Jumanji Black Leopard


hear big catsJumanji

Male Leopard

2/23/96 – 10/17/16

Jumanji lost his battle with kidney disease and was euthanized.

Since he is one of the first black leopards you see at the sanctuary, Jumanji is used to quite a bit of attention. Most days, he can be found in the shadiest part of his cat-a-tat lounging on his fern-covered tree log. It is very easy to see how well black leopards camouflage themselves in the jungle since most people walk right by without noticing him there. People magazine certainly noticed Jumanji though.  His photo was featured in an article written about Big Cat Rescue.

Jumanji is also known as quite the superstar achiever in our Operant Conditioning Program.  He learns very quickly and always wants to please, especially when treats are involved.  If the keeper is not quick enough with the reward, Jumanji will offer other behaviors to see if maybe the keeper wants something else.  He makes it easy to capture and reward other behaviors, which he will then subsequently remember.  The adage that leopards have the longest memories truly applies to Jumanji.

Jumanji was born here back before we learned that no privately held exotic cats serve any sort of conservation purpose.  Back then, in the pre-Internet era of the 90’s, the only people we could turn to for advice were breeders and dealers who lied to us about the necessity of breeding exotic cats to save them.  As soon as we learned better we stopped breeding and began campaigning to end the abuse of breeding wild cats for life in cages.

On 2/3/09 Panther International pledged to donate $20,000 to Jumanji’s life time care.

Oct 15, 2016 Jumanji was noted in the evening to have left his tuna ‘cicle uneaten.  That was a pretty clear sign that something was wrong.  I let Jamie and Dr. Justin know but since he was laying in the bushes, with his head up, I didn’t think it was an emergency.  I was hungry and exhausted and running out of daylight to get home on my bicycle.  Just as I turned onto the last leg of my ride home, Jamie texted and said they were worried about Jumanji and were going in to check on him.  I told her I’d go with them, and did.

By the time we returned to the sanctuary we were just about out of light and everyone was leaving for the day.  Gale was doing a family outing an hour away.  Lauren was house sitting for a former employee.  The interns were all locked outside the gates for the night.  It would be just the three of us to try and figure out what to do.

The golf cart had no lights and the windscreen, which has been broken years ago, was zip tied to the frame.  Holding a flashlight outside the cart, and pointed ahead, just barely made the tour path visible, because the windscreen was so marred from years of gravel induced scratches.  It was overcast and raining a bit, so there was no star or moon light.  Jamie tried and tried to call Jumanji to the side of the cage so we could check his dehydration level and possible give him fluids.  We knew it was bad when he couldn’t stand, despite trying.

I left her to continue calling him and went after a bucket (so he might think there would be food involved), 3 nets, a Y pole (to hold his head away from biting the vet), gloves, a cordless shaver, so we could shave a spot and draw blood, and a pile of blankets, towels and a carry tarp.  Meanwhile she and Dr. Justin determined that there was no way Jumanji was going to come to the side, so they sent me back for a carrier big enough for a leopard, that would fit through the door.

Jumanji was so “down” that we feared sedating him would kill him, so we decided to go in and see if we could hold him down with the nets and Y pole well enough for Dr. Justin to draw blood and give him fluids.

Jumanji said, “NO!” He wasn’t aggressive about it, but he made it clear that his good humor could turn ugly if we kept a net on his head.

We decided to try and corral him into the dog carrier but he couldn’t stand well enough to get him moving the foot or so into the pet taxi.  We worked a carry tarp under him and he was sick enough and upset enough to vomit all over one end of it three times.  We couldn’t go near his face, so Dr. Justin looped the Y pole through the two loops at his head, while Jamie and I lifted the back end, and tried to push him into the transport.

He decided the whole idea of being forced into the carrier was beneath him, no matter how bad he felt, he wasn’t going.  He growled his displeasure and bit at the carry tarp, but the geometry of the situation wasn’t working.  We just couldn’t get a good angle on lifting him, without having a person right in his face, and we couldn’t risk that.  Dr. Justin left to load up a needle to sedate him.  It was a last resort, because the sedation alone could kill Jumanji, but we had to treat him.

8:09 PM While he was drifting off to sleep (25 minutes) Dr. Justin went to get the X-ray machine running.  We don’t have access to 3 Phase power here, so we have a generator.  When he flipped the switch, nothing happened.  None of us have ever had anything to do with the generator maintenance and didn’t have any idea what we were doing, but Dr. Justin noticed a panel that said we were low on fuel.  This generator is about the size of a Volkswagon, so I have no idea how much fuel it takes to run the thing, or who is in charge of keeping it filled, but I called Scott Haller and asked if we have any Diesel on property.  He directed me to our stash and after a few failed attempts with the container, Dr. Justin finally emptied it into the tank.  When he hit the switch, nothing happened.

