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Belize Jaguar in USA "Spots" Light

His name is “Pat the Cat” and years ago as a young Jaguar in Belize, he called Honey Camp Lagoon home.  But trouble was in the cards for this handsome cat.  For some reason, he traded in hunting “real” Jaguar prey, like peccary and gibnut, for dinner that was easier-to-thief:  Cattle.

JaguarThe “Problem Jaguar” cattle rustler was trapped by Forest Dept officials and transported to The Belize Zoo.  He was enrolled into the “Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation Program” and the entire zoo staff was pleased at how readily he responded to his training and “tender-loving-care”. He was given the name, “Pat the Cat” by his admiring caretakers.  “Pat” soon became everyone’s favourite “Rehab” member.  Then, after 2 years as a “Re-Hab Resident”, an urgent request emerged which would serve to change his life forever, as well as alter the awareness of thousands of people about his majestic species.

The captive Jaguar population in North American Zoos was in great need of fresh genetic input.  Would TBZ consider working along with GOB and US Fish and Wildlife Service to help empower the captive Jaguar population by placing “Pat the Cat” in an important breeding program?

While all at the zoo were unhappy to say goodbye to beloved “Pat the Cat”, the conservation need in the captive population, guided their decision. “Pat the Cat” travelled to the Milwaukee County Zoo, in the state of Wisconsin.  There, he was not only presented with a very attractive “Jaguar companion” named “Stella”, Pat was also given ultra deluxe quarters where he began his new and exciting life.

What came next was phenomenal!!   “Pat the Cat” became a featured “celebrity”, both in the television and newspaper media; he has even inspired a line of jewelry!  Cookies depicting “Pat the Cat” paw prints are a favourite with kids who visit him in his Milwaukee home.  And most important, “Pat the Cat’s” visitors learn about the threats to Jaguar populations in Belize, and measures which can be taken to ensure their survival in the wild.

When Zoo Director and Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation Program Coordinator Sharon Matola recently visited “Pat the Cat”, the big question was, “would he remember his old “Belize Bud”?    To her delight, he surely did!   What a happy reunion in Milwaukee!!!!   

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