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Scorched jaguar returns home after Brazil fire ordeal


Agence France-Presse

Brasilia, Brazil  /  Fri, October 23, 2020  /  07:04 am
Scorched jaguar returns home after Brazil fire ordeal

In this file picture taken on October 13, 2020 Amanaci, an adult female jaguar that had its paws burnt during recent fires in Pantanal, receives a stem cells treatment at the Nex Institute NGO, in Corumba de Goias, Goias State, Brazil. (AFP/Evaristo Sa)

A jaguar badly burned in the fires that ravaged Brazil's Pantanal wetlands this year has been returned to the wild after more than a month of intensive treatment for his burns.

Members of the veterinary team that treated the jaguar's scorched paws with ozone and laser therapies released him Tuesday at the same spot where he was rescued, along a river in the Encontro das Aguas nature reserve in central-western Brazil.

Named Ousado, which means "daring" or "bold" in Portuguese, the five-year-old jaguar was placed in a crate on the river bank.

A video of the release made by the wildlife protection organization that treated him, the Nex Institute, shows his handlers pulling a rope to open the door of the crate from the safe distance of a boat on the river.

Ousado tentatively left the crate, examined his surroundings, then bounded off into the forest, prompting his veterinary team to burst into applause.

"When we found him, he was in a lot of pain. He couldn't walk properly. Today, he was back to normal. He ran right up the bank. We're very happy with the result," veterinarian Jorge Salomao told AFP.

Read also: Ecotourism gem reduced to ashes as Brazil wetlands burn

Known for its stunning biodiversity, the Pantanal is the largest tropical wetlands on Earth, stretching from Brazil into Bolivia and Paraguay.

An estimated 23 percent of the Brazilian Pantanal has gone up in smoke this year, amid the region's worst drought in nearly half a century.

Images of charred landscapes strewn with animal carcasses have shocked the world, drawing criticism of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's government.

Ousado got a happier ending than that of another wounded jaguar rescued from the Pantanal, Amanaci.

She was found two months ago with third-degree burns, and is receiving stem cell treatments in a bid to help her heal.

But veterinarians say the fire damaged her tendons so badly she can no longer extend her claws, meaning it is unlikely she can be released back into the wild.

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