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#478951 - 12/04/13 04:17 AM The Zoo’s Aggressive New Jaguar
Marty Online   happy
The last time that the Belize Zoo that to intervene to save a Jaguar was July of last year, when they rescued the black jaguar "Lucky Boi". Well, they are currently trying to train another jaguar, this one who is known as Edgar Hill.

He is the second problem jaguar that the Zoo has had to adopt from the Pine Hill area in Toledo. After a mere 12 days in captivity at the zoo, the caretakers allowed us to meet Edgar Hill. Daniel Ortiz got up close to him and has this report:

Daniel Ortiz reporting
Edgar Hill, the newest addition at the Belize Zoo's jaguar population, is shy and not very friendly at the moment. That's to be expected, however, because he's only been there for 12 days now. He became the 16th jaguar at the zoo after the Forestry Department handed him over. It was either captivity or euthanasia. He is a problem jaguar who had become a possible threat to humans.

Sharon Matola - Founding Director, Belize
"Edgar Hill was rescued on the 21st November. The behavior that you are seeing is typical behavior of a wild caught jaguar who is just settling in. It was the Forest Department that called us and told us that this cat is a problem, he was stalking villagers. He actually was accused of getting ready to attack a horse and buggy in the Mennonite community of Pine Hill. They told us that if we can't take him in to our program they will have to euthanize him. Of course we took him in. These jaguars are extremely valuable animals. They are used for education and research."

So why is he so aggressive?

Sharon Matola - Founding Director, Belize
"This guy is very young, he has a noticeable damaged right eye which I suspect led to his becoming a problem jaguar and so we didn't tranquilize him to move him. The Mennonites trap him in a trap and our crew went down there, Forest Department, Pantera and the Belize Zoo Animal Management Team brought him to the zoo in the darkness. It was nice and cool for him and now he is getting settled in. What you are seeing is typical behavior. If you weren't here, he would come up. He does eat out of my hand and he already learnt how to give a hi-5."

He is one of 12 problem jaguars who Matola trains and works with every day, apart from the rest of the zoom population, which the public gets to see.

Sharon Matola
"We worked with the cats every day, so that's my job. He is really coming around, he is a lovely animal."

Daniel Ortiz
"Can you describe his behavior when you first met him and explain about how his behavior has changed somewhat. We've notice that he is still shy about coming close to meet strangers and you are obviously not a stranger to him anymore."

Sharon Matola
"At first he was not very friendly towards me or to anyone, but the trick is just to spend time, have food and give them positive reinforcement. He has changed his behavior significantly and I am here as I said every day for at least a half an hour in the morning and in the afternoons."

Matola is trying to come up with the best plan to get Edgar Hill fully integrated at the zoo.

Sharon Matola
"We are going to after he gets his medical check in January, we will be moving him next another jaguar. If you are here at night, it's a different zoo. The jaguars vocalize to one another; they know that each other is around. It's a way that they keep active both mentally and physically they kind of walk in front of each other - they have a good time."

"The long range plan is whatever the situation demands, we have jaguars, if one of our jaguars dies on exhibit, we have a trained jaguar we can moved out there and still use an education animal for the public. Otherwise we have researchers that come here and they use these jaguars to test their photo equipment or other resources that they use in the field. It's a very valuable site and the only place in the world that this occurs."

Matola estimates that based on the cats physical traits, Edgar Hill is about 4 or 5 years old. Jaguars have a natural lifespan of 20 years.

Channel 7

#478958 - 12/04/13 04:40 AM Re: The Zoo’s Aggressive New Jaguar [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy

Problem cat being held captive at the Belize Zoo

Edgar Hill, like Richard Parker in the Life of Pi, is a problem cat.  Prior to being held captive at the Belize Zoo, the jaguar roamed freely in the forest near Pine Hill, a Mennonite community in Toledo.  What drove the big wildcat to terrorize its residents can be attributed to any number of reasons, including an injury to one of his eyes.  When the Forest Department was summoned to the area to capture him, personnel from the Belize Zoo were immediately contacted and asked if they would adopt Edgar into their rehabilitation program.  It was either that or be euthanized.  That was three weeks ago and since then Edgar has been relocated and is undergoing extensive therapy at the Belize Zoo.  Director Sharon Matola told News Five today that despite his progress during the upcoming weeks, he will not be released into the wild.

Sharon Matola, Director, Belize Zoo

Sharon Matola

“He is newly rescued. His name is Edgar Hill and he came to us around the 21st 22nd of November. He was misbehaving down in Pine Hill in Punta Gorda, Toledo district I should say. And he was actually accused of getting ready to molest a horse and buggy so he was being a bad boy. So the Mennonites captured him in a trap and the forest department called us and said can you take this cat as a part of your program? If you can’t we have to euthanize him. So we jumped on that and brought him in here and now he is going through the initial process of becoming a problem jaguar rehab jaguar. And that means getting use to people and feeling comfortable with his captive situation. Unfortunately we can’t release him back into the wild. He has a damaged right eye which I think contributed to him becoming a problem jaguar. But he is going to join the troops and the troops are very valuable. They are used for education, they are used for research and if this place weren’t here there will be fourteen dead jaguars. I can’t say it more concise than that so we not only have saved the lives of these cats but they add to the persona of Belize of being a country that cares for its natural resources and we are all very proud of that here.”

Edgar Hill becomes the fourteenth jaguar in captivity at the Belize Zoo and will be the subject of behavioral and veterinary research.

Channel 5


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