(written by Dave)
Following up on the LWOP food and people videos, we’ve made a LWOP animal video. The video and photos below are made up entirely of animals that we snapped along the road during our trip. First a few comments about the types of animals that we encountered along the way.
Australia is about weird and wonderful animals created when Australia separated from the super-continent Gondwana – kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, emus and the like. We saw our share of these, and even spotted a wild koala near the beach at Noosa. Sadly, we saw lots of dead kangaroos and wallabies as well. Outback highways filled with roadtrains that prefer to travel at night is not a good story for the nocturnal marsupials. Family pets caught our eye as well, cats and dogs mostly.
As we made our way to Asia it was quite interesting to see dogs and cats lose their position as the family pets. That’s not to say that there are no dogs and cats in Asia – quite the opposite in fact. The difference in Asia is that the dogs and cats are mostly stray, living off whatever handouts that they can find. In Thailand they seem to live on handouts from the monks in the temples or bits of leftover food at the food stalls. We saw some wild or native animals in Asia as well. We saw quite a few monkeys in the wild. In some cases monkeys were hanging out where tourist frequent, looking for handouts, but plenty of other times the monkeys were roaming freely on the roadside. They are a little scary as they can be aggressive but the little ones are pretty cute. We didn’t see any wild elephants, tigers or really rare Asian animals but we didn’t go trekking so that’s not surprising. We saw quite a few elephants in reserves. Sadly many of them were tied up in some sort of chains but other than the chains, these elephants are reasonably well looked after. So long as tourists keep coming, keeping the animals healthy is in the best interest of the animal reserves.
In terms of animals Europe can be split into roughly two buckets – the less developed, such as Turkey and the Balkans and the more developed such as Germany, Sweden, central Europe and the UK. Other than two ibis and a turkey in Turkey and the definitely misplaced wallabies in Germany, we don’t think that we saw any native animals in Europe. In the less developed countries, the cats and dogs tended to be more of the stray variety. If not stray, they at least lead hard scrabble scavenger lives in the shadows. In the more developed countries dogs and cats were family pets, cows were for farms and horses were painted red, white and green. The animals left in developed Europe are well managed and well taken care of.
Not surprisingly, generally the more developed the country, the higher the quality of life for the animals. In the really poor countries, people don’t have excess food or resources to share with the dogs and cats. And if food is scarce, then medical treatment is out of the question. Injured animals were all too common and de-sexing completely missing. If we picked up every puppy or kitten that needed a home, we’d need a bus to follow us.
Surprisingly, we have lots of photos of cute cats and dogs. Not because I liked to take their pictures but mostly because when we saw one or the other, Nancy would say, “did you get a picture of that?” Sometimes it’s just easier to take the photo!
Nancy’s favorite animal encounter: holding the baby joey in Australia
Dave’s favorite animal encounter: Getting Nancy and her sisters up on the big red horse in Sweden (ok, not a real animal, but a fun all the same)
Click here to see the LWOP animal video. Enjoy the show.