Wild and Free

I love national parks and camping in the wild. It started with my life in Australia, where wild possums and wild parrots hang around like its their natural habitat right outside my windows. That was the time I understood that wild life is happy out in the wild, and that human beings should not always be so selfish in wanting to domesticate them. It is not like we own these other beings co-sharing our eco-system (“oh, they are so cute, I want to keep them at home in pretty cages”).

It was sort of cute hearing wombats scavenging the dustbins and the rustling of the plastic bags and tin cans when they were in action. At the same time, it was a tad bit scary having seen the posters warning us about their aggression and diseases. Possums were just blind things that scare us as they ninja across our noisy metal roofs, yet their glowing eyes pierce right through like supersonic weapons during full moon nights. I love them anyway. We also had wild kangaroos lazing around the campuses, it was good to watch, but not good to go near because they really do boxing and flying kicks. Wallabies were less threatening, and I remember us stopping by the roadside so my brother (a city boy!) could feed one bread. Hmm. Not exactly the right thing to do, but it asked for it with its pleading hands and my bro had never come that close with wildlife prior to this.

Wildlife is not always cute and fluffy though. Through my travels, I had also come across the Taipan stalking our 4WD, saltwater crocodiles, freshwater crocodiles, the most beautiful wild stallion I have ever seen in my life, wild pigs (not boars). And of course, the aquatic animals too – I swam with dolphins, glared at sea lions, avoided jellyfish, and shared a space with all sorts of gigantic ugly fish that would have freaked me out completely had I worn proper goggles.

My latest contact with a different species in their natural habitat was in Pai, northern Thailand. Our team went on a 2-day kayaking trip, and we camped and ate in the national park which was not exactly wild. There was a white-handed gibbon (credit goes to BFF for helping me identify this “monkey” 3 years later) which was rolling around our tents, tables, and stalking us for food. It was very¬†tame. Just give it food. And drinks. I suppose it drinks English Breakfast. Just look at how it was cuddling up to the two ladies. I was avoiding it like mad, because ¬†… City Girl … I was concerned about diseases, and whether it bites. Or claws. Or … makes me sneeze. I had fun watching them behaving like old buddies though, hence all these pics. It hung out the whole time we were there, and even hiked with us to the cave across the river.

Ah well. Counting down ten days to California. Not sure how much wildlife I will get to see since this is not exactly a good time. I hope and pray that they are doing fine. In Australia, fire is part of the ecosystem to regenerate the forest. I hope it is the same case here, and that the eco-system is in good enough balance that this is for the greater good. Obviously not a very scientific rant here, but … well … Speaketh my heart.

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