So far my so called “pet” experience in the jungle has been interesting, you can almost say pleasant. But the critter that really emphasises the hazards of having a “tame” jungle animal around is Wowwee aka El Diablo Macaw! This beautiful Scarlet Macaw was one of three rescued macaws. Unfortunately, the other two died from predation, which left only Wowwee. I guess the loss of the other two and the result of being the only Macaw has left her in a traumatised state. This is putting it rather mildly… if I have to be brutally honest about it, I will say that she is an unstable psychopath who finds joy in eliciting tangible fear in others. She conjurers up images of her dinosaur ancestors as she stalks the grounds of the lodge, as if she owns the place, and over the years, she has developed many OCD tendencies.
One such tendency, is her daily ritual of perusing the kitchen, starting from one corner, shuffling her way across the beams, climbing down the one pole, hopping across the floor, ending on top of the back door from where she would appear to oversee all cooking activities quite critically. The kitchen also seems to be the only neutral ground at the lodge where she will not attack you for no apparent reason. Well, at least so we thought… Poor Kevin was minding his own business and earlier even gave her some water to drink out of a cup, when she suddenly attacked his big toe. She clamped down on his unfortunate toe and didn’t even let go when Kevin threw himself on the floor and proceeded to kick the crazy bird out of sheer desperation and out of fear of having his toe decapitated by the flesh-loving maniac with feathers. Thankfully, both Kevin and Wowwee walked away unharmed from this incident, unless you count post-traumatic stress disorder as a possible side-effect, which is what Kevin seems to be suffering from whenever he hears a macaw call or the flapping of wings.
Outside ‘neutral grounds’ she is in full control of the amount of interaction that she might have with you. These interactions are not the most welcoming, as it will mostly consist of her perched on a chair or railing, sharpening her beak while staring at you with her head turned to the side. But Wowwee doesn’t hate everyone. Sometimes she finds an unsuspecting man that has enough qualities that suits her needs, and then promptly falls in-love with him. She will follow him like a love-sick puppy and become very possessive over him. Regrettably people don’t tend to stay very long here at Explorer’s Inn which has resulted in several heartbreaks for her and which only seem to add to her already unstable traumatised state. Broken hearted, she will destroy anything remotely associated with her lost love. After Gabrielle left – resulting in a major heartbreak – she somehow got into the office, where he used to spend most of his time, and launched into a destructive frenzy of unadulterated abandon. His sandals were ripped to shreds, papers were scattered everywhere and the mosquito panels were pocked full of Wowwee-sized holes. After her tirade, she positioned herself in one of these holes, with her head and neck dangling out on the outside of the office. There she stayed, eyes closed in mourning, possibly contemplating her actions, until she finally left later that evening.
Her next victim was Levi – a very sweet cook with a delicate manner and a quick smile. She fell in love in a heartbeat, poor thing. Levi will scratch her belly while she would play-bite his hand like a kitten – a complete personality change. When we play volleyball, she becomes very jealous, especially if you go too close to Levi. For some reason, my husband Daniël is not tolerated at all. Maybe it is something to do with Daniël telling Wowwee to her face that he is NOT HER FRIEND. Daniël will be playing in Levi’s team, totally engrossed in the game, when Wowwee would suddenly dive-bomb Daniël for no reason other than her jealous dislike of him. She has done this to me a few times as well. Believe me, it’s very scary to see a giant bird, claws ready to gouge your eyes out, flying at full speed towards your head, only changing direction at the last possible moment. All you can do is duck or dive out of the way while you hear a swoosh and feel a gust of wind over your head.
Sadly, for Wowwee, Levi left. Somehow, she could sense that he was not returning. The following morning she ripped out a piece of bathroom wall in the dining room. Now the question is, who will be her next victim…
The photos in this post were taken by Declan Burley. Please visit his Flicker website at http://flickrock.com/declan_burley as well as the website of the amazing project he is working on currently http://www.unchartedamazon.com/