Dozing polar bear, Indianapolis Zoo

Sunday, October 21, 2007

More Sancho -- Updated

Updated: Merry Christmas! I see there are a number of you checking in this evening. Did Raising Sancho air tonight? Please feel free to drop a comment or an e-mail, and be sure to go to the first post in this series and read Carolina's comments about what's happened since the show taped.

Hello, Sancho fans!

I viewed Raising Sancho for the first time in September, and I wrote a series of posts prompted in part by the scads of folks who found their way here looking for updates on Sancho. Carolina Vargas found those posts as well, and left a number of comments. Google directs folks to various parts of the blog depending on the query, so I've updated one of the other Sancho posts with the same information as here. I definitely want everyone to have their hopes for information satisfied.

To read the whole group of posts, go here and begin at the bottom, moving up as you go. Please feel free to leave comments of your own on any of the posts.


43 comments:

kristy said...

I wondered if you would post something about Sancho today. Obvioulsy Animal Planet aired the show again--my stats are full of otters too, and I doubt I'm even on the front page of Google results.

Beats the alternative though, eh? (And we both know what the alternative is...let's just refer to it by its initials in the future, okay? V.A.!!!!)

Anonymous said...

I was sobbing after I viewed the show . We thought she would find him again and all would be well. Sancho reminded me of my dog in the way he would bite Carolina's feet or the way he would play with her. I know he is far from being a domesticated animal but something about their interaction and relationship....

Trailhead said...

Anonymous -- it's the ending that gets you, isn't it? You're right -- their interaction was something really special.

Kristy -- I infinitely prefer otters, as you can imagine.

Anonymous said...

I wish Sancho had radio collar on him. I watched the show last m=night and still disturbed. I wish Sancho is still out there and enjoying life...

Trailhead said...

Did you see Carolina's comment in which she mentioned that she had intended to put a radio collar on him, but he left before she could? I wish he hadn't left before she was able to do that. :(

Anonymous said...

I wonder Carolina will even recognize him if she meets him again, I mean how will she? But then I think if he was really safe he definitely would have come back... I still feel like crying..

Trailhead said...

Hi, Anonymous. One of the things Carolina said - and I can't remember if she wrote it in a comment here or in an email -- was that you identify giant otters by the markings on their throats. And single otters on their own, as Sancho would have been, do not periscope up very often for safety reasons. So she would have had a very difficult time identifying him when she was looking for him right after he left.

devangi said...

Does anyone know when actully this story took place? I mean when was carolina and Sancho got seperated?

Trailhead said...

I believe she says in her comment on the Raising Sancho post that she handled Sancho from October 2005 to May 2006.

Devagni said...

One thing that also bothers me is that how did she assume that Sancho will not wonder off,may be even while exploring the river he can go far away and can't find way back. After all he was being left alone in the river. I wish she had put radio collar since the day she started leaving him alone.
also what is the lifespan of otters?

Trailhead said...

In her original comment on the first post, she spoke of the radio transmitter requiring surgery. Perhaps the fact that it was a surgical intervention had something to do with her decision when to do it.

I'm reading that the life span is about twelve years in the wild. This gives me an opportunity to add more giant otter links. Here is an interesting page of facts.

Devangi said...

Cool, then Sancho could be still out there.. Let's go find him. Boy... I have been attached to that guy just by watching the show. I can imagine how Carolina would have felt when she did not find him. My husband thinks I am crazy, but really am I? It's good to know where your loved one is.
in this case she didn't even know what happened to him...

Trailhead said...

Nope, I don't think you're crazy.

then Sancho could be still out there..

I've had the same thought. He'd be pretty young still.

mlaiuppa said...

I found your blog while also doing a search on whether Sancho is alive or not.

While I didn't find complete closure with verification that Sancho is alive, I am relieved that he isn't confirmed dead either.

I'd like to think the tourguides are right and he's off on his own, maybe found a mate, staked out a territory and is raising a family.

Too bad he wasn't chipped. Then at least if an otter is found and scanned it could have been confirmed if it was Sancho or not. I suppose the coloring of the neck is a unique, distinctive pattern. But you'd need to get a really good picture to confirm his identity that way.

But I'd like to think postiive. Carolina did a great job teaching him to be an adult otter. He learned a good lesson escaping from the cayman. And he had the wild otter family to put ideas in his head.

