Our "Three Rs" - Rescue, Rehabilitate, Release
Our main responsibility is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release wild animals that are sick, injured or orphaned. The primary goal is to get each animal back into its natural habitat as quickly as possible. We care for a wide variety of species including monkeys, anteaters, opossums, squirrels, birds, iguanas, and more - essentially anything that comes through the door (minus crocodiles, snakes and aquatic birds)! With a dedicated team of volunteers, biologists, veterinarians and students, we work to provide the best possible care for each animal in need.
Major Threats to Wildlife
Animals end up in our care for a wide variety of reasons, most of which are due to direct or indirect human activity. Some of the most common threats facing wildlife in Costa Rica are as follows:
Due to uninsulated power lines and transformers around the country, countless wild animals are shocked and electrocuted every day. Howler monkeys are one of the species most severely affected by this issue, due to their anatomy and arboreal behavior. Electric shock can lead to a range of internal and external injuries, from severe burns to nerve damage, and even organ failure. The animals that survive these shocks usually face a long and arduous recovery.
Free roaming dogs pose one of the biggest threats to wildlife in our area. When left unattended, dogs in the street can quickly become territorial, and this spells trouble for any wild animal that crosses their path. In addition to treating the wounds of wild animals attacked by dogs, we work to combat this issue by supporting local spay/neuter campaigns and educating the public about the importance of keeping companion animals contained.
Illegal Pet Trade
Here in Costa Rica, it is illegal to keep any wild animal as a pet per the Conservation of Wildlife Act No. 7317 (“Ley de Conservación de la Vida Silvestre”). Not only does taking an animal out of its natural habitat hinder the health and development of that animal, the illegal pet trade places a significant strain on wild populations and is driving several species toward the brink of extinction. When an animal is confiscated from the pet trade, we will work with that individual to help it regain its natural, wild behaviors before releasing it back to the wild.
Unfortunately, many animals that make their way into our care are victims of (often accidental) kidnapping. Numerous species of wild animals including birds, ocelots, deer, etc., will leave their young unattended for hours to days at a time while the parents hunt or forage for food. When well-intentioned humans stumble upon a young animal alone in the wild, they often scoop it up and bring it to us right away, assuming it needs help. This is usually not the case! The first thing we'll attempt with any kidnapped animal is to reunite it with its mother. If reuniting is unsuccessful, we will then raise the baby here until it is old and strong enough to survive in the wild. While we do our best to give all animals the highest possible standard of care, they are always better off being raised by their parents in the wild!