Out of the Jungle with The Cat Whisperer
We made it! After eight days and seven nights in the raw, undisturbed virgin forests of Northcentral Costa Rica, we are finally back in civilization. As I write to you, I'm currently sipping coffee in the town of Santa Elena, Costa Rica, awaiting a four hour bus ride back to the capital of San Jose.
We were in very thick forests near Monteverde, a mecca for biologists and ecotourists alike. But unlike many, we actually saw signs of our study subjects -- wild cats such as my favorite cat -- the jaguar and the lesser known, but very interesting, jaguarundi.
Yesterday, I drove all of us out of dense jungle in a Swiss army, high-motility, all-terrain vehicle known as a Pinzgauer. Yes, me, The Cat Whisperer, who usually consults on cat issues from my cat den in the Pacific Northwest (AKA official office of The Cat Behavior Clinic) was on a wild cat expedition (see earlier post).
I like to think of myself as "purrfectly" rustic, but I was certainly ready to return to electricity, warm showers, and internet connectivity after a week in the bush. And, of course, my own 8 feline companions which I can't wait to see in a few days.
I have a new respect for field biologists who trek mountainous terrain in search of elusive predators. I learned this week that traveling through montane cloud forests can be treacherous, but exhilarating. To see the very habitat that is home to 6 of the 12 wildcat species found in the America's was my objective.
As a behaviorist, much of my work puts to use my understanding of subtle environmental features that dictate the behavior of house cats in homes around the world. Now, I can supplement my knowledge with a greater understanding of how cats navigate through their surroundings based on my familiarity with the natural habitat of wild cats. Please watch my upcoming blog entries on wildcat findings from my Costa Rica expedition!
I'd like to thank the Global Classroom and Raven Adventures and our phenomenal guide, Colin Garland, for his incredible knowledge of these amazing and beautiful wild cats -- that in so many ways, are like our companion cats we have at home. If you have not read my cat behavior book, please check it out here and find me on Facebook.
Check out Mieshelle Nagelschnider's clinic here!