A group of students at Lucile Erwin inspired their classmates to save their pennies and dimes and quarters to help a jaguar live the rest of her life in peace.
"We want to help this animal because we want to provide her a better life," said Andrea Padron, a sixth-grade student in the school's Latinos Unified in Community group, which raised $255.82 to sponsor an animal at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg.
"She has a really sad story, and I think it's no fair. We just want to provide a better life."
About nine students in the club actively worked to raise money to adopt an animal, speaking before a council of teachers and administrators as well as before their own classmates They researched the sanctuary and the animals in need and urged the students to donate.
Most of the donations came in coins, but the tally added up to enough to adopt either one medium sized animal or two smaller ones at the sanctuary. Student Hector Ramos, a seventh-grader, advocated for two small animals, to save two lives, but in an online survey at the school, the jaguar won out.
Negrita, a 12-year-old cat, recently arrived at the sanctuary, rescued from a restaurant in Mexico where she served as a sideshow. She was chained up and declawed, and her teeth were filed down, according to the students.
"They fed her with rotten meat that was supposed to be in the trash can," added Hector Ledezma, also a seventh-grader. "Instead, they fed it to her and she got sick."
Negrita suffers from gastritis because of the food she was given and has trouble walking because her claws were removed, explained Katie Corrigan, teacher and sponsor of the club. The money the students raised will help pay for her medical care and cost of living at the sanctuary, where the teacher and students hope her life, however much is left, will be peaceful and happy.
Jaguars in the wild live about 12 years, while in captivity they live to about 20, according to information about the species from National Geographic. The cats live in South America, where their populations are dwindling, and they are considered near threatened, according to the species profile.
There is no telling how long Negrita will live because of her medical issues, Corrigan said. But this spring the Loveland students will take a field trip, approved and paid for by the Thompson School District Latinos Unified in Community, to the sanctuary to see all of the animals that live there.
They are excited to see the animals, particularly the one they have helped save, Corrigan said, noting that the students researched and read about many animals at the sanctuary.
"Their eyes have been opened to the experiences many animals are in," said Corrigan.
Pamela Johnson: 970-699-5405, johnsonp@reporter-herald, www.twitter.com/RHPamelaJ.
Source : http://www.reporterherald.com/news/education/ci_31518749/loveland-students-adopt-jaguar529