Bolivian vodka is cheap. That’s how I got there. I was alone, deep in the Bolivian jungle, with hot breath on my face and the body of an apex predator wrapped around me.

While working as a volunteer at a sanctuary for animals in Bolivia, I witnessed numerous monkey scratches and bites. At the end of each day, backpackers frequently displayed their fresh wounds. The weekly volunteer party got out of hand (the night before), but no one had a story like this.

Those with the fitting large creature preparing didn’t awaken or sign in to the early daytime’s gathering. I was present. Hungerful, but present. Even though it typically requires months of training and animal integration/familiarization, I agreed to assist with the puma.

One of the team members and I reached the enclosure of the puma after walking through the jungle for an hour. The enormous cat clearly disliked me as it growled at me. However, that did not prevent us from completing our task. We went into the cage, put two ropes on the “collar” of the puma, and started walking him through the jungle.