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Puma Rescued from Poachers by Bolivian Animal Sanctuary

Tue 13th Mar 2018

La Senda Verde is one of our supported charities, and our volunteer in Bolivia, Hayley, has been telling us the story of Espumita, a puma rescued and given a new chance at life...

Espumita has been with La Senda Verde now for just over two years.  She came as a small kitten from the authorities in La Paz who had confiscated her from a poacher.  At the time La Senda Verde didn't have anywhere suitable to accommodate her and as a small kitten she spent her first few months in the clinic.  La Senda Verde raised funds and built her a management cage whilst she was still growing.  Then, at the beginning of 2017 they completed her full sized enclosure with high platforms, on a hill so she can get to higher ground and with a den at the top that she loves to sit in and watch out from.  

Espumita has always been quite a shy and easily stressed cat but loves her new home.  When we arrived at La Senda in December Espumita had unfortunately been very stressed and was pacing a lot due to recent construction works going on close to her enclosure.  Unfortunately, when we arrived Espumita also wasn't eating very well and had lost condition.  Eight weeks ago, we sedated her and a visiting group of vets studying ultrasonography came and performed an ultrasound on her and we were able to give her a thorough check.  It was found that she likely had some mild hepatic lipidosis (a form of liver disease) which was also contributing to her loss of appetite.

Along with one of the sanctuary staff members, I started to add in extra enrichment every day for Espumita and slightly change the time and way in which she was fed.  Luckily, at this time the construction was also finished. Over the last eight weeks there has been an amazing transformation! Espumita has started to eat normally, gain weight and is noticeably more relaxed and confident.  She comes down to greet us every time we go for enrichment or cleaning and feeding (which she never did before) and we haven't seen her do any  pacing that she was doing before.  

She absolutely loves cardboard boxes of any shape or size!  We started off with relaxing smells such as chamomile flowers and lavender in cardboard boxes.  We have also been using feathers which she loves.  She is still a huge fan of lavender and will roll in it and will then often have a mad ten minutes running all over her enclosure with the box and up on her platforms having so much fun.  Last week, I also heard her purr for the first time!  


It’s incredible how this sanctuary has helped save Espumita and many other endangered wildlife in Bolivia. WVS is proud to help support these incredible creatures and the charity offering them a better life. 

If you'd like to volunteer to assist the team at La Senda Verde in caring for the varied wildlife at their centre, please click here.