D’Yaria is a beautiful jaguar who lived in the jungle with her mother. Her mother was trying to find a meal for her children, an Ecuadorian farmer’s cattle, and she likely died trying to feed her children.
D’Yaria, however, was left all alone.
“This is an area where people have cattle, and jaguars are known for going into farms and killing cattle, so what the locals do is just kill the jaguars to preserve the cattle,” Maria Cristina Cely of Darwin Animal Doctors said. “It’s very sad.”
The baby jaguar was found just in the nick of time by rescuers. Some locals were hiking through the jungle and spotted the 11-month-old cat, who was shot by the farmer and paralyzed.
The rescuers placed D’Yaria into the back of their pickup truck and drove five hours to an animal hospital at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador’s capital.
The hikers were set on saving this cat’s life.
Dr. Andrés Ortega wasn’t sure that D’Yaria would make it, and if she did, she was not sure the cat would ever walk again. They took x-rays and found 18 shotgun pellets lodged inside D’Yaria’s neck and back.
D’Yaria couldn’t move at all, she was paralyzed from the neck down, she did, however, have a little movement in her head and neck.
The staff at the animal hospital had a plan.
“She needed two main surgeries to remove the pellets and the areas that were damaged in her spine,” Cely said. “That damage was able to be fixed by removing the little cushion between the two vertebrae in the neck.”
The doctors were able to remove the pellets which were pressing down on her spine, and eventually, D’Yaria was able to move again and began to walk after her surgeries.
“She stood up and she started showing signs that she would not stay still, and that’s when everyone realized that she was going to make it,” said Cely.
D’Yaria was confined to a small cage so that she could heal properly but was given lots of shredded paper to play with.
“If she had not been found and she had not been treated, she would not have survived,” Cely explained. “She was paralyzed and she would not have been able to drink water and not be able to hunt or find food for herself.”
D’Yaria has been recovering and doctors believe she’ll be able to be released back into the wild.
“The goal of all the vets and Darwin Animal Doctors is to get the satellite tracking collar, as D’Yaria will go from victim and survivor to a champion for jaguar conservation,” Darwin Animal Doctors President Tod Emko said.
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