BARRIO – (BBC) – Bolivia – Jhonattan Acosta, 30, got separated from his four friends while out hunting in northern Bolivia.
He says he drank rainwater collected in his shoes and ate worms and insects while hiding from jaguars and peccaries, a type of pig-like mammal.
Mr Acosta was finally found by a search party made up of locals and friends a month after he had gone missing.
“It’s incredible, I can’t believe people kept up the search for so long,” he said amid tears.
“I ate worms, I ate insects, you wouldn’t believe all I had to do to survive all this time,” he told Unitel TV. He also ate wild fruits similar to papayas, known locally as gargateas.
“I thank God profusely, because he has given me a new life.”
His family said that they would still have to piece together all the details of how Mr Acosta got lost and how he managed to stay alive but that they would ask him gradually as he was still psychologically bruised after the experience.
Mr Acosta lost 17kg (37lb) in weight, had a dislocated ankle and was dehydrated when he was found but according to those who found him, was still able to walk with a limp. Acosta said after getting separated from his friends on his hinting trip, he had hiked about 25 miles in search of shelter but soon discovered that he was walking in circles.
“My brother told us that when he dislocated his ankle on the fourth day, he started fearing for his life,” Horacio Acosta told Bolivia’s Página Siete newspaper.
“He only had one cartridge in his shotgun and couldn’t walk, and he thought no one would be looking for him anymore,” Horacio Acosta, the survivor’s younger brother, added.
Jhonattan Acosta did not have a machete or a flashlight on him when he got lost and had to use his boots to collect rainwater to drink.
He also told his relatives that he had encounters with wild animals including a jaguar.
His younger brother says that Jhonattan used his last cartridge to scare off a squadron of peccaries, pig-like herd animals found in the rainforests of South America.
After 31 days, he spotted a search party some 300m (980ft) away and limped towards them through thorny bushes, shouting to draw attention to him.
Horacio Acosta says that his brother was found by four local people. “A man came running to tell us they’d found my brother. It’s a miracle.”
According to the younger Acosta, Jhonattan has decided to give up hunting for good after his ordeal.
“He is going to play music to praise God. He promised God that, and I think he will keep his promise,” he said of his guitar-playing brother.
Meanwhile police said they would question the four friends of the survivor to understand how he became separated from them.