Junior Buddy is a jaguar that was born at the zoo. His mother was a rescued and rehabilitated jaguar, and she came pregnant to the program. Zookeepers have been working with Buddy his whole life, which means he is somewhat trained... for a 145 lb lethal weapon in a fur coat.
The zookeepers work as a pair. One lures Buddy into a side cage, the other lures...us... into a cage inside Buddy's enclosure and locks it.
Then he calls... 'here, kitty kitty'. Actually, he really called 'commeer Buddy!'
I asked if I could pet Buddy, and the zookeeper said, yes as long as you don't put your fingers in his mouth.'
Wasn't really tempted anyways.
His fur wasn't soft at all. It was really coarse, like one of those coconut-fiber door mats.
He was pretty playful, the zookeeper bribed him with chicken feet and he did somersaults for us.
Daniel got his forehead licked too. Buddy is only supposed to lick you if you are bald, but the zookeeper let him lick me because it was my birthday. He totally surprised me though- he just grabbed my head and kept his hand over my hair without telling me what was going on, and then all of a sudden I was being licked. By a very big, VERY rough tongue.
look at those amazing spots.
We were in the cage for maybe 20 minutes, and then afterwards the zookeeper put a chicken foot out so Buddy would pose for our pictures. You can tell Buddy just loves it.
More to come!