An Introduction to the Tale
This is the heart-wrenching story of Jiquitaia, a jaguar cub that was abandoned by his mother in the Amazon jungle. Weak, inexperienced and vulnerable, it was extremely unlikely that he would survive for very long at all.
Luckily, the Brazilian military rescued him and nurtured him back to full health. But what happened next was the last thing anyone was expecting – and Jiquitaia’s story has become world-renowned.
The Harsh Reality of Jungle Life
Many species of animals, especially big cats such as jaguars, abandon their young that they deem unfit to survive – usually because of a physical defect or sickness at birth. This was the case for poor Jiquitaia the jaguar, whose fate was left uncertain when he was abandoned in the Brazilian section of the Amazon jungle as a young cub.
Vulnerable to the elements, as well as other animals and hunters, Jiquitaia faced a tragic death.
Jiquitaia the Jaguar is Found
Luckily, Brazilian army soldiers found Jiquitaia in the jungle hanging onto life by a thread and were left with deciding what to do next. Leaving him alone would have almost certainly resulted in his death, either at the hands of hunters who target jaguars for their beautiful coat, other animals looking for food, or the unpredictable and intense weather in the Amazon.
As a result, the soldiers decided to take him back with them to the military base.
Restoring the Cub’s Health
Jiquitaia was far too weak to be released back into the wild anytime soon, and there was no sign of his siblings or mother anywhere around, so a reunion with his family was impossible. The challenge, therefore, was in feeding Jiquitaia and restoring his health fully.
The local authorities decided to leave the jaguar with the military officers, despite the fact they were not trained to take care of animals of this nature. It seemed, however, like the young cub had formed a bond with his rescuers, so this seemed like the best option.
The Role of the Jungle Warfare Training Center
The Jungle Warfare Training Center of Brazil is a group of highly trained officers that serve as “wilderness warriors.” Their day-to-day activities revolve around conservation operations, scouting, and making sure that the rainforests are kept safe from hostile forces such as hunters, poachers, and loggers.
Nursing a jaguar cub, however, was something entirely new for them, and they were understandably nervous about taking on such a responsibility.
An Unlikely Recovery Shocks the Rescuers
The officers had little hope for poor Jiquitaia, who seemed unlikely to pull through. Somehow, however, to everyone’s amazement, he started to show signs of recovery, and the officers began to hope for a miracle. Jiquitaia began to respond to his human carers affectionately, which is extremely unusual for a big wild cat.
In fact, jaguars are associated with wild, often violent behavior, but Jiquitaia was an exception to the rule. The bond between the cub and his rescuers grew stronger still.
The Heavens Open and Flood the Jungle
When he was deemed to be in full health and able to take care of himself, Jiquitaia was released back into the wild, but reports soon came in of a flood-related disaster in the Amazon – an extremely large tide had uprooted hundreds of trees and huts in its wake.
The officers were understandably worried about the fate of their rescued jaguar, and soon he was spotted struggling to remain afloat by residents. As he was already relatively well known among the locals due to his publicized rescue, they were able to recognize him immediately and alert the officers.
Desperate Attempts to Avoid Drowning
The Brazilian military was quick to respond and rushed to rescue Jiquitaia for the second time. Three officers and several residents united in a desperate attempt to save the drowning jaguar. One officer later said: “The Jaguar was terrified and on the verge of drowning. He was desperately clinging to a fallen tree to stay afloat.”
A special wooden platform was lowered near Jiquitaia, but he seemed hesitant and refused to let go of the tree he was holding onto for dear life. At that moment, the officers realized they would have to carry the animal somehow themselves.
Contact with Humans Brings Success
It worked – Jiquitaia’s rescue was successful after he clung to an officer’s back while being removed from the water. It even seemed as though he was happy to have physical contact with humans again, and it was evident that he trusted his rescuers. The officers said, “It is not very often that we see people and big cats coming in close contact with one another.
However, this Jaguar was a special case as he was released back to the wild not too long ago. Perhaps, this cat is not accustomed to the ways of the jungle anymore.”
A Symbol of Hope for Wildlife
The Brazilian Jungle Warfare Training Center took a unanimous decision to keep Jiquitaia on the military base permanently and constructed a particular shelter for him that was reminiscent of the Amazon jungle. Now, the rescued cub had the best of both worlds and was able to live the rest of his days with his beloved rescuers.
This is a perfect demonstration of how humans and animals can live in harmony and overcome any barriers between them. As a result, Jiquitaia has become a symbol of hope for other animals that must rely on the kindness and courage of humans.