This afternoon the heat broke and a blissful cool came in the thunder and in bursts of fat rain. We sheltered under beach umbrellas in the lee of the bank while the rain passed and we bubbled with excitement and joy.
Joy because for the past half hour we had been watching Maxim, yesterday's male jaguar, as he walked silent-footed on the shore of a creek, waded through mats of water hyacinth and sat on the sunny sand staring past us to some unseen interest on the far shore. In a year of thrilling encounters with cats this was a new highlight. There is a pale intensity to a jaguar's eyes, a power in his paws, a witchcraft in the velvet squiggles on his back. We watched enchanted.
I believe now - and it is widely believed here - that the interloping male on our first afternoon was Cage. He has often been seen this season with Peter and, briefly today, just as we were leaving Maxim, he was seen again, nuzzling Peter's neck, These two inseparable males were apart for as long as Peter's interest in Bianca was greater than their friendship. This morning we saw Bianca alone. This afternoon Cage was again by Peter's side.
These jaguars, the only ones in the world which allow such close observation, are giving a new view of the life of this breathtaking cat. Each sighting adds to the story, Each day sees new questions arise. To be here, as the story unfolds, is remarkable. An honour and a joy.
|Maxim this afternoon by Naun Amable|
|A tree frog on my arm today by Venetia Caine|