The Puma Years by Laura Coleman
⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 4.5 out of 5 stars
The Puma Years is an autobiography of Laura Coleman relating the time she spent volunteering in the wildlife sanctuary in Bolivia. I listened to it as an audiobook read by the author, which was an additional treat. Who could tell her story better than herself?
Laura went to South America looking for a break from a monotonous life of temporary jobs. While visiting Bolivia, she heard about the animal welfare charity and decided to volunteer for two weeks. This has changed into months after she was assigned to work with Wayra— an anxious puma with trust issues.
The story concentrates on the beautiful relationship between Laura and Wayra. It also portrays some wonderful people working tirelessly to help the animals, despite the tropical climate, poor sanitary conditions, jungle fires, countless mosquitoes and the insects that burrow into human flesh. Coleman also touches on many critical environmental issues, like deforestation, palm oil, jungle fires, climate change, and most importantly, the sad stories of the wild animals kept as pets. Most of the animals in the sanctuary were at some point held at home or hotel as a tourist attraction, only to be abandoned when they become too big or problematic. Traumatised and confused, they are not able to survive in the wild and have to remain caged for the rest of their lives.
Overall, it is a fascinating story of the unusual friendship and the love for nature. It is full of long and beautiful descriptions of the jungle that make you feel like you were there with Laura. I would recommend this book especially to those who love nature and are sensitive to environmental issues or would like to learn more about them.