'March'ing through this together

tropical screech owls

If we ever need an excuse to fill your emails with cute animals, good news and happy endings, we think the current global pandemic is as good as any!

But first, we do need to urge all of our supporters to consider giving in this time of need – we understand many people are in very similar situations regarding COVID-19, especially non-profit organizations, but without the help of all of you, our volunteers and our dedicated staff members, we will be facing some difficult times ahead. At the height of our busiest time of year, we are of course concerned about the wildlife in our care or those animals that arrive needing help. Any donation large or small is appreciated and all of the ways you can donate can be found on our website.
Donate Now


Last month we had a call about a baby heron that was found in someone’s back yard. He was brought to us in a little wicker basket and we have been caring for him ever since. He eats fish from our pond and is showing excellent hunting skills, despite his young age. He still has a lot of growing to do before he can be released but he is developing extremely well! We believe he is a tiger heron (Tigrisoma mexicanus) however his plumage may still change therefore we will have to wait and see!

A few weeks ago MINAE called to say that were on their way with an injured porcupine (Coendou Mexicana) (pictured below). This poor girl had been attacked by a dog and had a large injury to her neck. The misplaced skin had begun to die but it was important to protect the exposed flesh underneath so we chose to suture it in place temporarily after giving it all a thorough clean. A few days later, the dead skin was removed and we were left with a large open wound that needed a high level of care to prevent infection and to promote healing. Our vet team, along with our veterinary intern, has done an excellent job ensuring her comfort and health and she is improving every day. At first, she showed no interest in food which caused major concern however soon she was eating figs and beach almonds straight from the jungle, as well as snacking on carrot and yucca we provided her with. Now, we are just waiting for the wound to heal completely before we can release her back into her natural habitat.

injured porcupineAssessing the progress of the wound's recovery

Just a few days ago, a young lady called us about a squirrel that her dog had caught. She worried that the squirrel was injured so put it into a container and called us. We agreed it was a good idea to monitor the squirrel overnight however in the morning it was evident that the young kit wasn’t using one of its back legs. We met with her to be able to collect the squirrel and bring her back to the sanctuary where we performed x-rays a discovered a fracture in the pelvis. Being kept in a confined space and limiting any high energy movements, our vet believes that the fracture will soon heal and we can release her in an area free from dogs! Even if you are a responsible dog owner and keep your dogs in a fenced-in yard, we do understand that you cannot prevent wildlife from entering your property so animal-dog encounters may still occur! Please continue to call us if you, or your dog, finds an animal in need.

Last week we received a call about a roadside hawk (pictured below) that was found on the ground. The bird is suffering from a hemorrhage in its eye and is currently under intensive care. We suspect that it sustained its injury by flying into a building or perhaps a vehicle.

vet intern feeding the hawkDr. Sandy and Rhiannon, our vet intern feeding the hawk 

A northern tamandua (Tamandua Mexicana) was rushed to us after being hit by a car on the Costanera. With no broken bones, his only injury was a prolapsed eye which we were forced to remove due to the high risk of infection. This adult anteater was lucky to not suffer worse injuries and was eating and moving well just a few days after his surgery. As anteaters rely a lot on their sense of smell to find sources of food, and he is showing off his ability to climb well around our rehab enclosures, we are hoping to release him as soon as our vets are confident his wound has successfully healed.

Another tamandua was rescued this month however this was one was just a baby! Did you know a group of tamandua is called a ‘parade’? This means we definitely have a parade developing with our group of now five anteaters!! This new addition (pictured below), like many others we receive, was found without a mother and would never be able to survive alone. Tamanduas of this size are usually with us for around one year before they are ready to be released and it costs nearly $500 USD to feed a tamandua for this amount of time. If you would like to make a donation to care for this particular tamandua or any of the others we are caring for at this time, please visit our website and let us know who your donation is for!

baby tamanduaThe latest edition to our tamandua parade!

A rare sight was seen when a group of people witnessed a hawk catch a red-fronted parrot (Amazona autumnalis) from its nest and then drop it from the sky. These people picked up the parrot and brought him to the sanctuary where he was a bit ruffled but didn’t suffer any fatal injuries. As he is too young to be away from his nest, we will feed him here until he can fly and is old enough to fend for himself.

