At Koh Thmei Resort there were a number of animals that we spent varying amounts of time around. Slightly less time with the wild animals, and more with ones like the pigs, ponies, dogs, and birds.
The pigs live in a big fenced enclosure at the back of the resort, by the generators. Well placed, when the generators are turned on in the morning and again in the evening they’re just barely audible from the bungalows. So most guests don’t even know the pigs exist. They did the job of eating the restaurant leftovers. The ponies have a small stable near the pigs, but only spend nighttime there. During the day time they’re turned loose and roam the island until they return for evening carrots and their dinner. During the wet season, water levels and wave directions mean that the supply boats have to land on the beach further from the resort. When planning for this, Michael and Kavita decided they did not want a mechanical solution, and settled on pony power. There is a small cart that one of the ponies pulls, carrying the supplies. Later, the lesson was learned that ponies are social, so a retired pony was found to be friends with the working pony. It was a great sight to see the two come trotting back down the beach each evening after the day’s adventures.
Then there are the dogs. Two are friendly (Willie and Balloo) and two not so friendly (Amy and Kmao). You might be wondering why a resort would have unfriendly dogs. Khao is blind, and therefore gets nervous easily. It’s not that he’s unfriendly, just that he needs some space to be comfortable. Amy, on the other hand, was very willing to bark (loudly!) and snap at anyone she had not known for at least a month. This poor dog had been saved by Kavita as a puppy from an abusive situation in a Cambodian village. It was no wonder she had “trust issues”. Willie and Balloo were really cute, really friendly and would often follow us along the beach.
There were birds as well. I mean, there were birds all over the island of many types (sea eagles, hornbills, kites), but Michael and Kavita had saved two smaller species as babies and raised them. They were both given freedom during the day and would fly back to their cages at night.
There were also some bats that seemed to enjoy “hanging out” in the restaurant bathrooms. In order to prevent bat poop from piling on the floors, I engaged in a constant effort to chase the bats out (while coming no where near them!)
Lastly, there were fish, dolphins (I saw them only once through binoculars, but they were there!), snakes (of which I only saw one while hiking in the jungle), lizards (one of which spent time in the trees around the resort and occasionally fell out of them), and a LOT of geckos. We spent many nights watching the larger geckos stalking the bugs that were attracted to the restaurant’s lights.