Wild welcome: Bobcats, pythons, monkeys meet GCC students at barbecue

  • Students got to meet and pet a baby bobcat named Eden at the Greenfield Community College Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Students got to meet and pet an alligator at the Greenfield Community College Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday in Greenfield. September 12, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz...

  • Students got to see a bobcat kitten named Eden at the Greenfield Community College Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday in Greenfield. September 12, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz...

  • Students got to meet and pet an alligator at the Greenfield Community College Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday in Greenfield. September 12, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz...

  • Ed Laquidara of Animal Adventures entertains students with a Carpathian lynx named Aslan at the Greenfield Community College Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday in Greenfield. September 12, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz...

  • Ed Laquidara of Animal Adventures entertains students with his rescued black-cap squirrel monkey named Mojo at the Greenfield Community College Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Ed Laquidara of Animal Adventures entertains students with his rescued black cap squirrel monkey named Mojo at the Greenfield Community College Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday in Greenfield. September 12, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz...

  • Students got to meet and greet a Burmese python named Squintz at the Greenfield Community College Welcome Back BBQ on Wednesday in Greenfield. September 12, 2018 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz...

Staff Writer
Published: 9/13/2018 12:47:18 AM

To celebrate the new school year, Greenfield Community College held a “Welcome Back BBQ” on Wednesday at noon complete with franks and beans and bobcats and pythons.

The food may have been good, but the real draw was the parade of furry critters brought to the school by Animal Adventures of Bolton, the largest animal rescue facility of it kind in New England. It deals mostly with animals that are unwanted or unable to be cared for privately. They take in hundreds of animals a year.

Students pressed forward to get a glimpse of a ferret, to pet a chinchilla, to stroke an alligator, to handle a yellow Burmese python, to stare back at the yellow eyes of a lemur, and stroke a fox’s soft belly.

The stars were two predators and a tiny monkey brought in by handler Ed Laquidara, who says he has had a lifelong fascination with animals.

The first predator wasn’t large yet, except for its paws — a bobcat kitten named Eden. The playful, purring feline on a leash jumped around the stage and table chasing anything within its reach, swatting at his handler with claws retracted.

Then came out a full grown Carpathian Lynx named Aslan, which Laquidara and his assistant handled apart from the students for obvious reasons. The Carpathian lynx is native to Europe, was born in captivity, and came to the rescue facility because of health issues as a kitten.

The small, yellowish monkey named Mojo was in a behavior research facility in Miami, but was stolen by another female black cap squirrel monkey who wanted to be a mother. As that monkey was not lactating, the baby would have starved if not rescued. Laquidara bottle fed the tiny baby with an eye dropper every 90 minutes to keep him alive and the bond between the two grew.

The monkey moved all around his handler like he was a jungle gym, burrowing into his shirt, grabbing his lip as he answered questions and grooming his long hair to the delight of the students watching, some of whom inquired about internships at the small, private zoo.




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