For the time being, only two situations may lead to an attack :
when the animals are about to eat, or while playing and one of them
catches any of the objects shown to them, which can be either a
shoe, a hat or the like. If they feel someone is fighting for the
“prey”, then things can get really complicated. The
same aggressiveness is displayed, whether the animal is 6 or 16
Some visitors, trainees or technicians fail to understand that
the rules of a Conservation Refuge must be very strict. We do not
allow entrance to the enclosures, because we cannot expose people
to any risk – and risks are always unforeseen. We and the
keepers were trained to deal with the animals, they know us since
they were very young, but even in that case we have to abide by
the safety rules.
While they were little, up to eight months old, cubs did not present
many risks. They needed much care and attention and we were able
to live among them. As they reached 14 months of age, we now only
enter the enclosure if Samson is free while the females, Dalilah
and Carlota, are kept in the feeding area. It is absolutely impossible
to deal with the three of them all at once while they are together.
Samson can be the wildest, but he is clearly very loyal to his keeper
Rogério and to André, NEX anthropologist and shaman,
who used to give them Reiki massages when the cubs were still vulnerable.
The females have become more dangerous and will never miss an opportunity
Samson, 8 months old: Marcelo (NEX biologist) had to stand still
and wait until Samson calmed down. He is sitting on Marcelo’s
sneaker, who had no choice but to take it off.