We were freaking out because we really needed to do blood work AND X-rays to make sure we were treating Jumanji properly for whatever is ailing him.  Dr. Justin hit another switch and the generator roared to life!  There would have been high fives exchanged, except that we had to find something better to carry Jumanji in, since cramming a sedated leopard into a dog carrier wasn’t going to be ideal.  Due to Nala Serval taking up our two best transports, for her recovery from breaking her leg a few weeks ago, we didn’t have anything appropriate and Jamie was calling and texting us because she didn’t want Jumanji to wake up before we got back.

Turns out that wasn’t much of a concern, because Jumanji was really out of it.  We loaded him into the pet taxi and I lit the way so that Jamie and Dr. Justin could see to carry him out through his cage which is thick with bushes and trees.  This time we had the dump truck golf cart, and it has headlights, but only room for 2 passengers, so Jumanji and I rode in the back.  We whisked him into the Windsong Memorial Hospital and began drawing blood, doing X-rays, checking his teeth and giving him sub-q fluids.  The only thing we found was a lot of gas, from his abdominal breathing, and his kidneys were three times worse that just a month ago.

Jumanji’s blood work indicates he has suspected acute kidney disease/kidney infection. His blood pressure was high, which is the opposite of how kidney disease usually manifests. Acute kidney disease is different than what are cats typically suffer from which is chronic kidney disease. He was given fluids and medications that night and we wrapped up around midnight.  His white blood cell count is high, so he’s fighting something off and we will help him.  They are growing a urine culture, but that takes days.

Dr. Justin and Jamie have checked in on him a couple times today to administer more.

Oct. 17, 2016 his blood work was even worse.  The medications were not helping and Jumanji was clearly ready to go.  Jamie asked that the hospital cage be taken out by the lake where she and Dr. Justin could spend some last moments with him before helping him cross over to his next big adventure. Under the shade of the Grandfather oak on Tiger Lake they spent their last few precious moments together.  Jumanji was euthanized and a warm, soothing breeze ruffled the air for a few minutes before he was gone.  He may have left his cage on Easy Street yesterday, but he will always be with us.

Previous videos of Jumanji’s issues:

Sept 12, 2016 he was caught and taken into the hospital to look at his teeth.

Then he had some bad teeth removed:

8/23/2014  A year ago Jumanji had a mass removed from his foot.

Jumanji leopard was discovered to have a mass on his toe some months back and palm frond in his mouth more recently. In this video, he gets checked up by our wonderful vet and the growth is removed for further examination in the lab. Big Cat Rescue is thankful to our volunteer vets: Dr. Liz Wynn, DVM and Dr. Justin Boorstein, DVM.

Two years ago on 8/22/2014

When we found Jumanji Leopard “down” and unresponsive we had to make a quick decision; go in and wrangle him into a transport to go to the vet, or sedate him in this weakened state. It looked like heat stroke or maybe a bad encounter with a cane toad, but he didn’t have a temperature and wasn’t drooling as much as a toad usually causes.






Dr Justin Boorstein removed a mass from the top right of Jumanji’s mouth, and sent it off for testing. We are concerned because there was much more of the mass that wasn’t reachable, above the gum line and Jumanji’s body Xrays showed some abnormalities in his organs and lungs, along with advanced arthritis in his hips, knees and back. Hopefully he can go back to his cat-a-tat today but we will be keeping a very close eye on his quality of life. Shout out to Cathy Sell for this image last night.

jumanji leopard mass removal cathy sell

Jumanji-Leopard Jumanji-Leopard

Why isn’t this cat called a Black Panther?


Jumanji Gets New Digs


Leopard Island is what we call an area of the sanctuary that is in the middle of four cart paths.


We are moving all of the leopards to Leopard Island so they can access tunnels.


The tunnels connect to lion, tiger and leopard cages so we can easily move cats to and from their vacation site.


The vacation site is 2.5 acres called the Vacation Rotation enclosure.


Each big cat gets a two week vacation in the Vacation Rotation area and then shifts back to their enclosure.


We have gotten pretty good at moving leopards this way, but it will be much easier to just open a gate.


Eventually we hope to connect cougar tunnels as well so they can go on vacation too.


