The story of Guadalupe

The little armadillo that survives forest fires in Bolivia

By Marolyn Vidaurre

Dear readers, the following story is related to our previous post: https://bluoverda.home.blog/2020/03/09/4-1-million-hectares-of-forest-destroyed-by-fire-in-bolivia/

The forest fires that Bolivia experienced in 2019 are considered the largest natural disaster in the last ten years. The fire has consumed more than 5.3 million hectares of tropical forest in different regions of the country and has killed more than two million animals. With the best intentions to help, BluoVerda Deutschland e.V. organized local activities in Dresden, Germany to collect donations and support CIWY, who along with other organizations rescued and cared for the wildlife affected by fires.

Thanks to the support of family, friends, and colleagues, a donation of EUR 200 was made to CIWY in October of the same year. Additional funds from Zampoorna Yoga Zentrum (EUR 250) were also canalized through BluoVerda to CIWY to reduce the transactional costs and achieve a greater impact. This donation was meant to the care of two animals rescued from the forest fires of the Chiquitanía, in Santa Cruz, a 7-band armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus) and a common possum (Didelphis marsupialis). Both animals were transferred to the Ambue Ari Center, a wildlife sanctuary owned and managed exclusively by CIWY, where they received all the necessary care. The money collected was used for food (vegetables, fruits, eggs, and cat food) and medical supplies (serum, bandage, vitamin K, omega supplements, and antibiotics) of both animals.

Nena (Tania) Baltazar Lugones President of CIWY tells us the story of Guadalupe …

Guadalupe is a small 7-banded armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus) that now lives in the Ambue Ari Center. She is one of the few survivors of one of the most terrifying events in recent years, the forest fires. Thousands of animals died from the flames of fire and many others due to lack of water and food, very few managed to be rescued and helped. A group of veterinarians and volunteers from CIWY moved to the temporary shelter of San Ignacio de Velasco in Santa Cruz, to provide support in wildlife rescue activities from the fires. Thus, in October of the same year, two individuals from the San Ignacio temporary shelter, a 7-band armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus) and a common possum (Didelphis marsupialis) entered the Ambue Ari Center.

7 banded armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus)
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved
Common possum (Didelphis marsupialis)
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved

A local family found the armadillo alone and scared, running away from the fire. Seeing that she was in poor condition, dehydrated and very weak, they took her to the shelter where she was immediately attended by veterinarians who after much care managed to stabilize her. The next day a common possum arrived. She had burn wounds on her legs; she was very delicate and could hardly move. Once stabilized, both animals were transferred to the Ambue Ari Center, where both were under observation and intensive care in the medical station.

Guadalupe the 7 banded armadillo eating at the medical station
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved
The common possum recovering at the medical station
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, the common possum died of damage and multi-organ failure. The armadillo recovered successfully, thanks to the care and attention of the veterinarians who baptized it with the name of Guadalupe. It is currently in a wide area with the necessary environmental conditions. It has been observed to perform activities characteristic of its species, such as digging tunnels and hiding for long periods of time. Her recovery improves with the days and she is adapting to her new home in our center, which makes everyone happy.

Next steps…

With this little action, we were able to save Guadalupe’s life. However, there are many other animals out there that need our help. Forest fires, the destruction of habitat, and the latent threat of illegal traffic are putting in danger our wildlife, especially the survival of several emblematic species such as jaguars and pumas, along with toucans, macaws, and small mammals. Despite the efforts made by CIWY to provide wildlife a second chance to survive, the lack of environmental awareness and the increase of unregulated, unmanaged and not monitored chaqueos practices is driving towards a fast loss of the forest and its biodiversity in the Amazon region where the forest is gradually decreasing in size, threatening all species. The new alliance between BluoVerda Deutschland e.V and Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) targets an education program for young people and children with the objective of increasing environmental awareness of biodiversity conservation, emphasizing wildlife, and the need of sustainable agricultural practices in harmony with the nature in the region. 

“We are very happy to have started this collaborative relationship with BluoVerda, with whom we share the same objectives of conserving and educating in favor of our biodiversity. Our next project is to be able to count on their support to carry out environmental education projects. It is so necessary to raise awareness in the populations surrounding our three Shrines about wildlife trafficking and the importance of each living being. Every day wild animals are snatched from the jungle, out of ten trafficked animals, only one manages to survive. These data are very alarming and we need our actions to generate changes in favor of wildlife. We trust that, by contributing our grain of sand, together CIWY and BluoVerda we can raise awareness in favor of life and our planet” (Nena Baltazar President CIWY).

Source: CIWY © All rights reserved
Source: CIWY © All rights reserved

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