Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Animal stories (I have known)

When I first joined my last employers, major zoological exhibition, I had been working there for at least a day when a wild(ish) boar escaped (you know the type with long curly tusks) I arrived at the scene to find that the Boar was running around in a public area and so (being fully inexperienced in the ways of animals) tackled it to the ground, hiked its legs from under it, (as you do) and held it, with difficulty, on the ground. The Keepers who had a ropewith a slip knot in it, slipped it over its snout and told me to let it go, whereupon it tried to get up and shaking its head got out of the noose, I told the Keepers to get a sack and put it over its head which they did and struggled for a little longer. the head keeper wacked a sedative into it and it all calmed down. I got up and the animal was unceremoniously carried back to its cage. As I walked back to my office in disaray and nursing a broken Diving watch glass (dont you always) people started to pat me on the back as I passed saying greaet job and bloody fool and such like. It wasn`t until the Zoo manager visited my office to thank me for my assistance that I found out just how dangerous a wild boar can be!! never again!!! Yea right.

I was "safety gun", whilst tranquillising a polar bear, I had fired the dart into its rump and he was going down slowly, as he should. The pool had been duly emptied of water (because they always fall into the water when "tranked" so for safety its emptied) in the pool which is some 15 foot deep are some steps cast at one end. The bear slipped into the steps end of the pool and promptly fell asleep? I, armed with the usual 4.55 handgun and the vet, climbed down a rope into the now dry pool, the vet armed with a short scaffold pole tapped the polar bear gently on the nose whereupon it Immediately sat up looked straight at me, waved its huge front legs and turkey plate sized paws. The Vet, who was obviously much more experienced than me in matters of sharp exit from animal enclosures, climbed over me and using me as a ladder scaled the sloping pond walls, I was still standing there with the gun, shakily, pointing between the bears eyes when I realised that I was laying against the pond side and that the bear was starting to quieten down and finally "go under" the vet calling from the now securely shut bear house called out, "are you OK! Rob" I answered rather nervously, but I don`t think he actually heard me, after what seemed like an eternity he reappeared over the edge of the pool (I had no way of getting out as the walls were shere and the bear was sitting on the steps) andhe climbed back down into the pool, using a keeper held rope and did what he was originally going to do. Talk about an experience, given that the bear, whilst young, was fully grown and real mean.

It was Christmas and we needed some publicity so I dressed as Santa and with a carrot in my mouth a national press photographer, situated outside the enclosure, was taking copious photos of me stood in front of a fully grown Giraffe with a carrot in my mouth. Its great head lowered down until level with my head and gently took the carrot out of my false bearded mouth.
Snap, reload, snap went the camera and a "hold it! hold it!" from the photographer (how the bloody hell I was supposed to hold it Ill never know!) all of a sudden the beard (which obviously being designed more for use with kids than Giraffes and had massive elastic attached to it so as not to be easily detached from its wearer) started to lift away from my face as the giraffe straightened up to a point about three feet away when the elastic finally snapped.

The resultant slap on the face jarred my teeth loose. The Photographer uttered "Brilliant Got that" and sitting on my Arse in the middle of the enclosure, I nearly passed out with the pain. The Giraffe lowered it great head once again chewing heavily on the carrot and was now poised over me peering deeply into my eyes in wonderment at what she had done to this wierd human. The picture was never published, as it was thought that kids might be affected by it, what with father Christmas wearing a false beard etc, but the one of me as father christmas mouth feeding the giraffe with the carrot was! Dont have Christmasses like that anymore.

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