Volunteers added some more dirt / sand to this enclosure yesterday so it looks like a beach, but will be full of grass soon.



Alex Bobcat comes to the front of his cat-a-tat across the cart path to check out the new neighbor.


The Holley’s built a new platform for Jumanji so he could have great views of the lake and paths.



Little Feather Bobcat comes to the front of her cat-a-tat across the cart path to check out the new neighbor.


Jumanji gives his seal of approval on the new digs.  Thanks for making it possible to enrich their lives.

You can continue to provide such excellent care by donating here:  https://bigcatrescue.org/donate/

More Links About Jumanji

February 15, 2016 – Jumanji is sedated for treatment. https://bigcatrescue.org/jumanji-leopard-and-bongo-serval-surgeries/ Jumanji had dental surgery, as well as had the mass on his forehead removed. The mass was sent to lab for testing. It appears as though Jumanji got a stick stuck across the roof of his mouth causing two of his molars to go bad as well as neighboring molars. So now he does not have any upper molars and cannot chew. He will be on a soft food diet forever. His food must be cut up in pieces small enough to just swallow. He will recover in the concrete hospital cage for five days before returning to his enclosure. This will help keep his stitches clean. Also found during his exam was significant spondylosis, arthritis, in his spine. He will be on pain medications for the next week to see how it helps.

February 16, 2015 – Jumanji is highlighted in this Wildcat walkabout video.  Popsicles & stiches…. https://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-feb-16-2015/

December 31, 2014 – Karma and Becky administer K-Laser therapy to Jumanji the Leopard https://bigcatrescue.org/now-at-big-cat-rescue-new-years-eve-2014/

October 17, 2014 – Lots photos including Jumanji at the vet: https://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-oct-17-2014/

October 2014 – Jumanji is in the Advocate Newsletter: https://bigcatrescue.org/advocat-2014-10/

October 9, 2014 Video, News, & Photos of the various cats including Jumanji getting a new room edition: https://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-oct-9-2014/

October 1 – Today at Big Cat Rescue has many photos of the cats and the sanctuary grounds and photos of Jumanji with his pizza box: https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-oct-1/

August 21, 2014 – Jumanji Leopard’s Vet Emergency: https://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-aug-21-2014/

June 22nd – Lots of photos of the various cats including Jumanji: https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-june-22/

May 31st – Today at Big Cat Rescue has updates of various cats including Jumanji: https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-may-31/

May 3, 2014 – Wildcat Walkabout Video has footage of several cats including Jumanji: https://bigcatrescue.org/now-big-cat-rescue-may-3-2014/

March 8th – Lost of news about and photos of various cats including Jumanji doing a tail dance to get attention: https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-mar-8-name-the-bobcat-kitten/

January 13 – This page has a bunch of photos of the cats including a photo of Jumanji pouting: https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-jan-13/

January 12, 2014 – Video and Photo of Jumanji “Break Dancing”: https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-jan-12-happy-purrs-day/

November 29th – This page his packed full of photos, videos, & news. Jumanji the black leopard vys for attention from Reno. He tries playing with toys, break dancing, spinning, leaping …covering his eyes, rolling on the ground, … https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-nov-29-mewsday-at-big-cat-rescue/

October 21, 2013 – Walkabout Video has some footage of Jumanji: https://bigcatrescue.org/today-big-cat-rescue-oct-21-2013/

January 2013 – Jumanji is in the Advocate Newsletter: https://bigcatrescue.org/advocat-2013-01/

January 13, 2012 – Jumanji leopard pouting. Yes, leopards can pout if they think others are getting treats they are not. https://bigcatrescue.org/today-at-big-cat-rescue-jan-13/

January 2009 – Keeper Walkabout has cute footage of Jumanji as well as several other cats: https://bigcatrescue.org/keeper-walkabout-at-big-cat-rescue-jan-2009/

Want to know more about leopards? Go to our species info page to fins some fun serval facts. https://bigcatrescue.org/photos-and-facts/

Want to see other cats the call Big Cat Rescue home? This page lists all of the cats by name and species. https://bigcatrescue.org/catbio/

Find ways that YOU can get involved saving big cats, and small ones, too. https://bigcatrescue.org/get-involved/

Do you get our free monthly newsletter so you can stay up to date on the happenings here? https://BigCatRescue.org/Join


Tributes to Jumanji Leopard


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  1. OMG his beauty made my eyes sting with tears (I have no clue why). I would hug him everyday and appreciate being being mauled by those big fluffy paws.

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