Yesterday was exciting. It was sunny and nice too. We did laundry and it actually dried.
Jen was in David to pick up fruits and veggies and new bird seed for the animals. And meat. I spent the evening bagging meat, yum. You too can chop up and bag and freeze various mystery cuts of slimy raw meat if you come volunteer at Paradise Gardens.
So while she was in David I had about ten volunteers. Three younger kids, one Panamanian American woman, an Argentine, a Brit and a Texan and two other Americans. So nine. Not ten. But lots anyway. We got all the basic maintenance and care done, one of the kids, Isiah fixed a hole the jaguarundi kitten had ripped in her cage that morning as I was feeding her (she is still very small, smaller than the house kittens who live with her, but she is wild as wild can be. While she was ripping the hole, and growling and drooling, trying to get to the meat, the house kittens sat looking on, the white one licking her paws and the brown one just patiently waiting for me to swing the swing feeder back around).
Lucky for us we got so much done early, and that we had so many volunteers. About half way through the morning a woman pulls in and she and her daughter start unloading bunches of bananas. I help them and she tells me that her daughter’s 12th birthday was on the 24th and that in lieu of birthday presents she asked for donations for Paradise Gardens. She got bananas, rope, palm nuts, and cash and brought them all over to us. What an awesome birthday wish! Inspiring.
Then a massive group came in, three different families. I was telling them a bit about the park and most of them wandered off but a tall blonde woman with lots of make up and an overly active cellphone asked me “So how do you get the animals in here?”
“Well, they come here all sorts of ways, some are injured or abandoned by their mothers and people bring them in, some are pets that people have taken out of the forest as infants and kept as pets but then they grow up and are not as sweet and cute anymore and are quite hard to take care of so they bring them here.”
“So you accept peoples pets?”
“Yes, that is how a lot of our animals get here.” I was about to go on telling her about how many animals, especially monkeys and big cats, seem like great pets as babies but rarely are people able to give them the environment they need and that they get rough, not necessarily aggressive but they are naturally rough and pet owners don’t get that when they buy a baby. But she interpreted me.
“I have an ocelot. Can I bring him by?”
I was shocked. People are such idiots. But that wasn’t even the beginning.
“He used to be tame but he has just gotten too wild. I only live here part of the year and so my gardener was supposed to take care of it but he wasn’t aggressive enough in keeping it humanized. So now I come back and it is just too wild. Can I bring him here?”
Someone who only lives here part of the year thinks they can have a pet ocelot?!
“Yes, we have had ocelots before and released them, but you would have to get in touch with us and let us know more about him so we could get ready to take him.”
“Yeah, well, I had one before and he was great but then when I was back in the States he escaped and ate the neighbors parakeet. They sent him to the zoo.”
She had two ocelots? And neither worked out? Because the were too wild? Am I using too many question marks? Well, they are wildcats, dummy. They are called wildcats because they are not tame, they are WILD. Not cool to try and put them in a cage. Not cool to take them out of the forest.
Anyway, she kept talking and I kept nodding and restraining myself from tackling her and locking her up in a cage or putting her on a leash, or just giving her a good knock on the head and seeing if it could jiggle some of her brains into the “on” position.
She left and took a self guided tour, and when she came back she told me “Oh, I think the one I have might be a margay as well, he looks more like the one you have, and he is always hanging from trees.”
Yep. Could be a margay. She got our number and left, saying she would call us about bringing in her un-tame pet margay/ocelot. Unfortunately a margay that has been kept in captivity for the first couple years of his life will not be able to be released, at least not without far more preparation than we can give him. Humans will be the biggest threat to him in the wild yet he already associates them with food and would approach a human or a household and be killed, out of fear or for meat. We’ll see if she actually brings in a margay. Or an ocelot. I mean, we would rather have it here than have it be released and eat somebody’s cat or parakeet and them be shot. And I’d rather have it here than having living in neglect at her house. But really, why don’t people figure it out, these are wild animals. Don’t take them out of the forest! Don’t buy them from people who take them from the forest!
So tally of the day: 1 awesome kid, 1 idiot adult.