Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fritz's Internship - Elephant Health Checks, Infant Elephant Care and Medicinal Plants

Hi, my name is Fritz Reuter, I’m 23 years old and I’m from Mclean, Virginia in the United States. I graduated this past spring from the University of Mary Washington with a B.S. in biology and in the coming years I hope to continue my education at veterinary school with a specialization in large exotic animals. I’ll be living here in Huay Pakoot for 6 months and the focus of my internship will be on elephant health with a few other things thrown in. I’ll be leading the bi-weekly health checks on our elephants that make sure they’re in tip top shape. We check their overall body as well as skin, eyes, feet, mouth and ears. I’ll also be observing and recording behaviour data for Bpee Mai, one of our baby elephants. Another project that I’m spear heading is working on a local medicinal plant log of species in this area. I’ll be hiking in the village and surrounding forests with experts from the village to find out what plants are used here, what they’re used for, and how they’re used. The plant log will hopefully be a complete guidebook of forest medicine that any new volunteer can use or can just learn from. Lastly, I’ll be part of a team that’s working on making paper out of ele poo. The trials at this point are becoming more successful, so keep your eyes peeled for Huay Pakoot Ele Poo Paper in a store near you!