It was celebration time at the Belize Zoo today as the famous Junior Buddy, the lovable Jaguar, and the zoo staff were joined by students from Corozal for Junior’s twelfth birthday. The big cat was treated to a huge “birthday bone” and was serenaded by his tiny visitors. Founding Director, Sharon Matola says Junior Buddy is a loved ambassador for his specie.
Sharon Matola Founding Director, Belize Zoo: “The way he got here is very unique. His mom was a sheep killer and we received her in 2006. She was really ill and we focused a lot of attention of getting her in the peak of good health and we did not know she was pregnant so three months after she arrived here she had this little baby. I thought woah and unfortunately she rejected Jr. when he was two days old, cats will do that. I decided to raise Jr. as an ambassador for his species so kids and any one can come here and find out how smart they are and how beautiful they are and how important they are to the ecology and the profileof our country.”
Dalia Ical: “What is his personality?”
Sharon Matola Founding Director, Belize Zoo: “He is a very unique cat. I started training Jr. Buddy when he was only 12 days old so Jaguars are smart and they like to do things and he loves to do rolls and give people a kiss on the head when they go in the cage with him and he is a very personable cat, he loves being close to people and it is really great. The kids that were here today they saw Jr. get his birthday bone and eat it. It is just magic when you have an animal that is habituated like that. Of course you can’t put them back in the wild but what a great ambassador he has been for all Jaguars.”
Junior Buddy is a popular cat at the Belize Zoo and has celebrity status as he has even appeared on the cover of the BTL Telephone Directory.