August 2018 News

male squirrel monkey

Welcome to this month’s newsletter! The staff and volunteers at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary have been busy working on renovating areas of the sanctuary and carrying out urgent maintenance and improvements to our rescue center. We are moving the three white-faced monkeys to a new, larger and better enclosure in the sanctuary and have been focusing on the move.


This month we received a large, two-toed sloth that incidentally was hit by a car. Although nothing appeared to be physically wrong with it, we monitored it for a couple of days to ensure that there were no underlying injuries, after which, we released it.

We rescued a juvenile, male howler monkey from Playa Hermosa village after his mother was electrocuted. The monkey, estimated to be approximately 5 months old, hung around his mother’s dead body, refusing to leave. Once his troop abandoned him, we knew we had to intervene and rescue the young male. Although he does not need to be bottle fed and does eat solid food, such as fruit and vegetables, this male is too young to survive without the protection of his mother, and releasing him into a new troop would not be an option right now.

2018 8 juvenile Howler MonkeyThe juvenile Howler Monkey after finishing off his morning feed

We have been providing refuge to a 5 month old, male squirrel monkey (pictured on the cover photo). Once again, he was confiscated by the police after reports of a man keeping a monkey as a pet were made. The monkey was already habituated to humans, which is worrying as this may hinder his chances of a release.

A two month old raccoon was picked up after his mother was killed by a car in Ojochal. The male is doing well now, and has developed a good appetite for his bottled milk. He arrived with a fungal infection and we are currently treating this issue by giving him regular medicated baths. We are taking all the necessary precautionary measures to avoid this raccoon imprinting on us in order to be able to release him once he is independent.

2018 8 baby raccoonThe baby raccoon after his bath time!

A couple brought in a juvenile pygmy owl after finding it without its mother, on the ground close to San Jose. Nothing was physically wrong with it, as at this age, it is normal for owls to start wandering away from their nests. It would be impossible for us to locate its nest now, and would never be able to find its mother again, and therefore have to wait until it is mature enough to fend for itself, before we release it.

A barred Owl was rescued after flying into a wire fence, tearing its skin and muscle. It is currently being kept in the clinic until the injuries improve. The adult will be released once it receives our vet’s seal of approval.

Another pelican was brought to the sanctuary after a local found it on a beach close to Golfito. The bird was extremely weak and underweight and unable to fly. It is doing better now and has gained the right amount of weight and strength.


2018 8 release of the pelicanA screen shot from the release of the pelican which we were rehabilitating

The Brown Booby which was mentioned in last month’s newsletter has been released at Playa Espadilla in Manuel Antonio after recovering well. The pelican which we also rescued last month has been released by Playa Hermosa, after gaining back its strength. We took our volunteers to witness the release of this Pelican, and all were overwhelmed to be a part of the bird flying back into freedom.

Apart from rehabilitating animals, the sanctuary is sometimes called to rescue dangerous animals from people’s homes or residential areas. A resident called the emergency phone after finding a boa in their bathroom. We safely removed the snake and released it out into a non-residential area.

2018 8 young BoaThe young Boa which we rescued from a resident's home

We had been rehabilitating an old Tamandua for over a month, after it was hit by a car and sustained a fracture in his pelvis. We were unsure what the outcome of the operation would be, as the animal was old, and therefore would not heal as fast as a younger individual. Much to our surprise, the Tamandua recovered well, allowing us to release him back into the wild!

The fiery-billed Aracari which was brought to us last month after being hit by a car was released once its head injuries subsided.

2018 8 old anteaterThe old anteater during his time at the rescue center