The Puma Years by Laura Coleman
Laura was in her early twenties and directionless when she quit her job to backpack in Bolivia. Fate landed her at a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of the Amazon jungle where she was assigned to a beautiful and complex puma named Wayra. Wide-eyed, inexperienced, and comically terrified, Laura made the scrappy, make-do camp her home. And in Wayra, she made a friend for life.
They weren’t alone, not with over a hundred quirky animals to care for, each lost and hurt in their own way: a pair of suicidal, bra-stealing monkeys, a frustrated parrot desperate to fly, and a pig with a wicked sense of humor. The humans too were cause for laughter and tears. There were animal whisperers, committed staff, wildly devoted volunteers, handsome heartbreakers, and a machete-wielding prom queen who carried Laura through. Most of all, there was the jungle—lyrical and alive—and there was Wayra, who would ultimately teach Laura so much about love, healing, and the person she was capable of becoming.
Set against a turbulent and poignant backdrop of deforestation, the illegal pet trade, and forest fires, The Puma Years explores what happens when two desperate creatures in need of rescue find one another.
There is a quote on the front cover by Jane Goodall and she says, “You will love this book” and indeed I really did. I read The Puma Years (Little A) by Laura Coleman in one sitting. Laura’s memoir is so inspirational. When Laura was in her twenties, she walked away from her job packed her backpack and headed off into the Amazon jungle.
It is a brave thing to do just to walk away from your job and head off to Bolivia but what happened next is simply breathtaking. Two months into her three- month trip to Bolivia, Laura found her way to an animal sanctuary deep in the jungle to look after animals that were part of the worldwide illegal pet trade, this would change her life forever.
Within the sanctuary there were around 100 animals of all kinds to look after, many will never be wild again so they will spend their days within the sanctuary. But when Laura arrived it was the camps living conditions that at first would challenge her. Suffice to say that I will not go into detail, but many would not be able to cope with the conditions let alone the Mosquitoes and rats. But no sooner had Laura had arrived than it was time to introduce her to a stunning but also a complex Puma called Wayra. Coming face to face with a puma must have been scary beyond words. But this was to become a relationship and a friendship that would last. It takes time for a puma to get to know you and the trust and bond would be so strong.
But this is not just about Wayra, because you get to meet so many other of the quirky animals of the sanctuary. There is the pig with a sense of humour and a pair of monkeys that seem to have a thing stealing bras from the living quarters.
Deep in the jungle there is so much to discover, and it was here that Laura found Wayra and it was Wayra found Laura and together they seem to help each other. It is so beautifully written and through Laura’s words you can almost get a sense of the sights and sounds of the jungle.
When you purchase a copy of The Puma Years by Laura Coleman proceeds will be going to support Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi
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