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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 months old.

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 to attack.

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.

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