A fun hike for five young men from San Fernando turned into a frightening ordeal as they claimed to have encountered the female jaguar which was rescued and taken to the Emperor Valley Zoo.
Joshua King, Jalen Phillip, Joshua Greene and his brothers Rene and Zain Greene are thanking God they are alive to tell of their encounter with the jaguar.
This is the first time the young men have had such an experience and while they did not actually see the terrifying animal, its growl was enough to send them racing from the hike trail. King believes the animal's growl was a warning “to back off” and the five took heed.
King released a video showing the five bolting to safety while they were on hike on November 24 in Chaguaramas. King told Newsday they were heading to the Covigne River trail near the stretch leading to the Macqueripe beach during a one-day hike.
“That is a common terrain we usually trek through. There were five of us and about ten minutes into the hike the person (Phillip) who was in front, a bit ahead of us stopped and turned to ask if we heard a growl.”
“He and Green (J) heard it but I didn’t and I was like, ‘Dawg you just being a wuss just continue walking.’ Everybody heard the deep, deep growl. It was not an average ocelot or any basic growl. It was like a big cat growl and then the bush started to part so then it was like nobody is staying around to take pictures. We just take off in the opposite direction,” King said.
On December 4, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat posted on his Facebook page, “early this morning I received the good news that (after) several months of intelligence work, this female jaguar was surrendered and successfully transferred to the Emperor Valley Zoo.
“This follows information received earlier this year that a pair of jaguars was smuggled into the country and was being moved around from location to location. Intelligence sources believe the male died. Through intermediaries the female was surrendered. The Emperor Valley Zoo is currently conducting the appropriate examinations.”
In May, Rambharat disclosed that a jaguar cub was surrendered to the zoo. King said Rambharat’s post is compelling evidence that it was the jaguar prowling in the bushes where they were hiking on November 24.
“We are happy it was captured. That is an ease of mind, but we would not be returning to hike in that area for a long time because we heard there was a zoo in the back there and with all this animal smuggling thing, we have to be careful.”