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2023 In Review At Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center

howler monkey mono kongo zoave wildlife rescue center
Howler monkey at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center in Costa Rica


2023 was an exciting year here at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center! This year, we celebrated 33 years of dedication to wildlife conservation. The center received about 2600 animals, including 945 babies and two jaguars.

Big Cat News

2023 brought us three permanent big cat residents: two jaguars and one puma.

Pili and Sixto the Jaguars

Pili and Sixto are our newest resident jaguars. Unfortunately, since they were deprived of learning hunting skills when they were younger, they will be unable to live in the wild. However, we created a 400-square-meter habitat for them complete with ramps, platforms, and their own swimming pool.

Fortunately, Pili and Sixto seem to be thriving in their habitat and getting along well with one another. Jaguars are an endangered species, and Pili and Sixto can help educate Rescate’s visitors.

Boruca the Puma

Boruca is a young mountain lion, or puma, who came to our center earlier this year. She will be unable to live in the wild, but she can join our other resident mountain lions when she is ready!

We are sure Dota and Pita will enjoy her company. Boruca is very playful and enjoys enrichment activities, as you can see here. We will likely be introducing Boruca into Dota and Pita’s habitat in 2024.

Radical Reptiles

We are excited to place the final touches on our new reptile center, which will open in 2024. We will announce a grand opening soon!

Construction lasted throughout the rainy season. The reptiles in this new center will mostly be confiscated pets who are not native to Costa Rica.

Earlier in 2023, our team had the pleasure of working with two colleagues from Auffangstation für Reptilien, Germany’s largest reptile rescue center. The knowledge and skills we learned from Dr. Monika Hasenknopf and Luca Lautenschlager will help us provide better welfare and enriching activities for our resident reptiles!

Road To Freedom Internship

In 2023, Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center created another internship opportunity for animal lovers: The Road to Freedom Internship. Road to Freedom Interns stay in the forest Bosque Escondido in order to help release endangered and rescued animals back into the wild.

Our trap cameras in Bosque Escondido have captured footage of free pumas, macaws, monkeys, and more!

We can help design a program for college students who want credit for their internship. Interns who stay eight weeks or longer also have the opportunity to carry out a personal project.

We also continue to offer our Wildlife and Veterinary Internships. Read about Ayla’s experiences in our vet program, or Wildlife Intern Jess’s passion for ethical sanctuaries.

Exceptional Donors

In 2023, a number of donors contributed equipment and financial support to help the animals here at Rescate. We are deeply humbled by the gratitude of our community, and are thrilled that so many people share our vision and passion for wildlife rehabilitation.

A Multiwave laser was generously donated to us. This piece of equipment can help animals who have been electrocuted or burned to heal faster. We also raised over $2,200 dollars from 33 donors to help animals who have these kinds of injuries. These animals are usually sloths, monkeys, or even birds who come into contact with power lines.

We are still fundraising for incubators for our rehabilitation center. Looking to give? Potential donors have a number of options like donating through PayPal, to our Go Fund Me, or purchase from our Wishlist.

We’re also grateful to our corporate sponsors Papa Johns, Cargill, Davivienda, and Sanroque for their investment in Costa Rican wildlife!

A New Look

Behind the scenes, we have a whole team dedicated to branding, online content, and making connections. If you visit our webpage often, you probably noticed that our website received a big upgrade!

This change was a huge focused effort that took most of the year to complete, and we are proud of the way the new site showcases our work and our resident animals.

Social Media Trends

2023 was definitely the year of the capybara! The internet-famous animal looks very similar to the Costa Rican agouti. Many visitors wondered if they were spotting capybaras at our center.

Agouti are also rodents, but are smaller than capybaras. Capybaras are native to South America, while agouti can be found here in Central America.

We’re sure the agouti are proud of their TikTok-famous relatives, but be very careful to think about more than social trends when choosing a pet. Many animals in our sanctuary who cannot be released into the wild were once pets.

It’s better for your home and for the animal to choose a species that is already domesticated…like a cat or dog!

Get Involved In 2024!

Do you want to be involved in 2024? We are always looking for interns, volunteers, and donors! Check out our opportunities here and let us know when you’re planning on visiting us in Costa Rica.

*Written by volunteer LISA MARTENS

Would you like to get involved yourself?

Become an Intern and have a unique wildlife experience.

Veterinary Internship

Veterinary interns work directly with our highly experienced veterinarian and our rehabilitation staff. You will assist with with animal intakes, exams, treatments, surgeries, feeding and record keeping.

Wildlife Internship​

Work hands-on in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary, Endangered Species Breeding Center and the Rescue Center, feeding animals, conducting behavioral research, and creating enriching experiences for our non-releasable animals or even clicker train our Jaguar „Guapo“.

Road to freedom Internship

This internship gives you the unique opportunity to not only see, but to play an active part in what we call: The Road to Freedom. Aid the animals in their release, monitor and research them and their second chance at life in the wild, the final step on their Road to Freedom.

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Alajuela, COSTA RICA