Costa Rica Animal Rescue Centre

Friday, 6 May 2016

So I'm back with the second instalment of my Costa Rica posts ( with probably another 4 or 5 to come over the next two months). And this is all about the place I spent most of my time, Costa Rica Animal Rescue Centre.
Of the 6 weeks I was in costa rica for 5 I called this place my home. And it was such a wonderful experience being there, interacting and helping with animals and meeting lots of people.
But as it was 5 weeks of my life, I'm not quite sure where to start


The time I spent at the centre was spent doing anything from cleaning up monkey poo to babysitting a baby goat to painting new signs for cages. It was a really wonderful experience and something I'll never forget.
The centre is run by Sarita, who coordinates the volunteers and staff who work there. There are staff that look after the pool and make new cages, and staff who cook and clean for the volunteers who are there (though the volunteers also try hard to clean up after themselves). Plus a few vets who live at the centre part time.
Shiggy the turtle on his release day


What I love about the centre is you can tell ust how much love has gone into making what it is. It originally resided in Limon, but when the government wanted the land they were given 4 days notice to find and move to a new place, the one they currently have in San Miguel. It was far from perfect, with cages that were not always best suited for the animals and no more room to expand. But people had put their hearts into making it what it was. There was painting everywhere, hand made toys in all of the enclosures, and it made the whole place feel very homely.
Luckily for the centre they have just enough money to start moving to a bigger plot of land just down the road which is going to take a lot of work but will be so much better for the animals in the long run.
Everyday there was something new, as more animals were brought in and as people thought of ways to improve the lives of those living there.
One week we had 10 new baby opossums arrive, four then four then another 2 older ones (video here). And then they two escaped who we found 2 days later in a monkey cage (they were fine. Another kittens arrived, who were found a new home in a specialised cat rescue centre.
And then Terrance arrived, a very tiny terrapin who I took sole care of, I changed his water in his tank and gave him food every day. Then when I accidentally broke his tank (I'm clumsy and it was made of glass!!) I prepared his new tank and decorated it with rocks for him to hide under. I miss little grumpy baby Terrance.
Also one of by babies (I mean all the animals were in my heart but still) was Oscar the baby goat, For a while I fed him at least once a day and looked after him half the time. When he was a real baby baby you even had to sit with him till he fell asleep. He'd follow me round and we would go running round together. I even built him a little climbing frame (which the video for is at the bottom of this post).
Another task I ended up doing pretty much every other day, as no one else every wanted to, was cleaning the bird cages. Most people were either scared of the birds or they grossed them out. Now I liked the Curassows (they were playful and cute and made amazing noises) but the Scarlett Macaws were sliightly different. They used to follow me round the cage, and at one point when I was bringing them food one of them actually tried to bite me! The Parrots weren't as nasty but they made sooo much noise, every morning you'd be waken up by them sqauking.
 There was one parrot everyone loved though, Adele, she was such a cutie and loved her toys. Initially because we had no cage for her she was moved around a lot but eventually she had her own big cage with a mirror and toys and she was so so happy. It was adorable.
There was, however, one bird I didn't mind chilling with, and that was Turbo the Emu. Towards the end at least once a day I would volunteer to fill up his mud bath, prepare his food, and chill with him. We had a great time, I even have a video here. He looved the rain and went crazy for it, and his mud bath of course. Unfortunately Turbo is no longer with us, I found out a couple of days ago that he died, which is very sad.
There was another emu at the centre who was less friendly, Kevin (who is in the video below of us building Oscar's climbing frame). He was in the part of the centre where the washing was hung and sometimes you'd turn up to find your stuff dirtier than when it went on the line, or maybe even find Kevin with your clothes in his mouth.... He was a lot of fun though, one day I was running past his enclosure with Oscar and he started going mental doing his lil emu dace, running back and forth like a mad man.
Oh and then there was Lagum (you can see a video of him here), he was a Parakeet who'd had his winged clipped and he was temperamental. We tried to take him out of his cage twice a day so he could sit on your shoulder, or on a branch and enjoy being out of his cage. But sometimes he'd decide no and just bite you.
He pooped on me too many times to count, and one day he even made a nest in my hair and pooped in that, but he was so happy that I didn't really care all that much.
Adele the Parrot
Turbo, R.I.P lil dude

Other than my favourite individuals I did have favourite species too. Top was of course the sloths, and if you haven't seen my post dedicated to them click here, they were all round cute and the babies are just too adorable for words.
But there were also two Kinkajoos (nocturnal mammals), Nela and Daniel, who stole my heart a lil bit. They were sweethearts, who unfortunately were too humanised to be released, and they'd come up to the edge of the cage half asleep and went belly rubs. But the best part about then was how they smelled. I didn't believe people before who told be they smelled like honey, but oh my they actually did! Like waffles with honey on and it was a little addictive. Terrance's little enclosure was quite close to theirs and whenever I went to refill his water or give him food I could just smell them. Maybe I just thought they smelled amazing in contrast to all the other smells in the centre, probably.
Also, a relative of the kinkajoo, there was Itchy the Olingo who was such a cutie. I remember one day I was fixing something in her cage and someone brought her food in, so she popped her head out from where she was asleep and I handed her some watermelon. She sat their muching on it then popped her head out again for more. So cute, I have no videos of either the Kinkajoos or Itchy though as they were only really awake at night,
And lastly on the animal list are the monkeys. I wasn't a fan of monkeys before this trip but it definitely changed my mind. The tiny monkeys (i.e the Marmosets and the Tamarins) who weren't part of the centre but owned by thee land owner, were so cute. They loved their own reflection so mirrors, phones, or cameras were hours of entertainment for them. I have videos here and here.
Next up on my faves were the howler monkeys. They awlays looked so sad but they were so sweet! Cathrine was my favourite, she had an adopted baby luna who sadly died and after I went into the cage when they'd taken Luna from her I was in there cleaning and she got of my head and wouldn't leave. She sat on my head, with her tail around my neck, for a good hour making destressed noises which just broke my heart. She was then put back into the enclosure with the other female howler monkeys and whenever I went in there to clean or put food in she was straight on my head again. Howler monkeys live all over Costa Rica and once I had left the centre I saw them in the wild a lot, they're such cuties.
At the centre there were also capuchins and Spider monkeys, who I don't have many pictures of. The capuchins were super sweet, but you couldn't go too close to their cage with things as one of them was taught to pickpocket by someone that owned her. And you didn't go near the spider monkeys, they basically have 5 very long very strong limbs and most of them were abused by humans so aren't very friendly.
So basically I had a lot of fun at the centre, as well as spending time doing things to care for the animals we also had a lot of free time. Which I spent painting and reading and just chilling out. It was so nice to chill. Plus then there were the nights playing cards till midnight and bonfire nights and day trips, but those are for another post.
ma bench
So overall a lovely time was had by all. I have to say the atmosphere changed a lot over the 5 weeks, it was all p chill and cool but depending on what people were there it really did change the experience. And I learnt a few new skills, like how to cut papayas and how to pick up sloths properly. Plus how to avoid getting bitten my Scarlett Macaws.
Below are two videos from the trip. First is my vlog and then there's building Oscar's climbing frame, there will be a video tour of the place in the next post so stick around for that.


Thanks for reading!

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