Maria looks at the injured cub and her heart aches with sympathy and worry; she can see the pain and confusion in its watery eyes. Then suddenly she hears something. The sound of ticking. Like a grandfather clock, or a bomb.
Maria had been a vet for 7 years and she had never seen anything like this before. She puts her head closer to the cub’s stomach and the ticking gets louder. It was coming from inside the cub’s stomach.
For animal lover Maria Cely, she truly adored her job. You see, Maria worked as a veterinarian at her local clinic, Darwin Animal Doctors in Galapagos, Ecuador.
Every morning Maria woke up with a smile on her face. She knew she was making a difference by caring for and helping injured animals. But this devoted vet had no idea what was coming.
It started as an ordinary day for Maria – she arrived early at work armed with a fresh coffee to get a head start on some important paperwork.
Once that was finished, she had a busy day ahead seeing all of her favorite animals and pets. Littler did Maria know what else was in store for her today.
Maria had been working as a vet for 7 years. Ever since she was a little girl, she knew she wanted to grow up and work with animals.
But in all her years of helping and nursing injured animals, Maria had never seen anything like what she was about to see today.
Maria had just finished giving a dog called Rocky his latest injections, and she waved him and his owner off as they left the clinic.
Then suddenly, her phone rang. It was from an unknown number. Maria answered the call, not knowing what exactly was coming to her.
It was a woman on the phone and she sounded distressed. “Please help,” the woman said. Maria tried to calm the woman down and she asked what exactly was wrong.
What the woman said next left Maria feeling sick to her stomach.
“It’s a Jaguar cub. She’s injured and she can’t move her legs or body,” the woman said. Maria could feel panic creep up her spine as she took note of what the woman said.
Maria thought it sounded like the female cub had injured herself, perhaps in the woods. It was a common injury that Maria had seen before, especially in her town. But Maria was so wrong.
Before Maria could tell the woman what to do next to help the injured cub, the woman burst into tears. What was wrong with her?
“We can hear ticking,” the woman said, her voice shaking. “There’s ticking coming from the jaguar’s stomach!”
Maria felt sick to her stomach the moment she heard the startled woman say she could hear ticking from the cub’s stomach. What did this mean?
The cub was evidently paralyzed, but why was there ticking inside its stomach? Maria knew she had to act fast. She had to do something and help this poor cub. But was she too late?
Thankfully, the woman and some local townspeople dropped off the Jaguar cub at Maria’s clinic.
Maria saw the poor cub and her heart ached with worry and sympathy. She vowed to find out the truth, but she did she was lost for words.
As soon as she laid her eyes on the paralyzed, poor cub, Maria knew she had to do whatever it takes to help it.
She put her head closer to the cub’s stomach and she heard it herself. Ticking. Just like a bomb. It couldn’t be, could it?
Straight away the cub was rushed into an examination. Mariah and her team spent two hours trying to figure out what was wrong.
And finally, they had the answers. But it was answers that left them feeling sick to their stomach.
Maria and her team had found out that the cub had been shot 19 times! The reason for this? Jaguars are known to go into farms and kill cattle, so locals shoot Jaguars to save their cattle.
The team was astonished at their discovery. With what this poor cub had endured, would she be able to ever walk again?
Maria and her team were determined to do whatever they could to get the cub back into tip-top shape.
The cub needed two surgeries, which fortunately were successful. But what this cub did next, left everybody lost for words.
Day by day it seemed the Jaguar cub had started to regain her strength. Then one morning, she got up! The team was overjoyed with the cub’s recovery.
She was definitely getting stronger, but with her getting older and bigger, the vet clinic knew they couldn’t keep her for much longer. But where would she go?
A month later, the cub was sent to Lago Agrio, Ecuador where she lives in a larger outdoor enclosure.
She loves nothing more than running around, finding new smells and sights. Although she can’t be released into the wild just yet, the team is confident that she will soon enough.