Here's to Sancho, Mrs. Sancho and all the little Sanchitos. May that be the way Carolina finds him when she does.

Devangi said...

Yup, they aired the show again today. We don't know though, if Carolina is looking for him anymore...
Yeah, Mr and Mrs Sancho and lots of Sanchitos.. I hope that is how it is...

Trailhead said...

mlaiuppa: I like the way you think!

devangi, it would be nice if Carolina could look for him again. I think she's away from the Pantanal region these days doing work on the data she collected from the time she spent there. I do hope that someday she;s able to get back in the field to study the otters. She obviously has such a gift for the work. She did say that funding is hard to get in that field.

Randa said...

I am so sad, I really want to know if he's ok. He reminds me of my cat. I'm sorry I'm not as optimmistic, i think something happened to him because he would have came back, he was very attached to her.

Anonymous said...

I was extremely sad after it aired on the BBC, i found this blog searching "Sancho the giant otter".

I was wondering if she could be contacted by you guys again.

Trailhead said...

Hi Anonymous! I just checked my stats, and saw all sorts of visitors from Europe. So the BBC aired it? That explains it!

I think Carolina checks these posts occasionally. Usually it's after Raising Sancho airs somewhere, so if you have a question, go ahead and ask, either on this thread or on the original post entitled "Raising Sancho," which I think she checks more frequently.

Beast said...

Just watched the program today on BBC2 and really hope she can find him again. Its so hard to understand the bond she had with him. Sancho lives of that I am sure!

Trailhead said...

Sancho lives of that I am sure!

Yes, beast. I think so too!

Keeping Sancho said...

Along with most i was sobbing after i watched the show,BBC 2 UK 8pm! Just wish they could have put a collar on our buddie to keep a note on him! I know we were warned that it was going to be a rollercoaster of emotions but it doesnt make it any easier.

Will say a few words upstairs tonight for Sancho,God bless you little Guy x

Anonymous said...

I saw it on BBC tonight. I couldn't believe it when he disappeared - I thought they were showing a sad bit before having a happy ending, but no :(

Trailhead said...

keeping sancho, and anonymous -- I know. I kept waiting, and thinking, "Okay, when are they going to show the part where she finds him?" And it never comes, and then you have to deal with that emotionally after the show is over. It took me two days to stop tearing up every time I thought about it.

Anonymous said...

What a sad show... I hope Sancho is doing well and happy. I hope Carolina finds him one day.
I am very upset after watching the show :(
I will always remember Sancho.

Anonymous said...

Normaly i like to see wild animals returned to wild once they are strong or savvy enough.

In this case sancho and Carolina were already a family unit... im not sure if Sancho or Carolina should have seperated in this case.

My thoughts go out to both characters.

Can we donate to Caralina?

KTW said...

I am all for returning animals to the wild but in this case I feel very strongly that it may have been a misguided dream. All the way through the programme we were told of the dangers that belie these beautiful creatures and only one in three cubs survive, so with these ratios it seemed certain that Sancho wouldn't make it being such a naive little chap. Surely with the bond that he had with Carolina he would not of just left without returning at some point. I truly want to believe he's out there but I think it's pretty unlikely.
KTW

Trailhead said...

I understand your point, I really do. But after thinking about it for a long time, I think we may be expecting too much from the bond between Sancho and Carolina.

I think Sancho bonded with Carolina as his mother. Strong as it was, that bond could have eventually been broken even if Carolina had been an otter mother, by Sancho striking out on his own. (I do know that giant otters frequently stay with their family group, but they also sometimes break off to form their own, new family groups.)

Given how endangered giant otters are, and how frequently pups are orphaned, I think attempts to rehabilitate them and return them to the wild are an unfortunate necessity. I just don't think researchers have any other choice but to keep trying to do it. They will learn from each otter they try to help -- Carolina said in one of her comments here that she is writing an article on her work with Sancho.

Somewhere in a comment on all these posts, Carolina said that the conditions were right for Sancho to have just left: the rainy season was ending, and otters tend to join the larger river to follow the fish at that time. He was nine months old, and had just mastered his fishing skills. He had recently become acquainted with some wild otters. And now we hear that the tour guides in the area think they have seen him.

So I'm quite optimistic that Sancho successfully returned to the wild. I think his "mother" did her job well.

