Belize’s Most Famous Jaguar Turns 10 Years Old at the Belize Zoo

Junior Buddy is the most famous jaguar in Belize for many reasons.  He is an ambassador for Belize’s big cats – showing us how majestic, special and beautiful jaguars are and how important it is to keep them in our country.  He is the only jaguar that was born and raised in the zoo.  He’s incredibly gorgeous.

So yesterday, the zoo held a party for him – to celebrate Junior Buddy turning 10 years old.

I have attended more than one party for my favorite jaguar and I can tell you that physically, he has not aged a day.  BUT he was a bit cranky yesterday!  Usually he is lazing in the sun…

…or lounging on his log…

But yesterday, in people years, he turned 40!  (Jaguars live up to 20 years in the zoo…humans live about 80…I did my own math)  So one can blame him for being scared.  Little does he know that the 40s are his best years yet!

But let’s back up.  I started my day in my bed on North Ambergris Caye.  It was an EARLY wake-up.  I left the house at 6:15am driving south (LOOKING FOR THE OCELOT!!!! ** more information on Ambergris Caye’s ocelot at the bottom of this post) – I picked up breakfast and was on the 7:30 San Pedro Belize Express boat to Belize City.

9am arrival Belize City – short taxi to bus station. $7bzd – and Local Bus to the Zoo, $4bzd.   I arrived at about 10.15am.  Just in time to walk around for a few minutes before the party started.

The toucans were the big show offs  – coming in close to pose.  Such a gorgeous and strange bird…the beak almost as long as their bodies.

The much more reasonable looking mot-mot.

And the STINKY peccaries rooting around in the dirt.  Eye sight is bad so they use STINK to recognize each other.  Oy…the life of a peccary.

Time to head out to the party area.  The zoo is looking so lush and beautiful!

There were kids from St. Agnes School in the neighboring villages of La Democracia and Mahogany Heights.  There were balloons and snacks.  There was singing and…A BOUNCY CASTLE!

Kids that live this close to the zoo find a bouncy castle more interesting than a JAGUAR!

Some of the cuties.

And then…a surprise.  The Belize Defense Force was doing a flyover.  So super cute how the kids ran out and jumped up and down as the BDF swept low.

Maybe for JB’s 15th birthday we can get the US Navy’s Blue Angels down here – they are a terrifyingly awesome, heart stoppingly amazing…i have no words kind of sight.

Though I’m not sure that is the type of thing that zoo animals like.

The jaguars came out to surprise the kids.

(I begged out of it this year – but will LOVE this picture forever.  From JB’s 8 year birthday)

Me 2 years ago.


Into the zoo, to sing to Junior Buddy and to present him with his gift.

Junior’s neighbor the croc was ready.

What?  How RUDE!  Brutus isn’t pregnant!  Brutus the crocodile is a boy and a bachelor.

Junior was pacing and not in the mood for tricks but he was more than happy to accept his gift.

We let him eat and headed over to visit his mother.  Springfield was sick and hungry and killing sheep just over 10 years ago.  She was captured, brought to the zoo with over 50 botfly maggots in her skin and, they soon found out…PREGNANT!

She was very happy to get some chicken pieces.

What GORGEOUS animals.  And the Belize Zoo is set up so beautifully…it’s almost walking, safely, through the jungle.

Happy Birthday Junior Buddy!  I PROMISE 10 years old/40 in human years is not bad at all!

** Now back to the Ambergris Caye ocelot.  We DO have cats on the caye but they want very little to do with humans.  They are RARELY (and I mean rarely) seen and generally are thought to live only in the very far north.

This week, a wounded ocelot was spotted in the very early morning at around 5-6 miles north Ambergris Caye.  A call went out from the SAGA Humane Society that they were looking for him – to hopefully trap him so that he could get medical attention ASAP.

Here was the photo circulated on social media.

He was found and brought into SAGA – check their facebook page for more photos and updates.

His back legs were not moving, perhaps paralyzed – SAGA gave him a check up and he was transported, via Tropic Air, to the mainland and the Wildlife Clinic.

WHAT A GORGEOUS ANIMAL!   And I hope he gets better.  And if that is not possible, that he does not suffer.



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