rescue center and the activities they offer. We were suppose to get a jeepney jungle-like tour of the place however, the coordinator in charge had a wedding to attend to on that day. The other part of the center offers a bear keeper activity for tourist , it sounded cool so right away I booked a reservation.  

0930 Pick up for Bear Keeper for a Day 

Phnom Penh tamao wildlife rescue center
Address : National road 2, trapang sap commune, bati district, takeo province
Travel time: 45 mins from the city
Fee: $65 (feed,lunch,center tour)

Book the activity by sending them an email: bearkeeperforaday@gmail.com
Our kher money was already low so we drop by ?? bank to change some dollars. I've discovered that its more convenient to use US dollars in Cambodia and the bank offer a higher rate compared to our guesthouse. That's something, now i know what to do if ever decide to come back to Cambodia. We travel for 45 minutes or more the traffic got bad while we were trying to get out of the city proper. The pickup truck passed by mountains, rice fields and all the wonderful scenery's you find in an Asian countryside. The interesting thing about the trip is that the one who picked us up brought along his big dog.  He stayed at back of the truck along with our bags. I can actually see him on my right with his tongue tasting the air and with his bright big eyes. It was a like the road trip from the movies, one thing missing, the shouting part from the passing vehicles or showing of boobs-maybe that's too extreme! Ahahaa 

In the center we had a brief orientation about the place and the animals kept inside the vicinity. The place has been established since 2007, abuse or smuggle animals were taken in the center for rehabilitation. 

The guide showed us first three cute young cubs: one is sleeping while the other two were playing and dangling around. The sight of them reminds me of the cartoon tv series care bears, instead they're bigger, no bright colors and real. Our task for that day as a bear keeper was to feed them. A simple recipe makes up the bears diet: bananas, biscuits, honey syrup and a bundle of leafy vegetables. We were asked to place all the ingredients inside this hollow bowling ball with big finger holes. All 36 balls were filled with the bear's yummy treat and it was time to feed them. I've imagine it to be a close encounter with bears, like holding one small cub in my hands while feeding him milk in a bottle. It was not what I expected it to be. The bears were behind an electric fence and the balls were just thrown above it. It was clearly for safety purposes. I can't deny my disappointment I pictured myself to be right beside them, stroking their backs and feeding them treats. Who can blame the center for keeping everyone safe anyways, the bear's loved our homemade snacks for them. They were clever to roll over their backs while holding on to the  holes in the hollow ball, rapidly shaking it until the bananas, biscuits and vegetables falls outside the holes. The site of them devouring their food made everyone hungry. The package includes a homemade cambodian lunch in a nearby hut in the rescue center. 

The tour was cut short because we have to be in the airport by 4 in the afternoon. The person who runs the place, whose also the one who picked us up from the hotel was kind enough to send us back early for our afternoon flight. 



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