The baby margay was very scared and simply stared at us. He was maybe one or two pounds at the most. In the cage he came in he tried his best to disappear in to a corner – we were glad to know that he would be in a much happier habitat soon.
The next day I coaxed him in to a cat carrier – appropriately a leopard print – with some tuna on a plate. He seemed to be hungry enough since he went right in the carrier and I was able to zip him in for the trip from Corozal to Belize City. So my friend and I plus another family all piled in to the vehicle and headed off to the zoo – we figured that we may as well make a day of it. I had yet to see the Belize zoo so I was excited to make the trip. We had called the zoo previously to make sure this was the best thing to do with the cat and they assured us it was and that they would take him in.
The trip to the zoo was about an hour and a half but we finally made it. The skies were a bit cloudy and there was some light rain but we were determined to see all the animals. It was probably ideal weather for viewing the animals since the hot sun wasn’t beating down. First things first though, we stopped in at the front desk and told the attendant there that we had the margay to turn over to them. They hustled around trying to find the correct person to check the cat out so they told us to go ahead and make our way around the zoo while they figured it out.
We made our way through all the exhibits and, as suspected, the weather was perfect because we saw all but one animal that day. Most of the animals were in plain sight and walking around their enclosures. The experience really felt as though we were simply walking through the jungle observing each of these animals. There are over 125 animals at the zoo, all native to Belize and each exhibit provides a brief summary of the animal with a few facts. I have visited the zoo in Portland, OR many times but this provided an entirely different experience. I had never seen most of the animals that I had the privilege of viewing at the Belize zoo. The kids were especially excited about each animal – there was some brief hesitation from some of them at first since they weren’t sure what they would be seeing, but that quickly went away and they were all running around to see the next animal.
The kids all decided that they liked the tapirs the best – probably because it was the one animal they were actually able to touch. It was the first time I had seen a tapir though a few of my friends have seen them in the wild here. After an hour or so we had seen it all and the kids were getting tired so we headed back to the front desk to see what had become of our little margay. The carrier was empty and they were busy checking him out so now he’ll be safe in his new home at the zoo.
If you happen to make a trip to Belize in the future or you are here and haven’t been to the zoo yet; make sure that activity gets put towards the top of your list. It’s a very worthwhile experience and a must see if you spend any time in this country. Hopefully in the next year I’ll make another trip to the zoo to visit that little cat and see how he’s doing.