Another typical day…

8 07 2010
Today has been another exciting day here at Paradise Gardens.
First, some good news.  We gave Athena another chance to eat a mouse and she was victorious!  After playing with it for a little while,she actually ate it.  We also witnessed another important behavior that shows that she is on her way to becoming a wild animal.  When we first released the mouse into her cage, one of her kitty roommates went for it and she actually attacked the kitty and claimed the mouse for herself.  Don’t worry, the kitty wasn’t hurt…just startled.  
The other big excitement of the day was that the lovebird’s cage door was left open and one escaped.  Everyone is very concerned because he could easily become prey to any number of other animals…especially the falcon, who had gone missing this morning and missed her morning feeding.  Of course, the falcon showed up shortly after the lovebird’s escape so there was a stressful few minutes while Jen ran to get the falcon’s breakfast and the rest of us kept a nervous watch on the lovebird.  
This has been a big day for acquiring new animals, too.  First, Jen came home with a little, tiny baby kitty.  Then Ryan came back with a bunny.  Neither of these are the kinds of wild animals that Paradise Gardens is supposed to be acquiring  but they are both adorable.   We just got a phone call that a woman found a baby “ant bear” that was being sold on the side of the road.  We will know in about an hour what exactly it is…anteater?  coati?




Athena – Not quite a huntress

7 07 2010

We decided to work with Athena, the baby Jaguarundi, today on her hunting skills.  We had caught some mice in the aviary which we figured would make great prey for her.  Her kitty friends were released for a morning of freedom so it was a good chance for her to practice her hunting skills without any help from the cats.

We learned that she still needs a LOT more practice!  After 3 mice and a bird, she didn’t actually catch and eat any of them.  She did get some good exercise and had some good fun playing around but in the end, all of the little critters lived to see another day.  If you look closely at the picture you can see the cute little mouse.





Another awesome video!

20 06 2010

Some people are really awesome. Some people come here and take awesome photos and send them to us (if you have awesome photos, send them to us! paradisegardensboquete@gmail.com). Some people take awesome videos and send them to us (same, same). Some people take awesome videos, edit them together, narrate and post them on youtube and send them to us. How. Awesome. Is. That.

Click here for Awesome.

This videos a bit old… the Hyacinth Macaws (the bright blue ones) are gone. Sumi the kinkajou is gone (the animal at the very beginning of the video, yawning with her long tongue). Han Solo the squirrel monkey is gone. The particular jaguarundi in this video is gone, but we have another one, just a cub, here now. But the message is still the same. We are not a zoo, we do not buy or sell animals. We are a rescue for animals who would not make it in the wild. We welcome guests and invite them to interact with the animals when it is in the best interest of the animals to have human interaction (for example the birds that will be here forever need talking to, Sam the Moluccan cockatoo loves getting his head scratched). We release animals as soon as they are able to survive in the wild. Anyway, great video, halfthrottle, and thank you so much for sharing it with us!





Introductions Galore: Athena, the jaguarundi kitten

4 06 2010

Remember, I mentioned last week that we were writing new introductions for all the animals? We prettied them up and posted them on all the enclosures so people could read about the animals as they saw them. We are also working on a new guidebook as the one we have now is very out of date, many of the animals in it have been released or passed away and we have many new animals that are not mentioned in it.

But while we are working on that I will share with you a few more of the introductions we have written up…

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Hestia, the calico kitten and Athena, the jaguarundi cub, asleep on their perch.

Hi! My name is Athena!

I am a jaguarundi, a relative of the Ocelot and Jaguar, just a little smaller.

A farmer near Boquete was plowing his land for a new field and accidentally ran over my den. When he noticed that he had run over my den he immediately stopped the tractor and turned off his headlights. My mother had carried off my other brothers and sisters (we were too small to walk) but she was too scared to come back for me. The farmer waited nearby watching to be sure no other animals hurt me but my mother didn’t come.

The next day the farmer took me to Paradise Gardens. At first I had to be bottle fed but now I eat raw meat. I will be released when I am bigger so I need as little human contact as possible. Please don’t talk to me or come close to my cage! Since I have no human interaction I have 2 house kittens as companions. They are older than me and we play together. We are also learning to hunt by chasing mice in the aviary. We have caught a few. Luckily we are small enough that we can’t catch the birds (although we’d like to!).

When I grow up I will be a solitary hunter until I am a mother. Then I will be a caring mother and feed my young until I have taught them to hunt on their own. I will live 10 to 20 years.

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Athena is growing much bigger and more fierce now, although she is still smaller than the kittens she lives with. They are all becoming fierce hunters and although the kittens are faster and more adept Athena is fiercer. She will go after birds without hesitation whereas the kittens are cautious, and she dominates the food bowl… the kittens don’t get to eat until Athena has chosen her piece of meat and dragged it off.  However Athena is also very attached to her kitten friends (they are named Artemis and Hestia) and she cries when they are both out of the cage. Her cry is this tiny peep, again and again, not at all like a cat’s meow. It’s earned her the nickname “Peeps.”





Moving Day!

26 05 2010

Yesterday several of our babies got new homes here at Paradise Gardens!

