Rescued jaguar debuts at The Living Desert
It's not every day Henry Otten from Indian Wells gets to welcome a new jaguar to the Coachella Valley as he did on Tuesday.
"It is very exciting, we've been hearing about his arrival for some time," said Henry's dad Josh.
The newest Jaguar's name is Memo, Spanish for Bill, named in honor of two local longtime supporters Bill Farley and Bill Fries, who helped fund the jaguar exhibit at The Living Desert. The feline is 20 months old and 110 pounds with a past that helped find him his new home.
"Memo was confiscated and was held as a pet illegally by some folks in Panama. They probably killed the mother to acquire him and his brother," said Stacey Johnson, president and CEO of The Living Desert.
National wildlife authorities placed Memo and his brother in wildlife rehabilitation at the zoo in Panama city.
After nearly 18 months, finally in April the jaguar rescue made a 3,000 mile journey from Panama here to the living desert.
"This is the first time Panama has exported jaguars from the first team work that's happened for jaguar conservation with Panama.
Memo spent 30 days in quarantine when he arrived. Slowly the zoo keepers introduced him to his exhibit mate, 3-year-old Magia, and to the zoo visitors on Tuesday.
"This is the first time we got to see them together, looks like getting along just really well," said Otten.
Johnson said, "They'll get along as roommates. Hopefully in next year we'll see some cubs on the ground."
Although they dominate the food chain, you can get up close and personal on your visit.
"I'm really thrilled, he's completely relaxed here. It's all worked out," said Johnson.
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