.....although there were plenty outside of the cage too. The park has had some success with breeding too. This is a mother and baby in their nest.
At the first car park a few kids will attach themselves to you offering their expert guiding 'services'. We started off with about five but after the first cage, when the boys realised we werent into buying the coconuts they were teasing the animals with, we were left with this tenacious little girl in red who followed us around on her bike offering advice as to which animals were prone to biting and which we could touch.
Some of the animals seemed happier than others. These otters for example were so busy playing and diving in their little pool they barely noticed their audience.
This is the very shy and rare Slow Loris. The Slow Loris is endangered and so absurdly adorable the Japanese pay large sums to have them as pets. The completely dependent babies are the most prized but smugglers have been known to rip out the teeth of older lorises to make them appear younger. Cambodians use the Slow Loris to make medicines. It takes three smoked lorises to make the dose of loris wine used to help relieve the pain of childbirth. The Cambodian government legally banned the trade of lorises in 2007 but as with most laws in Cambodia enforcement is piecemeal at best and even if poachers do get caught bribe money can usually be exchanged for free passage over the boarder.
There is a sizable population of sunbears at the park due to the huge trade of these gorgeous creatures. Cambodia's wild Sunbears and Asiatic, or Moon, bears enjoyed relative safety for much of the last few decades as security concerns meant sizable areas of forest were no go zones. The forests now cleared of militants and mostly cleared of mines have again become collection grounds for the illegal wildlife trade.
The much bigger Asiatic bear is caught and kept as a live reservoir for bile which is used in many traditional Chinese medicines. It is believed that more than 10,000 bears in China and 4,000 in Vietnam are kept in inhumane conditions at bear farms.
The centre also provides sanctuary for elephants rescued from a life of street performance. Like the other animals they have a huge enclosure.
Interestingly they perform here too. They dance and sway to the sounds of the makarena and when they have finished put their trunks out for donations.
These monks are watching one of the parks tigers pace the fence. This is the closest I think I have ever been to a wild tiger, only a simple wire fence between me and him. He was awesome.
Who really stole my heart (and I dare say M's too) was this gibbon. As soon as she 'saw' us, through cataract eyes, she put her mangled hand through the bars. After an introductory hand holding session she was ready to move onto head scratching moving my hand herself to the top of her head.
She is part of a breeding pair who successfully produced offspring in 2007. This is no mean feat since many of the gibbons were orphans and have very little if any experience of being parented themselves.