Welcome to this month’s newsletter! As we are slowly approaching Costa Rica’s summer, and leaving the rainy season (or the ‘green season’ for you optimists), we are lucky to be getting a larger number of volunteers helping out at the sanctuary. Thanks to the increased help, we are managing to step up on the sanctuary’s enrichment program, including some exciting new projects which we will update you with next month.
A couple of weeks ago, a mealy Amazon parrot flew into one of our staff’s garden. Despite trying everything possible to put it back in the wild, this parrot did not want to leave; allowing us to assume that it was kept as a pet, and either escaped or was set free intentionally. Godzilla, as we named the parrot, is slowly being introduced to Julian, another Amazon parrot in the hopes that they will provide each other with companionship.
SINAC (The National System of Conservation Areas) brought in an old anteater (pictured in the cover photo) after finding him on the side of the road. When he arrived he was weak, underweight and extremely small for an adult anteater. The anteater has a neurological issue which seems to be affecting his rear limbs. We are currently keeping him on medication and monitoring his progress.
Together with the old anteater, SINAC also brought in a young raccoon, supposedly found abandoned. The youngster is still reliant on milk and is being bottle fed every couple of hours. He is in good health.
Someone’s dog attack a common opossum, killing the mother and leaving her five young abandoned. The five infants were extremely young upon arrival, requiring us to feed them every few hours and stimulate them to help them urinate and defecate. These partly arboreal animals are marsupials. The most distinct characteristic of a marsupial is that most young are carried in a pouch. If you encounter a dead opossum, always check its pouch to see if it has young, we quite commonly find live young despite the mother being dead.
Another sanctuary brought in a brown, migratory pelican commonly found in the United States. This pelican arrived with damaged air sacs preventing it from flying. It has finished its treatment of medication and once it goes through a successful flight test, we will release it at the same beach it was rescued from.
We were rehabilitating an adult, grey-crowned squirrel monkey which MINAE (the Minstry of Energy and the Environment) rescued from Golfito area. We were told that the monkey was found on the ground. After initial health checks, nothing seemed to be apparently wrong with the primate, so it was released into a troop in the area.
SINAC rescued a juvenile black- crowned squirrel monkey from Palmar. We are unaware of the reason for its rescue, but upon arrival, it was clear that it was too young to survive by itself. We will be transferring the juvenile to another sanctuary in San Jose. The institute will introduce the monkey to their black-crowned troop, raise them, and eventually release them as a troop in the south of Costa Rica.
There are two distinct squirrel monkey species in Costa Rica; the black-crowned and the grey-crowned squirrel monkeys. The grey-crowned squirrel monkeys are common to the area of Quepos and Manuel Antonio, whilst the black-crowned originate further south. The squirrel monkey is most commonly captured from the wild to be sold in the illegal pet trade. Keeping any wild animal as a pet is considered a crime in Costa Rica. If you know of someone who has a wild animal in captivity, please inform the MINAE at +506 2233-4533 or e-mail them on
Getting ready for release
Joey, the little Kinkajou which was rescued when he was only a few days old, has been moved to one of our pre-release enclosures off site. He will remain there for a couple of weeks in order to reduce his contact to humans and prepare him for a life in the wild.
The juvenile screech owl which was brought to us will also be moving off-site in order to prepare it for a release. Owls commonly leave their nest to investigate the ground and their nearby area. When people see these solitary young, they assume that they are injured and pick them up in order to be taken to a sanctuary. We spend a lot of effort trying to educate people that they should always call the MINAE, the police or the closest sanctuary to describe the state of the animal before interfering. Since the owl was moved away from its nest, it was impossible to relocate it, and therefore, we were forced to raise it until now. We will carry out a soft release, which means we will open the enclosure door so that it can fly out, but still provide it with food until we are certain that it can hunt for itself.
The tiny woolly opossum we have been raising is growing fast and well. The photo of the left was taken in the first week of its arrival. The one on the right is the most current picture.
The Coati which was brought in a couple of weeks ago is almost ready to be released. Her medication regiment has ended, and her skin issues have resided. She has put on a healthy amount of weight, making us confident to release her.
Does anyone remember Mischa the anteater, who was orphaned after her mother was killed by a dog? Mischa has overcome the head trauma sustained from the incident and has grown so big, almost ready for her release. She resides in one of our pre-release enclosures and will be released once she reaches 5 kg, which will happen shortly.