Thursday, September 22, 2005
How to walk a Puma
Being an expert puma walker I can now impart my great wisdom on you ignoramuses out there in blog land (should there actually be any readers that is). The scary thing is that in 5 days time my partner in puma walking leaves, making me the boss. In fact the whole animal training thing here leaves a lot to be desired. It´s basically a big game of chinese whispers where each volunteer passes on the knowledge they have learnt from the previous volunteer. The scary thing is all it takes is one stupid American volunteer to break the chain and tell you that tieing up your puma near the chicken sheds is quite ok. So should I get horrifically mauled in the next few weeks can someone pass on this information to the next volunteers. 9.30: Grab your packed lunch from the cafe and take a short walk up to Leoncio´s cage shouting Mar every few paces (this is puma language) to let him know your coming. Try not to sound too stupid or he might not take you seriously.
9.37 arrive at the cage and put your fingers thru it so he can rub against them and pray to hell that he doesn´t want to bite them off
9.39 step into the cage and try to hook a carabina around a ring on his neck without attracting attention to the fact that is what you´re doing. This can take betwen 3 and 30 minutes depending on luck, courage and his particular mood.
9.45 Once the carabina with rope is attached get ready to run like hell as you open the cage door and he bolts 40 yards in human record time.
9.46 step on the breaks really fast as he stops behind a bush and weaits to attack the second person after they have closed the cage. Usually he waits til they round the corner and then pounces. Most of the time he doesn´t attack too savagely and you won´t come away with any scratches or marks.
9.48 walk along the trail being careful not to tread on his tail and yell out to Bolivian tourists that you have an extremely dangerous puma that you can´t control and if they don´t get off the trail faster than you can say vamos there is extremely strong likelihood you will set him loose on them. If this fails then remind them that his previous Bolivian owner broke both his legs and he´s looking to seek revenge for past injustices.
10.20 try to move him off the tourist trail as he has decided to sit down and stare down the workman in the orange raincoat.
10.45 keep trying to distract him from the workman in the orange raincoat
11.00 try to hold him down as he suddenly bolts down the wet, muddy track to the beach yelling out slow down in your best puma accent
11.10 try to keep as close as you can thru the bushes on the beach as he likes to hide in them and jump out and attack you
11.15 keep your response muted when he finds a nest of baby chicks and proceeds to gobble them whole
11.20 tie him to a rope and go off and have a break with the spider monkeys, you and your nerves deserve it
12.15 wake him up, he´s been sleeping under a little bush, but not too loudly, he doesn´t really like to be woken up and try to convince him that it´s mad dogs and pumas that like walking in the midday sun
12.45 arrive at the river rapids and try and coax him into the water with your bare flesh. To him it looks like chicken
12.55 try and hold the rope tight as he swims in the rapids... we don´t want a puma in Brazil
1.15 lead your wet and hopefully tired puma to the end of the beach where he will sleep and give you time to eat your lunch
3.00 wake your puma up again and tell him it´s time to start the walk home. Stop him from chasing spider monkeys, snakes, rodents and humans, all of which he will resent you for and probably take out on you around the next corner
5.00 arrive back at his area and show him an egg which will hopefully lead him back to the cage. Break the egg, unhook his carabina and take his food into the cage and hope to hell he doesn´t attack you there. Shout out nice day Leoncio and make sure he doesn´t hear you curse cat people on the way out
5.15 return to the cafe and congratulate yourself on another day without being attacked or display your new scratch marks to your friends.