Snow leopards, wolves and Malaysianfishingcats, oh my!
The main reason we went on the Portland trip was to visit Chasing Tail (recognise anyone in those photos? =D), a wildlife conservation center near the border of Washington and Oregon. I’d highly recommend it – James and I learned a lot and had an amazing experience.
James was originally interested in visiting with the adult wolves, but when the website put up a notice that they had puppies that they needed help socialising, I made reservations in a flash.
There were two timber wolves and one arctic wolf. It was funny how much they’re like overgrown puppies – they love chewing on things, running around and licking us. They’re surprisingly powerful, and even James was knocked off his feet when they threw themselves at him. His favourite was the arctic wolf but unfortunately the arctic wolf wanted nothing to do with him.
I was the clear favourite (James has been calling me “Kayeby: Friend of the Wolves” ever since). All three wolves fell in love with my leather belt and, to a lesser extent, my leather shoes.
This is pretty much the precise moment they discovered their new chew toy.
They kept shoving each other aside so they could get at my belt and used it to pull me around. They are tiny but super strong so I was flopping all over the place. I felt a bit bad (though not too bad) because as soon as they discovered my belt they had eyes for no other.
In case you’re curious, this is what my belt looked like afterwards. I hope one day someone asks me why it’s so messed up so I can be all like “freaking wolves, man” (nobody will ever ask).
Malaysian Fishing Cat
Her name was Malaysia and she was very young so we all had to disinfect ourselves before going near her. I remembered her being super tiny, but looking back at the photos she was about kitten size – I guess she felt especially fragile after the rambunctious wolf puppies. She made these adorable squeaks, and after getting fed she had milk all over her face. She also pooped on the other guy there – oops!
When there was a gust of wind she would start shivering and I would try to shelter her by folding myself around her. She loved climbing on shoulders.
James came for the wolves but stayed for the snow leopards! Apparently there is a very small window where you can handle snow leopards without getting attacked – when they get older they often turn on their zoo keepers so everyone has to be very careful. It really was awesome to be able to see them up close.
The male was called Viktor and the female was Marishka. Here I am cuddling little Viktor.
We got to bottle feed the snow leopards (I noticed that the other couple took turns but James hogged it all to himself. I think he was still a bit stung that the wolves hated him so much). But James was sooo happy that I didn’t mind letting him have all the glory.
Look how jealous that dog is (it reminds me a bit of my profile pic to the right, ha!)
Marishka was totally blissed out guzzling her milk – she’s grabbing James’ wrist with her GIANT PAWS all like “keep the milk coming”. But afterwards she’s like “oh man … where did my life go wrong?”
After they were fed they kind of lost interest in us and went wandering around. We watched them for a little while but then James scooped them back up. He does this double hug with our cats too.
They tolerated it for a surprising amount of time but after awhile Victor got sick of sharing James with Marishka (just like our cats!)
Soon after that it was time to go. I’m super tempted to go back to learn about the sloths and penguins but James is like “why? We’ve already seen the best animals there”.
Between the hike and Chasing Tail, Friday was by far our busiest (and best!) day in Portland. Saturday was comparatively low-key – catching up on shopping and then relaxing in the hotel lobby and drinking free booze until it was time to catch our Bolt Bus home.
I’m glad we got to do more than just Powells and tax-free shopping this trip. Oregon is a beautiful state and I’d love to go back again to see things we didn’t have time for, like Crater Lake (and sloths and penguins).