The possums, as our newest arrivals had been in the nursery (aka the laundry room) for their first week here. But they are beginning to be able to crawl, and they are not needing as much help anymore with pooping, so we decided it was time they had a bigger enclosure as soon as possible. That way they could have some play space when they are ready to play, they could learn to climb and even hunt bugs we put it. The nursery was altogether too small for them to grow much more in. There are always a few empty enclosures around Paradise Gardens, either babies that have gotten big enough to move into a larger enclosure, animals that have been released, or animals that have been switched (for example, soon we will be able to put Manolo in with the other two Capuchin monkeys, Monty and Billy and they will all go into a larger enclosure freeing up two small ones).

There was an empty enclosure perfect for the baby possums. It had been the home of Argento the Coati when he was smaller but he had since been moved into a larger enclosure on the porch where he could run and climb more. His old cage was pretty much perfect for the opossum babies for two reasons: one, it was big enough for them to play and grow for at least another month, maybe two, but not too big for them to get lost in now while they are still so tiny, and two, its in a corner where people don’t go as often and where its a little darker and quieter. They will be able to sleep all day long and wake up and play at night, like they would in the wild!

Possum orphans new home here at Paradise Gardens

We put a box and a blanket for them to sleep in their new enclosure, a few branches and boxes for them to climb and play on, and a plate of milk and banana. They haven’t been eating on their own yet but we thought they might be ready, so we only fed them once in the morning, once in the afternoon and then left our the milk and banana overnight. As nocturnal animals we hoped they would wake up and eat up in the night, while we were asleep. In the morning Jen checked their milk and banana plate… and it was all gone! And they didn’t seem interested in the milk we usually give them first thing in the morning, so it seems they are adjusting to eating almost completely on their own. Now we will need to catch bugs so they can learn to catch and eat those.

We had two other big moves yesterday. The kittens have been too big for their cage for a week or two now, they had room to crawl and climb and jump but not to all out run. We had somewhat remedied this by getting them out into the aviary from eight to ten every morning, before guests arrived, and letting them run, chase each other, perhaps maybe someday actually catch a mouse. And we had a new enclosure in mind for them, we just had to get it ready. There were some holes in the mesh wiring that had to be repaired, and then we used black mesh fabric, saved from a destroyed trampoline, to block the kittens (and jaguarundi cub, of course) from view. This way visitors touring Paradise Gardens wont be tempted to talk to the kittens of stick their fingers in and pet them. And the kittens wont have a view of people. It not important for the two house kittens but for the jaguarundi it is essential that he get as little exposure as possible to humans. If he is too accustomed to humans he is likely to approach them in the wild expecting them to provide food or shelter, and instead be killed or injured. Humans are the biggest threat that exists for large wild cats, both because we are their main predators and because of the habitat loss incurred by human settlement and consumption.

The kittens new enclosure... only visible from inside their old enclosure and perfect for climbing, running, playing and learning to hunt!

These tarps protect the Jaguarundi and the kittens from seeing people... unless those people are over 9 feet tall!

Inside of the kittens and jaguarundi's new enclosure: plenty of room for running and climbing!

Our third rehoused animal was Arjento, our baby white-nosed coati. He had been at first in the possums new enclosure, then in another enclosure near the house but larger and with more light. But he is getting to be a great climber and is so active, he needed more space. We moved him into a larger and very tall enclosure out by the garage. It is important that he has a tall cage as he is a tree climber in the wild and he does love to climb, so now his new cage is about nine feet high.

Inside of Arjento the coatis new enclosure.





Jaguarundi Learns to Hunt, Part Two!

23 05 2010

Jaguarundi learns to hunt in the aviary

So we called around to the big cat rescues we have been in touch with and asked about how we could improve the baby jaguarundi’s hunting skills. She is living with two house kittens right now and we’ve been trying to catch mice everyday to throw in their cage. The problem is that the kittens are a bit older and a bit more advanced than the jaguarundi and so they catch the mice but, when we put three mice in the jaguarundi kitten tries but usually her mouse escapes through the wire of the cage. She isn’t fast enough and sometimes we only catch two mice in a night so we put them in and only the kittens get the mice. So the new idea… let the jaguarundi out to catch mice.

The mouse population in the aviary is out of control. Every time I go in there I see mice everywhere, stealing the birdseed and the bananas we leave out for the birds. We try to put the food in places that mice would have trouble getting to but they are smart mice. So it seemed to be the perfect place to let the jaguarundi loose to learn to hunt.

We tried it yesterday morning and this morning. We let the jaguarundi out by himself at first but he just sniffed the ground and the rocks and walked very slowly and cautiously. So we put the two kittens in there with him. They didn’t exactly get mice but they learned to stalk and pounce… each other.

Jaguar cub and Kitten Stalk each other

Stalking each other in the aviary

We tried it again this morning, first the white cat by herself. She seems to be the best hunter (we named her Artemis after the greek goddess of the hunt) so we thought that if she caught a mouse she could then show the others how. She chased the mice and caught two. Each time she ran around for a bit with them in her mouth, apparently looking for a good place to set it down. Each time she set it down in a corner, batted it around a bit, picked it up again, set it down and then it escaped. So we brought the other kitten (we named her Hestia in honor of the goddess of the hearth, also Artemis’s buddy, or so it is said) and the jaguarundi (Athena, goddess of war, buddy of Hestia and Artemis) and set them loose. They seemed to have no interest in controlling the burgeoning mouse population.  Instead the pounced on each other, again and again and again. So no mice caught but maybe its good practice.