I don't think we can donate to Carolina's work directly right now, because she is not doing field work right now. But if you wanted to donate to giant otter research generally, she provided a lot of information for that in this post.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I love talking about Sancho and giant otters!

Mike in Ireland said...

Was there any update on Sancho? The programme has been aired twice this weekend. It weas a real emotional time for Carolina! I really felt for her! Best programme I have seen in a while! Well done!

Trailhead said...

Hi Mike in Ireland! Did you see her comment on this post?

She also left comments here.

I wrote several posts on Sancho and it's kind of hard to navigate to them all from Google, unfortunately.

SJ said...

Saw the programme last night and i was in bits by the end. What a wonderful job Caroline did, i would give anything to do what she has done. Sancho was so cute and i fell in love with straight away. It's ashame about the tag but i hold onto the hope that those sightings are of Sancho and will be confirmed. I bet he is chasing those pesky fish and wooing those lady otters. Just because he went missing does not mean he died. Surely there would have been some evidence of that?! There are so many reasons why he could have gone. I think Caroline is amazing and it taught me a lot, she gave him a good chance and that's the best thing in the world.

Trailhead said...

I bet he is chasing those pesky fish and wooing those lady otters. Just because he went missing does not mean he died. Surely there would have been some evidence of that?! There are so many reasons why he could have gone.

See, this is just what I think. He wasn't a baby anymore, like he was when he had the encounter with the Cayman. His instincts were fully in place, and the conditions were right for him to leave.

Stitch said...

What a wonderful programme. I watched it last Sunday evening and thought Carolina Vargas did a wonderful job in reintroducing Sancho to the wild. I did get very upset though when I found out he'd disappeared, so goodness knows how Carolina felt, but I see I'm not alone. Every time my husband spoke to me I burst into tears. I hope he is the male otter that has been spotted since the programme. He is such a gorgeous creature and he made me laugh when he caught a fish and couldn't stop shouting about it. Otters are so beautiful.

Carolina really has inspired me to visit this part of the world which I didn't even know existed.

Trailhead said...

Stitch, I sat here at my desk for three days and cried every time I thought about it. And I'm with you about visiting the Pantanal. I'm trying for August!

Trailhead said...

I wrote another post about Sancho, mainly explaining why I think Sancho left of his own accord rather than some darker scenario, and also why I absolutely, wholeheartedly agree with Carolina's decision not to keep him in captivity.

It's here, if anyone's interested.

I'll probably add this comment to the other threads, because it seems that everyone is checking different threads. :)

Dawn said...

I just watched this today with my kids, and would you believe that the power was cut with 10 minutes left in the show? Thank you city workers for leaving my family seriously hanging. I am hoping I can figure out the end online and that it's not a sad one.

igor said...

Long and happy life to Sancho! hope Carolina and this beutiful otter meet again..
the show was aired today on the Spanish TV..it's a great doc! beautiful photography, better experience, Carolina. You done it pretty well, lady.

igor said...

Long and happy life to Sancho! hope Carolina and this beutiful otter meet again..
the show was aired today on the Spanish TV..it's a great doc! beautiful photography, better experience, Carolina. You done it pretty well, lady.

Anonymous said...

I just watched 'Raising Sancho' and can't stop crying. I admit I was hoping to find happy news online, but sadly have not. I can't imagine losing your fur baby like that. Even being a researcher and knowing the odds she fell completely in love with Sancho and it breaks my heart that she never found him. Carolina, my thoughts are with you, all these years later I know it still must hurt.

Nessie B said...

This programme just aired here on New Zealand TV! I wanted to come online and see if there were any updates as to whether Christina ever found Sancho and to tell you that you are amazing!
Sad to see that we may never know what happened to him. It lifts my heart to see the impact your research and work has had on us animal lovers world wide.
Wherever he is, you can be so proud of the way you raised him! :) Kia Kaha (I admire you, stay strong).

Nessie B said...

Oh sorry!! I am not sure how I wrote your name so incorrectly Carolina!! I cannot amend my post so I will put this here to apologise!

Anonymous said...

Im so happy Sancho is ALIVE..... and living back with Carolina!! Read the whole Reunion at workshopmbdotcom. My life is complete knowing that Sancho is a grandfather!!

Anonymous said...

I have just watched Raising Sancho for the first time and now find myself scouring the internet to see if he was ever found. Has there been any update on him?