Alik, the 8-month-old female ocelot that veterinarians believe was beaten with a metal pipe, is successfully recovering from surgery to repair her broken jaw.
Last week a group of six veterinarians and specialists performed the surgery to reconstruct her broken jaw using titanium plates and screws in a procedure that lasted some two and half hours.
Alik is recovering well from the surgery, biologist Rodolfo Vargas Leitón, who works with the Refugio Herpetológico, told The Tico Times. The wildlife refuge took in Alik after police spotted her in a cage, in poor condition, on a family’s property in San Juan de Mata, southwest of San José.
The family had apparently beaten and caged the animal, a threatened species, after finding her inside their henhouse.
“The jaw has held in a good position and she has already started to eat,” Vargas said. “Currently we are only feeding her prepared meals and ground beef, but her overall health condition is very good.”
Refuge staff said they would have to wait at least eight weeks for the broken bones to fully heal before trying to feed Alik solid food.
The ocelot will have to remain at least four months at the refuge to ensure full recovery. Experts will monitor her to assess whether the titanium parts are causing any discomfort.
Still, Vargas said the animal’s evolution has been very positive, and the shelter’s team believes that, pending evaluations, Alik could be released into the wild again and live a normal life.
But not without a lot of work. Wildlife experts will have to train her so she can be confident hunting again and get reaccustomed to living on her own.
Donations helped pay for the titanium components to fix Alik’s jaw. The animal shelter is still fundraising to pay for the animal’s daily maintenance and recovery.
The Refugio Herpetológico currently houses 70 species of rescued animals, many of which are unable to return to their natural habitats due to agressions from humans.
To help Alik and other animals at the shelter you can donate through the shelter’s bank account (921387056) at BAC San José or through the PayPal account listed on the shelter’s website.
Watch a video of Alik’s first meal following her surgery: