This 25-year-old man may not have survived nine days in the Bolivian jungle if it wasn’t for a group of monkeys that were watching over the endangered tourist.
The Madidi National Park in Bolivia is made up of some of the densest jungled terrain in the Amazon. But the park service says that they haven’t experienced a disappearance in over 15 years – that is, until Chilean tourist Maykool Coroseo Acuña went missing.
When the tour guide returned to check on Maykool five minutes later, he was nowhere to be found.
Madidi shamans believed that Maykool had been driven mad by evil spirits of the Amazon because he did not give thanks to Pachamama. Forest rangers searched the jungle for six days before they finally found a muddied sock that was confirmed to have belonged to the missing tourist.
Shamans used the sock to call Maykool home and ward off the evil gripping his soul. Three more days later, the Chilean man was found only a half mile away from town. Though he was extremely dehydrated and riddled with mosquito bites and spines, Maykool was mostly unharmed.
The rescued man said that when he was resting at the cabin, he was suddenly driven mad by the urge to dash into the jungle. He cast off his sandals and dropped his flashlight as he plunged deeper into the greenery. When he finally came to his senses, he could not find his way back.
Maykool said that he was only able to survive because he was following a group of monkeys who would lead him to water and shelter. They would also drop fruit from the trees for him to eat.
If it weren’t for the compassion of the tree-dwelling creatures, Maykool would most certainly not have survived.
Maykool says that the whole experience is something that he will carry with him for the rest of his days – with respect and gratitude.
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Reprint (Photo by National Geographic)