At the Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center we are dedicated to protect and help endangered Costa Rican wildlife with all means available to us. Our first and foremost goal is to ensure the welfare of the animals at the center and help them recover from both, physical and psychological wounds that have arisen from their past suffering.
Since many animals become victims of abuse in the tourism sector or illegal pet trade, we want to raise awareness about their mistreatment. Our work is our way of leading the change to more animal welfare and a sustainable way of living in coexistence with wildlife.
After being forced to move from Moín, near Puerto Limón, in March 2015, the center found a new, but temporary, home in San Miguel, Alajuela. The location was too small for our animals and volunteers and so the search for a new location began immediatey!
Luckily just a short drive down the road, in Cebadilla, we found a fantastic site with little rivers, medows, hills and big beautiful fruit trees! It suits our animals and volunteers perfectly and we began the move here in June 2016; with lots of volunteers helping in the process – who we are eternally grateful for! We are still working every day on improving the place and enclosures but so far we built a animal hospital, a huge aviary, two sloth gardens and various big monkey cages, including trees and equipped with many enrichment items to keep our rescued ones active – physically and cognitive.
All the animals at the center have different backgrounds of how they came to be with us and there are no two stories that are ‘the same’.
Sometimes animals are brought in by local people, tourists, or even volunteers, who have found them injured or abandoned in the streets and the wilderness. These rescued animals are often smaller or younger animals, or infants that have lost their mother and would have no chance of survival on their own.
At the center, we aim to rehabilitate animals and give them the best possible conditions to recover from their physical and sometimes also mental injuries. When new animals come in, they are examined by vets who determine what actions need to be done for each individual situation. Care, treatments and retraining are within the responsibility of permanent staff, and volunteers often get a chance to take over parts of tasks depending on the requirements of the tasks and each volunteer’s qualifications.
Apart from the medical attention we give to injured animals, there are some that require active enrichment in and around their cages as well. Which evolves from building toys, climbing constructions, houses or swings to providing a diversity of food in different forms and manners in order to get a more natural environment and express their natural behviors.
and giving animals additional opportunities to spend time in a more natural environment, or providing a diversity of food in different forms and manners in order to keep them healthy and challenge them to follow their instincts.
Typical Daily Schedule
Your group tasks will be slightly different each day. There is a 7 day rotation so you don’t end up doing the same thing all the time. If you only have a few people in your group the tasks will take much longer so it depends how many volunteers are at the center at the time. I always had at least an hour free before lunch-often more.
7am: Breakfast (Things like pancakes and eggs with rice and beans were common)
8am: Morning meeting
8:15am: Start morning group tasks. This will usually be cleaning, giving water and food to the animals. Each animal enclosure needs raking/sweeping and scrubbing with water and disinfectant . You also need to remove the used food bowls and replace the water. You will not have do every animal enclosure instead you have a list of the animals you need to care for each day. Other morning tasks include food preparation, watering the garden and collecting and moving the compost. Sometimes you will need to do a water check around 11am to make sure none of the animals have spilt their water and need more.
Free time for projects (when finished)
12pm: Lunch (vegetarian and vegan options available)
1:30pm: Afternoon meeting
1:45pm: Start afternoon tasks. You will sometimes need to check the water in the enclosures and help prepare food for dinner.
4pm: Feeding time for some of the animals.
5pm: It will be one teams job to sort tree branches and place them into baskets for each animal that needs them (usually Monkeys and Sloths). Then you go to the enclosures and place the branches around for the animals to eat/play with.
6pm: Dinner (similar food to lunch)
After dinner FREE TIME