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Wildlife Rescue project - Costa Rica


Lucy from the Pod Volunteer team travelled for the first time to Costa Rica and has shared with us an insight into her experience!

Pod Volunteer Wildlife Programme Costa Rica

I was very excited to visit Central America for the first time, particularly given Costa Rica’s fantastic reputation as a wildlife haven, with over 900 species of birds and 250 species of mammals! I couldn’t wait to visit our projects and to explore this beautiful country.

A background to the Wildlife Rescue project

The Wildlife Rescue project was established in 1999, and has since expanded to become a highly successful rescue, rehabilitation and release centre. The project re-releases 55% of arrivals back in to the rainforest, this being one of the highest rates in the country, and it is thanks to the dedication of the local team, interns and volunteers. Sadly, it is not possible for all rescues to be released, often due to a loss of wild instincts and behaviour that necessitates their survival if they have been previously living in captivity, or due to health problems inhibiting their chance of survival in the wild.

Pod Volunteer Wildlife Programme Costa Rica

Those animals that are given a home in the sanctuary receive an exceptional level of care and are stimulated through the use of enrichments created by volunteers. The support volunteers provide in giving this care, allows the team to focus on treating new rescues and rehabilitating those that can be released.

During my time at the centre, Schnozzy, a Mexican Tamandua anteater, made excellent progress towards being released and is learning how to climb and forage just as she would in the wild.

If you would like to read recent updates on the rescue and release of sloths at the centre, you can find out more here

What does a typical volunteer day look like?

Pod Volunteer Wildlife Programme Costa Rica

My day started with breakfast, whilst enjoying a view over the beautiful rainforest surroundings and was followed by a 5 minute walk to the sanctuary to begin the first food preparation of the day. There was no time to waste, as it is vital to ensure the food is prepared in good time, particularly for the animals in the clinic and nursery areas.
We chopped, cooked and sliced the food required for each animal, ensuring it met the particular animal’s dietary requirements and that individual animals received their necessary medicine.

I was tasked with preparing the morning food for a turtle, three white capuchins currently in the clinic and the squirrel monkeys living in the sanctuary. I was guided by the friendly team of interns and volunteers, who made the hard graft a good laugh!

After the preparation was completed, we distributed it around the sanctuary - the animals eagerly greeted us as they knew it was feeding time! The preparation and distribution process is repeated in the afternoon.
The food preparation and distribution was completed in good time, and we could then move on to a special project - a task that enhances the life of the animals in the sanctuary! I joined a volunteer in renovating the enclosure of Izzy and Wendy, the two-toed sloths, cleaning, sweeping and replacing the palm leaves inside.
In the afternoon we had another special task of going for a walk in the lush forest (listening to the sounds of the wildlife on our way!) to collect palm beans and hibiscus leaves to feed the squirrel and spider monkeys. On our walk, we really got a sense of the scale of the rainforest we were in!

It was a fun day at the sanctuary and I loved hearing what everyone in the centre got up to over dinner and I look forward to sharing more soon about the progress of the animals I met during my time at the project!

If you love animals, this may be just the project for you! You can find out how you can support the Wildlife Rescue team in their work here


Pod Volunteer Wildlife Programme Costa Rica

Pod Volunteer Wildlife Programme Costa RicaPod Volunteer Wildlife Programme Costa Rica