The rescue, recovery and liberation of DYaira in the Ecuadorian jungle is great news in the efforts to protect the largest feline in America. This is her story.
A year and a half ago, the life of D’Yaira, a jaguar from the Ecuadorian Amazon, changed drastically. In one of the countries with the highest density of jaguars in America, she walked through the thick forests of the Amazon, marking her territory, looking for what to hunt or maybe a place to sleep. She didn’t realize that someone was stalking her.
At the end of the year 2015, hunters waited patiently in a tree, until they saw her. They pointed their weapons and fired. The 18 pellets wounded the feline in her head and on her spine, crushed her spinal cord and made her quadriplegic. Somehow she escaped the murderers, but she could not move much further, time was ticking.
Fortunately, the environmental police found the jaguar D’Yaira, seriously injured, and took her to the veterinary hospital of the San Francisco University of Quito (USFQ). Here, neurosurgeons specialized in human operations had to face the situation and seek to extract the pellet that affected the spinal cord and made it impossible for D’Yaira to move its legs and tail.
After hours of intervention, the successful operation began a long recovery of the feline. Two months later, they took her to an ecological park with rescued animals in Nueva Loja, Sucumbíos, a place with a habitat similar to the one D’Yaira inhabited before the incident. They avoided having too much contact with the cat so as not to generate any dependence on the humans who took care of it.
Two and a half years after the attack, D’Yaira has been released to the jungle, to a place as far away as possible from communities. The new inhabitant of the Yasuni National Park entered the jungle with a tracking collar. The purpose of this is to generate and issue information regarding the location of the animal, its patterns, places it frequents and if it stays alive.
D’Yaira, “the beautiful, agile and attentive” as her doctors say, returned to the jungle, but not to her home. Even with pellets in her body (which do not represent a threat at the moment), arrived at a place where she can start a new life, bring new blood to the next generations of jaguars, survivors.
The history of this jaguar is an example of struggle, fight, tenacity and care on the part of people who encountered a negative scenario, but did not give up until they saved the life of a feline in danger of extinction. In addition, it is a great example that a being, despite its condition, managed to move forward. And to think that her condition was so serious that there were times when doctors felt that it would be best to sacrifice her and end her suffering.
The illegal hunting of jaguars and other felines is a delicate situation in South America. The main motivation of hunting is the high demand for the animal’s body parts. Its skin has a very high value in the black market, as well as its fangs. Caring for these beings is key in many points, not only for survival, but because they maintain healthy ecosystems, they are living beings that have existed for hundreds of thousands of years in the jungles of America. Check out the 19 critically endangered species that also suffer from ruthless hunting.
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