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Pat the Great Cat

Pat the catThe story of Pat the Cat is truly extraordinary.  Years ago, Pat was trapped for his crime of being a “cattle killing Problem Jaguar”.  He entered the just-beginning Belize Zoo Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation Program, PJRP, and  became a favourite of TBZ keeper staff.  The boy simply had -lots of cat-charisma and character. An important part of the PJRP included sending these “can’t-be-released-back-into-the-wild jaguars” to quality zoological institutions in North America.  Why?  There is a dire need for fresh genetic input in the captive jaguar population.  Healthy genes equals healthy cats.

 

Officials visiting from The Milwaukee County Zoo were enchanted by Pat the Cat.  Wheels went into motion, Belize and US Fish and Wildlife Service agreements were made, and then Pat was provided a “jaguar-visa”.  This began the long journey from his homeland Belize to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His Milwaukee Zoo friends and fans went into action and soon, Pat the Cat became a big star.  Graphics were developed, telling the thousands of visitors at the Milwaukee Zoo about Belize, the jaguar issues faced by our nation, and efforts being made to save the remaining wild cats for future generations.  What an outstanding jaguar ambassador Pat the Cat turned into!  Christmas decorations in Pat’s image were developed, jewelry, and even cookies with a “Pat the Cat” pawprint emerged – all in praise of Belizean-born-and-raised, ”Pat the Cat”.


Then, a unique project was introduced starring Pat the Cat with serious implications for vital  childhood education. Headed by the SHARP LITERACY PROGRAM, the project was designed to feature Pat the Cat  in a story outline – HIS story!  The author?   Not one writer, but many, many authors.  Children both from Milwaukee, where Pat the Cat now lives, and Belize, Pat’s original homeland, joined together to write the exquisite story about this sensational jaguar.  The text, in both Spanish and English, is accompanied by stunning artwork.  The children, clearly all love Pat the Cat, and also and so important, they  are knowledgeable about the conservation issues facing the last great wildcat of the Americas, the Jaguar.  The sharing of facts and information between the thousands of kids involved, spells out a brighter future for jaguars everywhere. Pat the Cat book launch


Belize Zoo officials, joining with the dynamic people from SHARP LITERACY,  as well as with “Pat the Cat’s big fan club from the Milwaukee County Zoo, gathered in Belmopan for the “kickoff” of one of the most  creative animal stories ever written:  BY kids.  FOR kids. And on behalf of jaguars EVERYWHERE!  Further fantastic input was provided by the Children’s Choir of Belmopan, who sang a song dedicated to Pat the Cat!!!!!   Those kids rock!   Keep an eye out for this exquisite book effort, very appropriately titled, PAT THE GREAT CAT: A JAGUAR’S JOURNEY.


 

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