My first experience with a cougar (Puma concolor), mountain lion, in Belize
While leading a group of tourists to learn about the Mayan ruins of Belize and adjacent Peten, we heard about a local person who had a puma wandering around his house.
Since I wanted to learn about felines, I asked if I could get to know the puma, in-person. Note: this was an adult puma, not a cub.
So the puma was let loose in a field for me to interact with it. Note: no fence, no wall, no collar. This puma was able to run, jump, go wherever it wanted to.
Of course I wanted to have the puma pose with me. So I asked Eldon Leiter to use my Hasselblad and take a snapshot. But he was so nervous that the puma would attack him (and then eat me for desert) that he was not able to focus. So the photo is a tad out of focus.
I am glad that I had not read the book by Paula Wild, The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous. This book describes every fatal puma attack on men, women, and children in the USA. This book also describes all the kinds of injuries from people who crossed the path of a puma (faces torn off the skull, arms torn out of the socket, etc).
But since I want to interact, in-person, with animals, so I can learn their personality, I simply sat down and tried to reach an understanding with the puma.
Mayan comic book character list, names, with pictures
With each Mayan animal I try to get to know the animal up close and in-person.
- So for jaguars, I play with them.
- With white-collared peccary, I play with one.
- With tapir mother and tapir baby, I interact with them
- with a keel-billed toucan, I feed them by hand
- With a crocodile I raise one in my house (that we rescued after local kids tried to kill it in target practice with a gig (a fishing spear).
But we seek to show the plants and animals of the Mayan civilization to the world, and our style is to obtain knowledge first-hand and in-person.
I have definitely learned a lot about flora and fauna from having been in Mesoamerica since 1962.
Posted January 18, 2016.