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Panama: Stalking a Jaguar in its Jungle, at Night

Darien Province, Panama

Unedited Mind-dump

We barely beat the rains out of the jungle. The peanut butter mud may have left us sleeping miles from the nearest lightbulb or cell signal. I’ll explain more of today in a separate post, after explaining more of yesterday.

Yesterday, I posted on Patreon that we entered an Embera Indian village and I saw skulls hanging on an outside wall. I asked for the hunter. Details of our conversation are posted, yesterday.

I spent all day today with Embera Indians far out in the jungle, then back in Metiti. Lincon, my American-speaking guide, was with be both days. Something about yesterday’s Jaguar story left me with questions.

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Look at my photos of the skull. The hunter showed me the 20 gauge shotgun that he said he used to shoot the Jaguar. Notice the tight pattern. The hunter had to be close even to kill a bird with a 20 gauge, must less a Jaguar that took four Embera men to carry.

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How did he get that close? Was this a later kill shot after hitting the Jaguar elsewhere? Remember that Embera hunt when there is little or no moon, or in great darkness. How did the Indian man get so close to do this with a 20 gauge? Is he really that good at stalking?

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My Embera translator told me today he left out a part. The jaguar had gotten the pig, and was lunging for the Embera hunter, and he shot it only 3 meters away.

I did a CBS radio show today with John Batchelor and he asked how much a Jaguar pelt is worth. I don’t know, and I never would shoot a big cat for anything other than last-ditch defense. When I hunted tigers in India and maneaters in Bangladesh, it was only with camera. I did photograph a tiger in India but in Bangladesh only got tracks.

The tigers in Sundarbans are straight-up serial killers. They are unbelievable killers and most of the world has zero idea. But the Indians and Bangladeshis who live in Sundarbans sure know. The tigers killed six of villagers the week before I came to hunt them with camera.

Read this:

Despite all the people those tigers kill, if a villagers kills a Royal Bengal Tiger — death penalty. In parts of India (and I think Bangladesh), there was shoot-on-sight orders last time I checked. I mean shoot on sight for the poachers, not the tigers. A Karen rebel in Burma told me a tiger pelt is worth $30,000. I guarantee if people pelts were worth that much, we’d have to go around in packs.

By the way, it’s 1647 here and the parrots ? just flew over. Man are those things loud. They also flew over at 1647 yesterday. I found a parrot feather in the jungle today and an Embera man told me they eat parrots. The parrots are roving around here making a lot of racket.

Stand by and I’ll post far more interesting information about the migrants. We found more migrants today deep in the jungle in Bajo Chaquito, an Embera Indian Village. This is very tough. I’ll tell you about the two little Haitian girls.

I’ll explain what I know about their mother, and about some alleged attackers that we were told were gotten yesterday by Senafront Commandos near us. We then went to a village where one-armed bandit was said to have come from.

A Haitian man, very powerfully built, was barely able to walk. When he heard I was American he lit up with joy. Said he never wants to go back to Haiti. Said his brother is a U.S. Marine.

I asked who the two little girls were with him — his daughters? Where is their mother? No, he said on my video. He brought them in from the jungle.

More later.

Note: Thank you for all your financial support. What I most need is about 3x more supporters so I can hire two full-time assistants and some other major upgrades. Even major media cannot afford to send people like me to places like this. Your help is VITAL. And thank you for putting up with unedited dispatches. Makes my life much easier and I get to sleep.

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Michael Yon

Michael Yon is America's most experienced combat correspondent. He has traveled or worked in 82 countries, including various wars and conflicts.

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