I heard this story on the radio earlier this evening:
'Jaguar Man,' Alan Rabinowitz, tells us how his story of making a promise to a big cat, and traveling deep into the Belize jungle to fulfill it.
Now this is a man who had a serious stutter until the age of 21, and suffered a lot of the social problems that come with it. He developed a strong bond with animals, including the ability to speak to them without stuttering. A supportive father brought him to the Bronx Zoo, where he made his promise to a jaguar in one of the old-school cages at the time. There is bit of irony in a man who found his way through a socially difficult childhood at the zoo, yet remains troubled about the existence and nature of zoos:
We end the hour with the story of boy who feels great sadness at the zoo. He doesn't like cages so he sets out to dedicate his life to keeping animals in the wild. In the end though, he'll find himself back at the zoo, as a zoo employee, to accomplish his mission.
We at CatSynth thought this story might be of interest to readers, a combination of overcome social difficulties, the human-animal connection, and the starkly ambivalent quality of institutions like zoos for those who love animals (the ability to admire and appreciate our closeness, while being aware of the harsh reality of captivity). And no, this story does not mirror my own life, I did not stutter as a child and probably wouldn't survive too long in the Central American jungle. Nonetheless, we can draw inspiration from it.