For most animals on our planet it is the greatest fortune to never ever meet a human being. But for the ones who were unlucky from the start, like Toñito who grew up in captivity, another encounter with the human species can eventually create something wonderful. An animal’s ability to forgive never fails to surprise me and few things impress me in such ways as to see someone taking care of a creature he’d never met before with a sympathy and friskiness as if they’d both been playmates since grade one.
The Coati and the Englishmen bonded from the very beginning and over the course of three weeks it was a joy to see how these two gained more trust in each other with every day. Charlie gave Toñito an hour of adventure time in the mornings where the little nosebear could roam free on the premises, dig for worms and eat as many as he could find. The first time we brought Toñito back to his enclosure we all ended up bitten and bruised. But on Charlies last days at the Center, he would just kneel next to the nosebear and wait patiently until Toñito eventually jumped on his back and made himself comfortable around his neck.
Although Charlie, like everyone else at the Center, was lacking a scientific background in working with wild animals, he was gifted with a profound set of sensitivity and empathy that would make Toñito twist his long nose wildly whenever his favorite human would appear to take him out for a little adventure.