Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

Costa Rica


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Sonic the Baby Porcupine

sonic the baby porcupine

Warning: cuteness overload! This is Sonic, our new baby porcupine. He was found on Pinuela beach by some tourists and look like he fall from the nest during the day when mom was sleeping and as we dont know where is the nest, we can not give him back to her. He spent too much time in the sun and in the hot sand so he came with skin burns. He is really small, around 2 or 3 weeks old and will need to be hand raised till an adult to be released. He have a lot of red hair but already have spikes under the hair, so need to be handled very carefully.

Read more: Sonic the Baby Porcupine

Injured Mom Sloth Won't Leave Her Baby's Side — Even During Surgery

Toward the end of July, a two-toed mother sloth and her 5-month-old baby found themselves terribly lost.


Together, they wandered the town of San Isidro de El General in Costa Rica, but there was something especially wrong with the mother — she was spotted with a deep, open wound on one of her feet that dangerously exposed fat and muscle.

Thankfully, the two animals were eventually rescued by officers from the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAE), who then brought them to the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary for rehabilitation.

sloths foot"We don't know what exactly happened with her foot," Larissa Calis, a biologist with the sanctuary, told The Dodo. "We just know she was in the middle of a town and this foot was hanging, in pain."

Despite the discomfort the mother must have felt, her number one priority was her baby, whom she was very protective of and held onto constantly. Calis noted that, while the mother was protective, she wasn't aggressive — perhaps knowing that the people who saved her had no intention of hurting her child.

"I cleaned out the wound, debrided the edges and stitched it back into place," Dr. Laura Berenguer, a veterinarian who operated on the mother sloth, wrote on Facebook. "To do so she underwent general anesthesia (adult sloths can be very dangerous, more so mothers protecting their young)."

The mother sloth held on to her child, even when unconscious, just as her son was content to stay in his mother's arms throughout the operation, where he felt the most safe.

sloth operation"She stays all time in the posture you can see in one picture of them, trying to cover him," Calis said.

The young sloth even continued to suckle from his mother, occasionally taking a break from feeding to "check" on the sloth suckling

"He seemed very calm to us, even going to take a look at what the vet was doing and trying to lick us," Calis said. "He was very curious."

After the operation, the mother sloth was given medication to prevent infections. She recovered with her baby at the sanctuary for 10 days before they were both was transported back to the jungle by MINAE officers.

During their stay at the sanctuary, the mother sloth's baby was taken from her just once for veterinarians to measure him and make certain that he was healthy — and even then, food had to be used to distract the mother.

Luckily, these two safely came out of a situation that could have ended badly without swift medical intervention.

"Well done beautiful little family!"

A will to survive, meet Hope the Congo

With over 100 animals currently at the sanctuary it is hard to pick which story to tell you about but this one in particular has touched us all very much. In the past few months we have been receiving an unfortunate amount of electrocution cases and it brings up a topic that is always on our minds and that we need your support on and that is the insulation of power lines.

female congo 2About 7 days ago we received a pregnant female Congo, she was electrocuted and came to us in very poor condition. The right side of her body is now paralyzed and very sad to report her baby did not make it. She is starting to recover very slowly and is moving her leg just a little bit. Our hopes are high with some physical therapy, lots of love, patience and some other natural remedies we are hoping she will survive. Since she is now paralyzed she is not a suitable candidate for release and wont be able to make it in the wild. She will remain at the sanctuary being loved and cared for. It is extremely heart wrenching and we always want to rehabilitate and release but in cases like this it is just not possible. Please stay tuned for some important information on a petition to the electric company of Costa Rica, ICE. We will demand attention to this topic and help us by using your voice with us. 

Volunteers Wanted!

alturas 4Have you ever wondered what it takes to keep a sanctuary going on a daily basis? Do you have a passion for animals but don’t know how to express that passion? We have a solution! Join Team Alturas and help us to rehabilitate and release wildlife!

As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to work closely with animals that most people only dream of! You can help with food preparation, cleaning and feeding, providing environmental enrichment, clinical procedures, pre-release monitoring, behavior observation, record keeping, marketing, fundraising, maintenance and so much more! Operating Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary requires a very dedicated and loving team. Come and join the team!! And you can experience the amazing jungles, beaches, national parks and volcanoes of Costa Rica. Take advantage of this amazing place and come experience Pura Vida.

If you do not have the time to join us as a volunteer, but want to help in some way, you can donate items like blankets, towels, cleaning supplies, medical supplies, enrichment toys or financial assistance.

Donate Here  AmazonSmile  Sanctuary Wishlist

Make a Difference

make a difference 2Seems like a pretty simple concept, make a difference. In a world where we are taught that successes is a big house, a nice car and money in the bank we can make such a simple concept into something that we have to do rather than something we want to do. Our mission at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is to rescue, rehabilitate and release. Beyond our four walls, beyond the sanctuaries mission to rehab injured animals we also care about the world around us and we want to spread the word!

A couple years ago, I enjoyed eating anything I wanted without a second thought of where it came from and furthermore the conditions in which that particular piece of food came from. Then one day I came across a horrific video of how the animals that I was so thoroughly enjoying without giving it a second thought were being raised and treated. The absolute filth they eat themselves which in turn goes into my own body, the horrendous life they endure on a daily basis until they go to slaughter. I am embarrassed to admit I really did not know. Animal torture is not exactly a topic you learn about in school and unless you dig, you won’t know. It is not something the industry wants you to see because they know you too will be disgusted if not from a sanitary position but also a humanitarian one. You would not be able to watch a video and think, wow those animals have such a healthy and happy life before they are slaughtered. I really believe even the most meat loving person out there would want the meat they eat to come from sanitary conditions. I would encourage you to see for yourself the reality of what our high demand for meat as a society is doing to these animals welfare and the environment. It’s all connected. I came across this quote from a well-known producer, “ This may surprise you, because it surprised me when I found out, but the single biggest thing an individual can do to combat climate change is to stop eating animals.” James Cameron

make a difference 8You don’t need to take my word or a famous producers word for it, the information is out there for you to decide what the evidence means. I realize that becoming a vegetarian or even vegan is not right for everyone. What about just buying more responsibly? What about buying meat that is not raised on hormones, antibiotics, and extremely unsanitary conditions? Some people may not be touched by animal welfare, fair enough. We can’t all care about the same issues but do you care about what your child consumes? Your husband or wife? I am not advocating to become a vegan or vegetarian if you don’t believe that’s the right thing to do. I believe you can eat meat , dairy and other animal products responsibly and sustainably. That makes a difference. Personally I am a vegetarian, I do not feel the need to eat meat and to be perfectly honest I have never been healthier or looked better in my life! Even as a teenager I was never in this good of shape. Aside from the health benefits of eating no or less meat, there are huge implications for the environment. Imagine acres and acres of land filled with cows and other animals we consume, the amount of resources it takes to maintain not only the land but the animals is immense.

If we all did our part, even if that was just buying from a local farmer or buying organic which is another topic entirely can you imagine the benefits? You can make a difference and it starts with a choice. Choose humane, organic and antibiotic free products, buy local and perhaps start to eliminate some meat from your diet. If becoming vegetarian is too extreme how about buying cruelty free products including make-up, lotions, household cleaners ect. You can make a difference. What you buy is what will drive the industry one way or the other. There are so many products that are sustainable and cruelty free why would we buy anything else? You can make a difference.