The Belize Zoo has been called "The Best Little Zoo in the World" and it is our mission to see that our visitors receive outstanding wildlife experiences when they come by. Starting in August 2009 zoo visitors will have the opportunity to get "up close and personal" with one of our most special animals - "Junior Buddy".
"Junior Buddy" was born at the zoo. His mother, "Springfield," entered our Jaguar Rehab program after being "arrested" for preying upon sheep. We had no idea she was pregnant when she arrived! Three months after she came to the zoo, "Springfield" gave birth to her cub, but being a mother was not on her agenda. After she rejected her son the Belize Zoo staff and I became "Junior Buddy's" mother!
Since he was raised by humans "Junior Buddy" can never be released back into the wild, so he has taken on the role of "spokes-jaguar." Being so people-friendly, he provides an important link, a bond, between our visitors and his endangered fellow jaguars. It is not rocket science. More then 17,000 Belizean schoolchildren visit the zoo each year. Once they experience the one and only "Junior Buddy" they become partners in our efforts to protect wild jaguars and their habitat in Belize.
If you visit TBZ you'll have the chance to participate in a "jaguar encounter" with "Junior Buddy." Petting this magnificent animal through our safety cage (see above) and having him prance on top of the cage over your head is an experience you will never forget, and it will reinforce the hope we all have that these beautiful animals will continue to be here for future generations!