Monday, July 7, 2008

Musing about PESP

The Port Elizabeth Snake Park aka PESP, last of the three old greats! Transvaal Snake Park is now a rave club and Fitsimons in Durbs is busy transforming into a parking lot (My heart is breaking for the loss of these once amazing places!!) Here at Bayworld the PESP is, quoting from Saturday's Weekend Post "a shadow of what was once the complex's other big animal attraction but now has less than 25 per cent of its former snake population, while the once popular Tropical House is being converted into a special events venue." While there is no denying that the article was very bad publicity for us, I cannot deny that we are down to 25% of what was once here. However, that does not mean that the PESP is a lost cause. In the last two years or so, since Mariƫtte and I took over (from no one) things have improved steadily. As I have just been writing for a report, our focus has been on improving our skills and techniques. The main aspect is that all the animals are healthy!! Yay, yay!! We have even bred some of the species, even though we are not consciously trying to breed any of our animals. Celebration was definitely called for with 3 clutches of Tiger snake (Telescopus semiannulatus) eggs and a baby Armadillo Girdled Lizard (Cordylus cataphractus). Yes, there are financial limitations at times, but never does this mean the animals lack in food, cleanliness, veterinary care or any of the other essential needs. Sometimes it means we can't rebuild an enclosure to the beautiful new design we feel would be perfect, but instead must get the other departments to adapt what we have, in between all the other work they are doing, or some such idea like that. Ultimately, the improvements do happen, just slower than we would hope. Good things do happen as well, out of 5 staff, 4 of us have level 3 first aid with the 5th hopefully going soon. All of the Snake Park staff as well as a couple of other staff in the complex, have recieved the best (and most expensive) training on Snake bite and Venomous Snake Handling available in this country. {If you are looking for training of this kind, Mike Perry of African Reptiles and Venom is the man to contact!!} I have been to visit numerous reptile facilities around the country and staff get the opportunity to attend conferences regularly.
The environment I work in is not perfect (and I am not talking about the fact that I face animals which can kill me on a daily basis...), but then I do live in a fallen world. I don't always see eye to eye with some of the people I work with, even sometimes with those who I must obey, and others also disagree at times, which can does not result in a positive atmosphere around the complex all the time. BUT, it is still my choice whether I will choose to react in a negative manner or look for the silver lining and how I can make the best of the situation. The truth - I often choose the negativity, cos it is easier (at least in the short term!) I know I would find less stress and probably less insane headaches if I chose to be positive, even in the face of mass negativity.
The other question would be: Why does God want me here? Watch for another musing about that...

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