Tragic end for the hero dog that found children lost in the Amazon

Tragic end for the hero dog that found children lost in the Colombian jungle: Military calls off search for missing Wilson after ‘doing everything within our reach’ to find him after he vanished during rescue

  • Wilson helped locate Lesly, Soleiny, Cristin Neryman, and Tien Noriel in jungle

The Colombian Army has called off the search for the hero dog that helped locate four children lost for 40 days in the Amazon rainforest.

Wilson, a Belgian Shepherd, helped locate Lesly, 13, Soleiny, nine, Tien Noriel, four, and Cristin Neryman, one, in the Guaviare rainforest following an aircraft crash but went missing himself.

In a tragic turn of events, the army has said that it was ‘unlikely’ to find Wilson after the desperate search for him began on June 9.

After their rescue, the children told of how Wilson had been with them before they were found by the Army and indigenous volunteers. They had also drawn heartfelt pictures of the hero pup.

Special Forces commander General Pedro Sanchez said in Bogota on Monday: ‘Wilson is one of our commandos. We have done absolutely everything within our reach, we have spared no efforts to find him, but we are aware that it is practically unlikely that we can find him.’

Belgian shepherd dog Wilson (pictured) helped locate the four children lost for 40 days in the Amazon rainforest

The four siblings, Lesly, 13, Soleiny, nine, Tien Noriel, four, and baby Cristin, one, pictured safe in their hospital beds at a military hospital in Bogota, Colombia 

The four indigenous children are pictured after being rescued. They were missing for six weeks in the Colombian Amazon jungle after a plane crash 

The plane crash happened in Solano, Caqueta. The aircraft was found destroyed on May 16

The tribute, which was attended by President Gustavo Petro, was part of an award ceremony for Wilson’s mother, Drugia.

General Sanchez told those present: ‘Wilson will be remembered in our hearts and in the soul of the Colombian people, as we will do with the other canines and with our soldiers and police officers who have sacrificed their lives.’

Wilson was the strongest puppy of five born to Drugia and was raised among military personnel. He trained for 14 months at the School of Military Engineers.

He was recruited to help in the search for the four missing children.

‘He was the dog we were looking for: strong, not afraid, very curious,’ Edgar Fontecha, instructor at the canine training centre, said according to El Espectador. 

‘He was the true hero because he beat the communications between the jungle and pulled his guide towards the wreckage of the aircraft’, the military said. 

‘It is said that the dog broke the rope that tied him to Lara (his guide) and started to do his thing, to follow the trail of the minors until he was lost,’ Mr Fontecha added. 

On May 28, Lesley’s footprint was found among other smaller ones. there was also a dog paw print. Ten days later it was confirmed that the four children had been found. 

The six-year-old pooch’s disappearance was reported on June 8, a day before the children were found.

The Army believes he got lost after the area’s hostile conditions – including humidity and dense foliage limiting visibility to 20 metres – disoriented him.

Lenin Ospina, a retired military officer who worked with search and rescue animals, told Blu Radio that Wilson could be ‘in an emotional condition of psychological block’ and he might not be responding to people’s calls.

He was not wearing a tracker. However, even if he had been, unfavourable weather conditions may have hindered it from functioning properly, reports said.

The order to search for Wilson was given after the children were rescued.

Wilson is pictured during the search for the missing children on May 17

The crash is believed to have happened due a mechanical failure on May 1. The wreckage was found wedged in thick vegetation, having apparently nosedived into the jungle

Lesly Mucutuy drew a touching coloured drawing of Wilson in the rainforest

Pictured is Wilson’s mother Drugia, who was honoured at the tribute to her son, with a soldier

Wilson went missing on June and a rescue mission was called the next day. He is tragically still missing

Ahead of the decision to call off the search, Armed Forces commander General Helder Giraldo said: ‘A fallen comrade is never abandoned on the battlefield.

‘Operation Esperanza continues to advance in the search for our canine Wilson, who, while tracking and in his eagerness to find the children, moves away from the troops and gets lost.’

More than 70 members of the Army were involved in the search for the missing dog.

Their strategies included bringing in two females in heat in a bid to attract him, and placing food at points deemed strategic.

But this week officials have said men used for the rescue mission are needed elsewhere in the country.

‘We have more responsibilities in other areas of the country, our men are also exposed to jungle diseases and the risks that exist there,’ says General Pedro Sánchez. 

This week a video of a dog that looks very similar to the Belgian Shepherd has been shared on social media, sparking hope that Wilson is still alive and well. 

It was spotted in La Plata in Hulia, which is 125 miles (200km) from where the children were found. 

‘From La Plata (Huila) they send a video and a photo where a puppy very similar to Wilson can be seen wandering in the rural area of ​​the municipality. 

‘We are talking about a considerable distance, close to 200 km. It is important to verify this information, the National Army of Colombia and the Colombian Military Forces,’ a social media user said. 

The children had been missing for more than a month, sparking a massive search operation to find them 

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