Sadly, as man has encroached on the natural world, the jaguar has come dangerously close to becoming an endangered animal.
So this heart-breaking story, of a jaguar which was brought to the vet in a terrible state and in desperate need for treatment, might have had a terribly unhappy ending for us all. However, what actually happened is amazing and a testament to the power of both people and animals.
12- The Foundling
The San Francisco de Quito University has a veterinarian service. The Ecuador-based facility is used to dealing with strange walk-ins, but in October 2016, they received a call that explained there was an abandoned baby jaguar. The cub’s mother was nowhere to be found. What had happened to them?
11- The First Rescue
The person who had called the university had been courageous enough to try and collect the cub for examination but hadn’t been successful. So the university dispatched their own people to see what was happening and to rescue the baby jaguar. They found the cub and had to make an important decision.
10- The University
The veterinarian unit of the university is a world leader in rescuing animals and then treating them until they can be released into their natural habitat. Over the years they have helped thousands of wild animals and nursed them back to proper health before enabling them to rejoin their own communities.
9- A Decision Made
The veterinarians who found the baby jaguar decided that she should be brought into the university for treatment as there was something very obviously wrong with the animal though nobody knew quite what the problem was. When she arrived it was possible for the vets to examine her more closely and what they found was shocking.
The poor baby jaguar was completely paralyzed in each of its legs. The vets were bemused by this – it’s very unusual for wild animals to exhibit any kind of paralysis let alone such acute paralysis. They decided that to investigate the matter, they’d need to give her an X-ray. What they found in the film was simply unbelievable.
7- Shocking X-Rays
The jaguar needed to be sedated prior to having an X-ray taken. When the results came through, the vets were horrified. The animal had been the victim of a severe shooting incident. They found a ridiculous 18 bullets embedded in the cat’s body. Two of which had lodged in her spine.
6- The Blame
Ecuador’s farmers, like farmers everywhere, are naturally protective of their plantations and livestock. The vets believe that the cat and possibly her mother had strayed too close to a farm and a farmer had opened fire on them. The mother had clearly got away, but the cub had not been so lucky.
5- Named at Last
The vet’s first action was to give the jaguar a name, and they chose D’yaira. Then a surgeon was summoned to operate on little D’yaira. It was a tough operation to carry out because of the deep penetration of the bullets into bone. When it was finished, D’yaira would require physiotherapy for an extended period to recover.
4- The Story is Told
The people working at the university facility were appalled by D’yaira’s injuries and decided that telling her story to the world might help prevent future incidents like these. So, they worked with conservation groups to get the news out in Ecuador to bring people’s attention to the plight of the jaguar.
3- Endless Risk
Jaguars are teetering on the edge of being added to the watchlist for endangered animals. They are currently seen as “near threatened” due to deforestation, the cruel acts of poachers looking for their skin and meat and the slow casual breaking up of forests through encroachment by man. Life is looking bleak for the future of the jaguar.
2- A Sign of Recovery
D’yaira’s future is not clearly set, but there is hope. Just after her operation, there were witnesses to the fact that she has regained some mobility in her legs. There’s a long way to go before she’ll be able to walk again, but it’s very much a good sign that she may able to do so.
1- A Symbol of Hope
D’yaira means “brave jaguar” in Ecuador, and she’s certainly been that. While she’s now wolfing down a lot of chicken every day, D’yaira’s become a national symbol of hope and for the need for conservation in Ecuador. She doesn’t know it, but she is helping change the world for the better.
Everyone needs to eat, and you can understand the need for a farmer to protect his crops. But it is a tragedy that so much of man’s “progress” comes at the expense of the natural world.
D’yaira’s story could have ended so many ways and many of them would have left the world poorer for it. Thankfully, she got the treatment and care that she needed and a full recovery is likely.
The vets of the university can feel proud of their contribution to humanity and the natural order. D’yaira has all of our fondest wishes for her future and the future of her species.