4 min read

Little Jaguar Was Hiding Saddest Secret Inside Her Body

"Now she can eat 15 to 20 chicken breasts per day without problem. She is getting stronger."

When a little jaguar was discovered, unable to move and without her mom, a good Samaritan contacted the exact right people to help her.

Veterinarians found that the jaguar was tetraplegic, unable to move her legs. So they used an X-ray to look inside her to figure out what was wrong.

Veronica Cabrera

"Every week we receive wild animals from all over the country who are victims of indiscriminate hunting," Veronica Cabrera, a veterinary student at San Francisco de Quito University in Ecuador, told The Dodo. The jaguar was getting seen by the doctors at the veterinary hospital's wildlife animal rescue organization, TUERI.

Veronica Cabrera

"We don't know exactly what happened because villagers don't want to give information, but she was found next to a palm plantation without her mother," Cabrera said. "We suppose they were too close to the plantation and were shot."

Veronica Cabrera

The 11-month-old jaguar is believed to be another victim of indiscriminate hunting. Veterinarians discovered 18 bullets inside the big cat. Two of these shots had damaged her spinal cord.

Veronica Cabrera

But veterinarians didn't give up on her. They named her D'yaira.

Veronica Cabrera

D'yaira went into surgery with Dr. Andrés Ortega and Dr. Gabriela Parra, but they discovered many bullets were too embedded in her bones to be removed.

Veronica Cabrera

"They will try another surgery," Cabrera said, adding that they think D'yaira will need five months of physiotherapy in the hospital before sending her to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

Veronica Cabrera

"We want her story to be known by everyone, so people can prevent or stop hunting animals," Cabrera said.

Veronica Cabrera
Veronica Cabrera

Even though she has a long road ahead of her, this week D'yaira already showed some signs of improvement. On Thursday, two veterinary students saw her moving one of her hind legs.

Veronica Cabrera

"Now she is able to change her position by herself, so it seems like the surgery was successful," Cabrera said. "Now she can eat 15 to 20 chicken breasts per day without problem. She is getting stronger."

Veronica Cabrera

To help save jaguars like this one, you can make a donation to Defenders of Wildlife.