Mission Find Wilson! 70 Colombian soldiers are scouring Amazon jungle for hero K-9 who helped locate four missing children after they survived plane crash that killed three people including their mother
- Wilson, a search dog with the Colombian military, has been lost in the Amazon forest since May
- The two-year-old Belgian Shepherd was part of the special forces unit that was deployed to search for four indigenous children who survived a plane crash
- Currently, there are 70 soldiers and two sniffer dogs participating in a mission to find Wilson, who graduated from a canine school in February
The Colombian military is holding on to hope that soldiers will find the hero sniffer dog who helped locate the four indigenous children lost in the Amazon jungle for 40 days after surviving a plane crash that killed three people, including their mother.
A unit of 70 soldiers and two sniffer dogs have been scouring the forest where Wilson, a two-year-old Belgian Shepherd, was last seen on June 6 – three days before the children were miraculously found.
The military-trained search dog’s pawprints were vital in leading soldiers to Lesly Jacombaire Mucutuy, 13, Soleiny Jacombaire Mucutuy, nine, Tien Noriel Ronoque Mucutuy, four, and one-year-old Cristin Neriman Ranoque Mucutuy.
The siblings are now recovering in a military hospital in Bogotá, with the focus moving on to a desperate hunt for Wilson.
Wilson, a two-year-old Belgian Shepherd, got lost in the Amazon jungle in May while helping lead the military in the search of four Indigenous children who survived a plane crash that killed three people, including their 34-year-old mother
Soldiers and Indigenous men pose for a photo with the four children who went missing after a deadly plane crash in the Colombian department of Caquetá. The children were safely located June 9
The pooch was raised at a canine school in the capital city where he was trained for 14 months, and the center’s commander is among many high-ranking members of the military who have vowed to make sure Wilson is located safe and sound.
‘For us it was an honor that our canine helped to find those children’ said Sgt. Luis Fernando Seña, the commander of the canine school, as quoted by The Associated Press.
‘It would be great news for the country, and for our children if he can be found.’
Wilson completed his training in February and was immediately assigned to a special forces unit at the Tolemaida air force base.
In May, he and four other sniffer dogs joined soldiers searching the Guaviare rainforest after a single-engine Cessna crashed in the department of Caquetá, killing three adults, including the children’s mother Magdalena Mucutuy Valencia, 34.
Exclusive photos show the four siblings, Lesly, 13, Soleiny, nine, Tien Noriel, four, and baby Cristin, one, safe in their hospital beds at a military hospital in Bogota, Colombia
Wilson has been hailed a hero in Colombia and the military is doing everything possible to find the Belgian Shepherd, who has been lost in the Amazon jungle after he helped find four Indigenous children who survived a plane crash in May
The Cessna crashed into thick jungle in southern Colombia, killing all three adults on board, but the four children all miraculously survived
To track down the children’s whereabouts, Wilson was provided samples of their clothing to sniff.
But during a May 18 search mission, the sniffer dog got separated from the military unit after he raced into the forest following a scent. Wilson’s handler spotted him May 20, but the dog ran off. On May 28, the soldiers discovered the children’s footprints next to Wilson’s pawprints.
The clues were a sign that the children and Wilson were together.
Colonel Gustavo Narváez told news magazine Semana that the military spotted Wilson once again June 6. They tried to get him to come closer by offering him food and entertaining him with search dog from a Civil Defense unit, but Wilson ran away and has not been seen again since.
General Pedro Śanchez told W radio that Wilson kept the children safe days before the military were able to find them.
‘The children spoke to us, and confirmed that the dog was with them for two or three days,’ he said.
Wilson graduated from the Colombian military’s canine academy in February and then was placed with an air force special forces unit
Magdalena died in the plane crash along with the pilot and an Indigenous leader
During a search mission last week, the military flew out two female dogs to the area near where the plane crash in an effort to draw Wilson closer.
They have also left food in the near the crash area as well as clothing items belonging to this handler with the hope the scent will help Wilson back to safety.
Mark Lee, a Colombian dog trainer, and radio host who has 13 pups at home, including a 10-year-old Belgian Shepherd, is aware that Wilson and the military are in a ‘tough situation.’
‘I don’t see a Belgian Malinois eating fruits and leaves in the forest, or trying to catch an animal to survive,’ he said. ‘And I wouldn’t see that in a dog that is used to having his food in his bowl, at regular hours.’
At the canine academy, Wilson’s commanders are not giving up because they know the dog is highly trained and capable of overcoming physical obstacles.
But ultimately it will have to rely on its instincts to survive.
‘He is very energetic, and always stood out because of his strength, his energy and his strong temperament’ said Elvis Porras, a trainer who helped to raise Wilson, and worked with the dog until he graduated from the academy earlier this year.
‘He is a distant relative of wolves, so I hope his instinct to hunt will help him to survive.’
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