A group of children on their way to school helped save a wild animal from drowning. On Tuesday morning (of June 28), the children were traveling on a school boat that travels between Boqueirão Sul and Pedrinhas, on Ilha Comprida in São Paulo, Brazil when they spotted a cat struggling in the water.
It was a baby ocelot and she was exhausted and having difficulty keeping above the water. Seeing the animal in distress, boat pilot Jean Claude Mendes immediately steered the boat around and approached the cat. With the help of some of the children, he extended an oar for the kitten to grab onto. The rescue was captured on video:
The drowning cat instantly grabbed hold of the oar and her rescuers pulled the oar back so she could plop on the deck.
“At first, everyone thought it was a jaguar cub because of its resemblance to the Ocelot. Pilot Jean still believes he is a jaguar, since – at this age – the two species are similar,” wrote Cidade de ilha comprida, who shared video of the cat’s rescue on Facebook. But the wild cat’s markings indicate she is an ocelot.
Once they got hold of the wild kitten they brought her to shore and released her onto dry land on the bank of Boguaçu River, near where she was swimming before being rescued.
The region’s Environmental Police said that the pilot’s actions were correct. “The region is the species’ natural habitat and, as it was not injured, returning it in the same direction was important,” Sergeant Augusto of the Environmental Police said of the ocelot’s rescue.
As for the rescuers, Jean said that the experience was rewarding and he was happy they could rescue her. “She was swimming desperately. It was really nice to rescue her with the help of the kids, who helped hold the paddle,” he said.
The president of SOS Penguin of Ilha Comprida, Cristian Negrão, also congratulated everyone for the action in favor of animals and Nature. He said, “The pilot and the children adopted a wonderful attitude. Certainly the mother must have found her again, but we will follow up on the case and act if there are any different movements in the area.”