Colombia’s Heroic Search Concludes: The intensive quest for Wilson, the rescue dog, culminates in joy. Salute to this courageous canine! ‎

BOGOTA, Colombia—The extensive and dedicated search for Wilson, a rescue dog that played a vital role in finding four children in the Amazon last month but went missing himself, has been called off by the military. This gripping tale captured the attention of the entire country.

General Pedro Sánchez, who led the search for both the children and Wilson, expressed mixed emotions on Tuesday, stating, “We utilized all available resources and spared no effort in the search. While we feel relieved about locating the four children, we are saddened that Wilson couldn’t be rescued.”

The rescue of the four siblings, who survived for 40 days in the jungle after a plane crash, captivated people worldwide. Subsequently, Colombia’s armed forces mobilized around 100 commandos to navigate the inhospitable jungle, enduring heavy rainfall and insect bites, in their quest to find Wilson.

This five-year-old Belgian shepherd, with a beautiful coffee-colored coat, had been actively involved in the mission to locate the children until he broke away from his handler nearly two months ago, disappearing into the dense foliage. The oldest of the four siblings, Lesly Jacobombaire, 13, informed the army that Wilson had been by their side for approximately three days. General Sánchez explained that Wilson might have made contact with them on May 28.

Following the successful rescue of the children, Lesly and Soleiny Jacobombair, 9, drew pictures of Wilson amidst trees and flowers from their hospital beds in the capital. Commandos who participated in Operation Hope, the mission to find the children, likened losing Wilson to losing a fellow soldier.

Sergeant Wilmar Miranda stated, “Wilson, who dedicated his life in the line of duty, remained vigilant over the children. Though we couldn’t locate and retrieve him, the jungle is an enigmatic mystery, and it’s possible that it swallowed him up.”

Another commando involved in the search, Sergeant Luber Espinosa, speculated that Wilson, after spending several weeks in the Amazon, may have fallen victim to a predator. “It’s possible that the jungle’s animals devoured him,” he said. “There are formidable creatures like boas and jaguars, and the dog had no food apart from the water in the jungle.” Espinosa added, “One thing is certain: history will remember this dog.”

General Sánchez expressed the armed forces’ desire to honor Wilson’s memory by including a depiction of him in a mural at one of the army bases. Last month, President Gustavo Petro bestowed a medal upon Wilson’s mother, Drugia, during a ceremony at the presidential palace, attended by the commandos who found the children. The tributes will continue on July 20, Colombia’s Independence Day.

“In the July 20 parade, there will be a float commemorating Operation Hope, and Wilson’s mother will be present,” announced General Sánchez. The military emphasized that Wilson was well-versed in navigating the wilderness, having received training to operate in Colombia’s jungle. He played a crucial role in the mission by helping the military locate an important sign of life—a baby bottle used by the youngest child.

“The dog, trained for tracking, was well-prepared for this environment, which is why he utilized his skills,” stated the military in a written statement last month.

— Jenny Carolina Gonzalez contributed to this article

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