December 6, 2010

Jaguar Otto and Puma Kimba need a home!

Recently, it came to our attention that the pastor at a local church, Father Raymundo Portelli of the San Martín de Porres parrish in Iquitos, keeps several wild animals at the church. The animals were given to him in order to find them a decent home, but Father Raymundo has been unable to do so. There isn’t enough money to take care of the animals, and local organizations are unable to take them off his hands.

One of the animals is an adult male jaguar, named Otto.

The animal was given to Father Raymundo when it was just a baby. It had been abandoned, along with a baby brother, put in a bag and tossed away. The other jaguar-kitten was already dead at the time, and Father Raymundo took in the surviving kitten.

But that was 5 years ago, and the now fully grown cat has lived on a chain, in a 100-square foot cage, ever since. The reason the animal is kept on a chain inside his cage, is that Father Raymundo worries that the
cage is not strong enough to hold Otto inside. If the animal should escape, the consequences could be severe.

Otto is not the only big cat at the church; there is also a puma, named Kimba.

A spider monkey named Maquisapa
Shocking conditions: Father Raymundo pays for their food from his own pocket, but the conditions in which these animals live are plainly shocking. They are solitary animals that need a 50-square kilometer habitat in the jungle, not a tiny cage in the city. Apart from that, Father Raymundo cannot afford the feed the animals the red meat they require. Iquitos is an isolated city that can only be reached by air or by river. There are no roads that lead here. That means beef has to be flown in, which makes it expensive. That’s why the cats live on a diet of one chicken per day, with occasionally some additional fish. This is completely inadequate for these animals, which, as a result, suffer from malnutrition.

Release impossible: Unfortunately, they cannot be released in the wild. They are used to being around and being fed by humans, and are unable to find their own food. If set free, these animals would approach humans in the jungle, with foreseeable dramatic consequences. What they need is a decent home, where they can be looked after and cared for.

We want to try and help find a solution for the giant cats. It is painful to see how Otto and Kimba and Maquisapa suffer. It’s been five years and hopefully we can provide them with a decent home.

Cost of adoption: What we need is for someone to adopt these animals. It will take a one-time donation of 10,000 dollars each to build a cage, followed by continuing monthly support of 300 dollars each to feed them, pay for maintenance and care, as well as periodical visits by the local vet.

A similar cage, located at the local butterfly farm and animal rescue center Pilpintuwasi, was donated by a generous North American lady. It cost 10,000 dollars to build. Maintenance and food for Pedro Bello, the jaguar there, costs about 300 dollars a month. I spoke with owner Gudrun Sperrer, but she told me they are unable to take Otto in. There just isn’t any money for it, and the two jaguars, both males, cannot share the same space.

We have a support group in place and we can manage this as an ongoing project, but we need the money AND the commitment from an outside sponsor to give Otto and Kimba and Maquisapa the home they deserve.

Opportunity for education: We think this situation presents a great opportunity for us to help educate the local population –particularly children- about animal well-being and animal rights. We think it could be something similar in your country as well, if a group of people, students maybe, could adopt Otto and Kimba. You could use this opportunity in your own country as a means of raising awareness and to educate the young about the need for preservation of the rainforest and its inhabitants. I believe there are countless ways of turning this situation into a positive experience for all involved. Particularly for Otto and Kimba.

Amazon Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety is known for our domestic animal programs.  However, our mission and projects clearly indicate our commitment to wildlife issues.

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Portions of this article were originally published at Amazon CARES is working with Gart van Gennip, the CEO of, to rescue these suffering animals.

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