In ‘Wildcat’, Hoja Nueva is an NGO in the Peruvian Amazon that Samantha runs. The NGO took the responsibility of reintroducing Keanu into the wild. The documentary is now streaming on Prime Video.
Harry Turner’s life changes when he meets Samantha Zwicker. He decides to volunteer at Hoja Nueva and join her in the conservation of wildlife in the Peruvian Amazon.
This is how Harry gets introduced to Khan and then Keanu. Harry is assigned the project of their reintroduction. Harry and Samatha believe the project would help Harry heal from his past trauma.
While Khan does not survive, they manage to rescue Keanu, teach him, and raise him for a total of 18 months before reintroducing him.
The history of Hoja Nueva
Samantha Zwicker had come to Peru as a student to do wildlife research. She stayed in Peru because she felt she needed to be a part of the conservation efforts.
She had plans to pursue Ph.D. in Wolf Ecology, but when she realized that not much could be done in that field, she decided to do something that would allow her to make an actual difference as an individual.
She started Hoja Nueva, an NGO, that works to prevent deforestation and hunting. They rescue animals that have been victims of logging, mining, and wildlife trafficking; they give shelter to animals with nowhere to go.
The work of Hoja Nueva
Today, Hoja Nueva works to rescue, rehabilitate, and reintroduce animal species found in the Peruvian Amazon. Apart from their conservation efforts, they also contribute to ecological research.
The NGO makes use of a multi-tiered strategy to tackle the causes and effects of short-term and long-term conservation concerns, threatening the biodiversity of the region.
Their mission is to protect the species and the forest from immediate threats as well as to design long-term conservation strategies. They also aim to include the local communities, by educating and empowering them, in their conservation efforts.
Hoja Nueva is credited with the first-ever reintroduction of ocelot and margay. In ‘Wildcat’, Samantha explains the difficulty of Khan’s and Keanu’s projects owing to the fact that something like this has never been done before.
The documentary follows the reintroduction of Keanu, an ocelot. Keanu’s sighting on a camera six months after his release proves that his reintroduction was a success.
Samantha abandons the facility where they lived during Keanu’s project. She gets a new rescue facility built and moves there. She has expanded her team with doctors and veterinarians since then.
Hoja Nueva has now rescued over 120 animals while protecting 7,000 acres of forest. At the end of the documentary, Samantha is seen with a wild cat that has been rescued.
What started off as Samantha’s effort to make a difference has grown into something special today. It is special because it is the first and the only wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center in Peru to specialize in carnivores.