Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

This photo is instantly shattered by the World Wide Web: The boy is bathed in the company of two jaguars. One of them, apparently, even hugs a child, posing for the camera.

Popular picture inevitably raise questions about its reliability. It turned out the photo - not a fake. Moreover, for the hero of the pictures imprinted on it a scene - very ordinary thing.

Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

The photograph - a 12-year-old Brazilian Thiago Silveira. He lives and plays with jaguars from infancy.

"I have friends who say that this is a photo - a fake, but many like it They, too, would like to play with the jaguar's great that I can share my experiences with people in my life are not lucky like me.." - he told reporters bi-bi-si Thiago Silveira.

A childhood in the company of the big cats

Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

The boy's parents Leandro Silveira and Ana Giacomo - biologists, coordinators of the Brazilian Institute of jaguars (IOP) in the Brazilian state of Goias. The purpose of their work - the study and preservation of America's largest cats.

"My son after birth grew up surrounded by jaguars and infancy studied coexistence with predators of course, we have introduced some limitations, but he himself already knows how to deal with them, -. Explains Leandro Silveira, who published made famous picture. - for him, it's completely natural. it is part of his daily life, there is nothing special. "

Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

When Thiago was born, his family has grown three cubs jaguar. On a walk with his parents Thiago went in the company of small predators. Fed all four of the bottles at the same time.

The boy always felt that he was special: very few people had the opportunity to grow with the big cats. "In our family we all love and respect each other, I always liked to help my parents to take care of animals," - he says.

Silveira from childhood instilled in his son the idea that sounds at all his lectures on the Jaguars: "These animals do not perceive the person as a potential victim They respond to our actions, so it is important to treat them with the respect they clearly demonstrate the behavior, when you do not want.. that you were there. "

Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

"It is important to be aware of the boundaries when Jaguar wants to communicate, it comes It's not social animals, but they are able to create a lasting relationship.." - the mother said Thiago.

According to her, between her son and jaguars never happened any conflicts. At the same time Ana emphasizes that never leaves the child alone with the predators.

"We are always very careful in dealing with jaguars and any other animals Our security rules are very clear.", - she says.

The boundaries of what is permitted

Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

Jaguars Silveira and Giacomo live on 123 acres (about 50 hectares) owned by biologists territory. Unauthorized access to this zone is prohibited, so as not to disturb the predators. Parents Thiago created Institute of Jaguar in 2002 and at first just wanted to study this kind of cat, but then, when they were asked for help by representatives of the Brazilian Institute for Environment and Renewable Energy, decided to create a shelter for young jaguars.

Now to the needs of the nursery assigned half of all buildings owned by the family.

Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

According to Silveira, 95% of their programs are financed from their personal savings, and the rest are covered by private donations. "For us search for revenue - a vital necessity, because we have never received help from non-governmental organizations."

Now the family is caring for 14 jaguars, among which four cubs and eight adults. Over the past decade through the nursery passed 35 jaguars.

Jaguars are often sent to other organizations that help in the breeding and conservation of this species listed in the Red Book.

Jaguar resides in the territory of 21 countries, but almost half of the world population (20-30 ths.) Lives in Brazil.

Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

A special entering the Institute jaguar never return back into the wild - where they can be killed by man.

Especially dangerous is the farmers who destroy jaguars, protecting their livestock. Another danger - attachment to people, which occurs in some of these predators. "This jaguar is very difficult to go through the gap with the people if their release into the wild, they can seek contact with a person and as a result become a victim." - says Giacomo.

Last year, Thiago was separated from jaguars. He went to high school and will learn in the state capital. The boy misses his cats.

". It's hard, because I have lived with them since birth While visiting my parents, I understand that, and jaguars miss me too, - he said -. They are now very different to play with me."

"Nice to know that the love and affection that I have for him is mutual," - the boy said.

Thiago Silveira: the story of a boy who lives with jaguars

The famous picture with jaguars in the pond was made on November 15 during one of these visits.

"I want to study biology and follow in the footsteps of my parents' They are trying to save the view, and I will continue their work." - said Thiago.

So it is possible that one day we will see and grandchildren Leandro Silveira, posing with the big cats.