Tropical screech owls are one of the most common owls that we receive here with more than double the amount of rescues than any other bird of prey! This month is no exception with four babies being rescued! All of them were found on the ground and brought to us for care. These owls’ main source of food is crickets, scorpions, grasshoppers, and other insects so it is not uncommon to see them hunting near the ground, so it is always important to observe them first and, in these cases when it is a juvenile, to make sure there is not a parent nearby.

tropical screech owls 2Three of the four tropical screech owls currently under our care


Two squirrels that were introduced to each other were able to be released back into their natural habitat. With juvenile animals, sometimes we make the decision to pair them with another of their own kind as we find it incites more natural behaviors from them both. After several weeks in our pre-release enclosure together, they were showing all the correct signs and were ready to be released again. Both were brought to us as juveniles when they were found alone on the ground, too young to fend for themselves. Many people will find young squirrels and attempt to raise them on their own however it is always the best course of action to contact your local animal rescue center where they have the correct protocols to do so which will ensure a happy life back in their natural habitat.

A two-toed sloth (Choloepus hoffmanni) was witnessed falling from a tree in Matapalo and brought to us for immediate care. On arrival, it was clear that she was very weak but she didn’t have any obvious injuries, only a very swollen stomach which we worried could have been due to internal injuries. After performing x-rays and veterinary checks we were able to rule out the worst, and so provided her with fluids and a place to rest. After a week she had regained her strength and she was ready to be released back into the jungle.

two toed slothThe release of the two-toed sloth

A white-faced capuchin monkey (Cebus imitator) was hit by a car and, although unconscious when he was picked up, he was fully awake by the time he arrived at the sanctuary and was showing very few signs that he was ever in an accident! He was using all of his limbs and showed no indication of having any injuries other than a cut inside his mouth. We were concerned that this would prevent him from eating however he began chowing down as soon as we offered him some fruits so it was evident that he wasn’t affected by the accident at all. We kept him under observation for a few days but we knew we needed him to get him back with his troop soon and we were able to do so a short while after he arrived here. He ran straight up a tree and never looked back!

A great curassow (Crax rubra) (pictured below) was rehabilitated recently after it was found in someone’s chicken coop. After showing strong aversion towards humans, we were sure she would avoid human settlements once released into the wild therefore we released her into the jungle soon after her arrival.

currasowThe release of the curassow

In one of our previous newsletters, you may recall us rehabilitating a tropical screech owl (Megascops choliba) who suffered head trauma after flying into something. He finally showed signs of making a full recovery and could be released after just a month in our care!

A common opossum (Didelphis marsupialis) was attacked by a dog and not only did she have two babies holding on to her back, but she also had 8 babies inside her pouch! Luckily, all of the opossums involved were unharmed, and only had a few wounds that needed to be cleaned and treated for an infection. Now, we are pleased to say that all 11 opossums have successfully been released!

The last release of the month was of a road-side hawk (Buteo magnirostris) that flew into a window of the rescuers home. Suffering from head trauma, he was brought to our clinic where he was treated with anti-inflammatories. We could see noticeable improvements over the course of the week until it was time for his flight test and then eventual release back into the jungle (pictured below)!

road side hawkThe release of the roadside hawk

A more unusual rescue was of a boa constrictor (Boa imperator) which we were asked to relocate after it was found near somebody’s home, in danger of being attacked by nearby dogs. On arrival, we discovered it had nearly 100 ticks so it was decided to bring it into our clinic to remove the ticks, complete a general check-up and release it a few days later, which is exactly what we were able to do! We are able to accept all animals here whether it is a 5-foot boa constrictor or a baby monkey, so make sure to call our emergency number if you think an animal needs help, no matter the species!

After discovering an animal was eating their chickens, a family in Ojochal built and set up a trap to catch the culprit. What they didn’t expect was to wake up one morning and find an ocelot (Leopardus pardalis)! We were called to come and collect the felid and relocate it to an area away from people (and chickens). Once an animal finds an easy source of prey they are much more likely to attack the same source, again and again, causing a significant loss of income for this particular family. This is why it was important to relocate the animal far away from urban areas where it will be forced to hunt for more natural prey in its natural environment. After one night in our clinic, we were able to release her into a protected area far away from civilization (pictured below)!

Releasing the ocelotReleasing the ocelot away from civilization, and chickens! 

March 2020