Category Archives: Nature, Wild Life & Environment

It’s a dog’s life

Shelter Manager’s office at Soi Dog, Phuket

I recently visited Soi Dog in the north of Phuket, Thailand. I wanted to find out more about the non-profit organisation that alleviates the suffering of animals by sterilising and vaccinating dogs and cats. Soi Dog treats sick, injured and abused animals. It also fights the cruel and illegal dog meat trade and shelters and re-homes street dogs and cats.

Can you spot me?

Natasha was my teacher and is a volunteer from Oregon in the USA. She has been travelling with her husband through India, Cambodia, Nepal and Vietnam. Now she is in Thailand and she found her way to Soi Dog two and a half months ago where she volunteers walking the dogs and conducting visitor tours.

Reception for visitors. Coffee and water. Where you meet the volunteers and start a tour.

I was one of Natasha’s pupils for an hour or so as she took us through the labyrinth of dog runs, very eloquently and knowledgeably explaining the workings of the foundation which was started by John Dalley and his wife Gill in 2003.

How do I look?

The centre currently houses 650 dogs and more than 100 cats. Since it began 135,000 dogs have been sterilised and the target is to do 80% of all the dogs in Phuket. Soi Dog has mobile facilities which are currently operating in Phangna province north of Koh Phuket. The Foundation works closely with the local towns who are responsible for informing the locals when they will be in town.

State of the art dog and cat hospital at Soi Dog, Phuket

If you get the opportunity to visit Soi Dog don’t miss it. The level of commitment to the project and the warm welcome will surprise you.

Soi Dog cat isolation unit, Phuket

The staff of approximately 150 which includes many volunteers is dedicated to Soi Dog and its aims. Its success is reliant on charitable donations and whether you visit in person or online you will feel compelled to help in whatever way you can. Even if you only pass on the news about Soi Dog you will have made a valuable contribution towards solving a worldwide problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I survived a jungle trek in Thailand

Rohun Bevan, is an ex-English tennis player, amateur jungle trekker, swims like a shark and until yesterday was a friend of mine. Over a glass of wine a week or so ago he suggested that I may like to enjoy a leisurely Saturday followed by a couple of beers and join him on the ‘Hash House Harriers’ Saturday run, which he quickly changed to walk as I choked on my drink. I hesitantly agreed and at 3.15pm on the following Saturday we assembled, along with 100+ others, at a clearing in the forest behind Tesco supermarket in the Chalong area of Phuket. Continue reading How I survived a jungle trek in Thailand

The death of Earth

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I did not know that 22nd April was ‘Earth Day’.

So, to atone for my sin – mea maxima culpa – I have put together this short post.

I feel much better already!

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.
The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have known, for more than half a century, what we have done and continue to do to the Earth . Yet despite considerable progress we still persist with destructive acts.

English: Rachel Carson, author of Silent Sprin...
English: Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Official photo as FWS employee. c. 1940. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rachael Carson told us in her absorbing book ‘Silent Spring’ published in 1962.

She puts it so eloquently when she says:

 “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.”

Continue reading The death of Earth

Balancing a love for wildlife with the demand for fossil fuel

In today’s world, when we think about preserving wildlife, it’s rare that you can mix it with the continuous use of oil and gas. The negative effects of fossil fuels on nature have long been publicized in the media. Amongst the most recent was the effects of unused oil and gas, its surrounding environment and most notably the region’s water supplies.

Texas Parks & Wildlife mentioned 4 steps to implement voluntary conservation practices:

1. Start with planning
2. Operations
3. Reclamation
4. Monitoring

There is more general guidance in minimizing impacts of fossil fuel to natural resources in a Texas Parks and Wildlife report. Continue reading Balancing a love for wildlife with the demand for fossil fuel

Fires already?

I have written many times on the subject of atmospheric pollution and although I am taking a break from blogging for a while I cannot contain my emotions when it comes to being exposed to deliberately started forest fires.

While I am managing a building project in Northern Thailand I am staying on the hill slopes of Huai Kaew village, 30 kms north of Chiang Mai, bordering the forests. The climate at this time of year is comfortable. Cool at night and early morning rising to 30c + in the day with no rain except the occasional shower.

But now the burning season starts when the monsoon rains have gone and farmers burn off the dry dead grasses and stubble to stimulate new growth next year around May/June’; then Cutting back excessive growth, clearing land and deforestation for fruit and vegetable farming.

Unfortunately making a living takes preference over self- health and the health of others. The natural environment, habitat and animal life are hardly a consideration.

Despite the annual government warnings and penalties, seldom imposed, slash and burn techniques continue unabated. Ask the locals and they will tell you ‘This is the way it has always been.’

Ask if they think it is OK and you will probably get a shrug of the shoulders or, at best, ‘What can I do’.

In other words, total apathy.

Having nearly choked to death in Phuket, due to the horrendous forest fires in Sumatra, in September/October I have a more than a vested interest in finding a solution to the Global air pollution problem.

Apart from helping to raise awareness in a small way I am virtually powerless.

And so the global problem of Global warming continues on its merry way and we all suffer the consequences.

You may say ‘The Sun will eventually destroy us so what does it matter anyway.’

I say I am thankful I have no grandchildren!!!

I leave you with this hurriedly written poem induced by indignation and wine and would like you to look at my picture of the beautiful forest I am looking at tonight which is burning as I write.

 

Why are you killing us?

Burning our land.

You have no rites of passage.

You have no right to stand

 

I watch in despair,

Each night as I laze.

Your fires that destroy us;

My lungs are ablaze.

 

The world is at war

With natures reaction,

To warming the globe

And our interaction.

 

The ice caps are melting.

The land is enveloped.

Species facing extinction.

No chance to develop.

 

I ask you again,

Please consider your brother.

Remember your learning and

How you treat your mother (Earth).