A pack of wild monkeys helped a Chilean tourist who’d been separated from his tour group survive in the Amazon rainforest for more than a week by dropping fruit in his path and leading him to water and safety every day, National Geographic reports.
Less than a month ago, 25-year-old Maykool Coroseo Acuña inexplicably abandoned the Max Adventures campgrounds in the Bolivian rainforest. Dozens of park rangers looked night and day for Acuña, and his family even flew in to help the search effort. Eventually, Acuña’s sister found him after hearing him scream in anguish through the rainforest leaves on day nine.
Nobody is quite sure why Acuña suddenly took off and ran into the brush by himself, but he left without a trace.
Feizar Nava, the owner of the Max Adventures agency, told National Geographic that Acuña left because he’d refused to participate in a ceremony designed to honor Pachamama, Mother Earth in Incan mythology, for allowing them to be in the rainforest earlier that day.
“He was acting a little bit strange… His face just didn’t look normal,” Nava said. “It’s because he offended the Pachamama… He didn’t want to participate in the ceremony.”
Nava kept tabs on Acuña as he rested in his cabin, but suddenly — in the space of five minutes — the latter disappeared without a trace.
Acuña later told National Geographic that the night he left, a bizarre, sinister sensation took over him and he felt an unstoppable need to get away from the rainforest.
“I started running,” Acuña said. “I was wearing sandals, and I said no, they would slow me down. I threw away the sandals, then the cell phone and my flashlight. And after running so much, I stopped under a tree, and I started thinking. What had I done, what was I doing? And when I wanted to get back it wasn’t possible.”
When Acuña came to, he realized what he had done, and despair took root. He was hopelessly lost. Mosquitos stuck to his skin like flies on an ox and even though the monkeys were feeding him, by day eight, starvation was setting in.
Thankfully, a pair of shamans that the park rangers brought in to help the search effort struck stinky gold — Acuña’s dirty old sock. According to the shamans, they used this clothing item to connect to Acuña’s soul, which had been impossible to reach before.
“The sock made it much, much easier for us to reach him,” they told National Geographic, informing the search effort that they would soon find Acuña.
They weren’t wrong. Acuña’s sister found Acuña the next morning.
Next, check out why scientists are baffled that humpback whales are forming supergroups, before finding out about the time that a puppy who had overdosed on heroin because of his neglectful owners greeted his new seven-year-old owner with kisses.