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Wildcat Guarded Body of Drowned U.S. Child in Costa Rica

Red Cross volunteers searching for a drowned young tourist from the United States were led to discovery by a jaguarundi (eyra cat, similar to a mountain lion), which seemed to be guarding the deceased child.

As reported by The Costa Rica Star earlier this week, a flash flood swept away three U.S. tourists swimming in the Blanco river in the Rincon de la Vieja (Old Woman’s Corner) National Park, province of Guanacaste. Two victims, a 67-year old woman, a 38-year old man were recovered by Red Cross rescuers on the day of the incident. The 6-year old child would be found a day later.

On Friday morning, rescuers were combing the riverbank about a kilometer from the spot where the boy was last seen, when their attention turned to a jaguarundi that was pacing in a semicircular pattern while grunting towards the water.

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Jaguarondi (Herpailurus Yagouaroundi)

The jaguarundi (Herpailurus Yaguarondi) is a medium-sized wild cat. Not related to the jaguar, though the name seems to say otherwise, but it’s closely related to the cougar (puma) and also to the cheetah. It has short legs and an appearance somewhat like an otter; the ears are short and rounded. The coat is unspotted, uniform in colour, and varying from blackish to brownish grey (grey phase) or from foxy red to chestnut (red phase). The cat’s ranges from Southern Texas to South America.

As this cat is closely related to the much larger and heavier cougar, evident by its similar genetic structure and chromosome count count, the jaguarundi is also said to be in the genus Puma although it is more often classified under a separate genus, Herpailurus. Until recently both cats were classified under the genus Felis.

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