May 9, 2002 - Jags at the Zoo

They would be in hog heaven, if they weren't cats! The jaguars have a brand new home. Kids are always excited to see a jaguar whether it's at a football game or at BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo.

The zoo has had jaguars for several years, but they have gone and built a new home for them. Sam Winslow of the zoo explains, "you can really get a lot more appreciation of the animals. When they walk behind a plant, you can see how their camouflage works. And seeing them in a more naturalistic habitat gains for feel for the animal."

Try to look at it from the jaguar's point of view. Suppose you grew up in a downtown apartment surrounded by parking lots and concrete all your life, and you woke up one morning to discover that you had been moved to the Garden District, with azaleas, backyard and all. As Sam Winslow says, "these guys have really moved uptown now. They've got a nice outdoor yard to live on. They've got grass under their feet. It's really an improved lifestyle for them."

They have even become a little bit friendly with the crowd. "Well, they certainly seem to pay a little bit more attention to them. I don't know if they're a little uneasy in their new exhibit and surroundings, but they seem to be enjoying their new facilities." There's no place like home, and the zoo has bent over backwards to give the cats everything but the remote control.