A person who fled Venezuela together with his pet squirrel, travelling 1000’s of miles collectively and dwelling in a tent in Mexico for months, is now going through having to say goodbye as it’s unlikely the animal shall be allowed throughout the US border.
Yeison, 23, says he shall be “heartsick” if he has to go away Niko behind. The little squirrel, who has a black stripe and flecks of white hair, made the treacherous journey nesting in a knitted cap inside his guardian’s backpack.
There was no query of leaving his pet in Venezuela, Yeison says, including that beginning a brand new life with out him “would virtually be like beginning with nothing”.
Yeison, who didn’t need to give his final identify as a result of he’s anxious about his household’s security in Venezuela, is amongst hundreds of thousands who’ve fled the South American nation due to political and financial upheaval lately.
Migrants making the damaging journey north, a journey of round 3,000 miles, are confronted with tough decisions over what to take with them, normally solely the belongings they will stick with it their again, and what to go away behind.
Yeison made the journey by means of the perilous jungle often known as the Darien Hole, the place he stated he discovered the physique of a person below some blankets. Niko was hid in his backpack after they boarded buses and crossed by means of checkpoint inspections in Mexico.
When a bus driver did uncover the squirrel on one event, Yeison offered his cellphone for $35 (about £28.50) to pay to maintain him on board.
‘There is a connection between them’
After making the journey to Mexico, Yeison has spent six months ready to make an asylum case within the US. The pair dwell collectively in a tent in Matamoros, throughout from the Texas border metropolis of Brownsville, together with a whole lot of others in the identical place. Yeison has made cash chopping hair by his tent, and sometimes falls asleep sharing the identical pillow with Niko at night time.
However now, they is likely to be compelled to half methods.
Yeison has secured an appointment to current himself on the border to hunt entry to the US and request asylum. The probabilities of Niko being allowed to cross too are slim, however volunteers on the encampment are usually not giving up.
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Gladys Canas, the director of non-governmental organisation Ayudandoles A Triunfar (which roughly interprets as “serving to to succeed”), says she has encountered different migrants with pets – cats, canine, and even a rabbit as soon as. However Niko is the primary squirrel she has seen.
She helped put Yeison in contact with a vet to doc Niko’s vaccinations to offer to frame brokers.
“There is a connection between him and the squirrel, a lot that he most well-liked to carry it with him than depart the squirrel behind with household in Venezuela and face the hazards that include the migrant journey,” she says. “They gave one another braveness.”
‘I hope he by no means forgets my face’
Yeison discovered Niko as a new child after practically stepping on him at some point. He took him dwelling and members of the family fed him yoghurt, he says – though the choosy squirrel most well-liked nibbling on pine timber and later lived on tomatoes and mangos, even in occasions when meals was laborious to return by.
Conscious of what may occur on the US border, Yeison says he initially sought work in Colombia. Nonetheless, he returned to discover a free pine splinter lodged in Niko’s eye and determined to maneuver on to attempt to get to America.
He has ready for a separation, however is remaining hopeful.
“I do not need for him to be separated from me, as a result of I do know that we might get heartsick,” he says. “I am positive of that.
“And if he would not get sick, I hope he will get to be pleased. And that he by no means forgets my face.”