Defenders of Wildlife in Costa Rica
Far too, more often than one would like to see, injured animals of the wild are brought to us at the Refugio shelter’s vet clinic. Something or someone has caused injury to these poor souls. Defenders of wildlife have gone above and beyond to give them a second chance by either bringing them to us at AHPPA animal shelter or contacting us to retrieve them.
Although our commitment is to that of reducing unwanted dog populations in Costa Rica and educating the public to become responsible pet owners, we like to think of ourselves also as defenders of wildlife. Unfortunately, we cannot offer this service throughout the country* but we do what we can for the animals of the wild in our own backyard. (see photos below)
Our clinic has received a wide variety of wildlife over the years…as you will see and read about herein. We rarely know the entire story of what has happened to cause the animals injury but often it is due to electric wires/cables and electronic fencing. Occasionally something more malicious has taken place at the hands of an inconsiderate human.
Racoons, or mapaches in Spanish, are prolific in many parts of the world, including Costa Rica. In search of food, their keen sense of smell brings them in droves to neighborhoods where foodstuffs lay about. They reproduce prolifically…like rabbits. And the males can become quite aggressive in spite of their masked cuteness factor.
The photos below are of two large male mapaches that were first neutered and than released back into the wild. The others of a baby mapache born with deformed legs; he was neutered and resides full time at the Refugio as a family member. Rabbits, both wild and escaped pets, rapidly multiply so we neuter and spay all that come through our doors, as we do cats and dogs. Many have been adopted, some live on various properties, including our AHPPA’s director’s yard, within the neighborhood.
Sadly we cannot save all the wildlife brought to us for repair and rehabilitation. However, the photos below are of animals that were all released back into their natural habitat once healed from their injuries.
The armadillo was released as was the turtle. The little fox was quite listless and sick but after weeks of care he was well enough to be returned to the wild. The sloth, known as peresoso in Costa Rica, was found on the grounds of a local hotel, curled up and not well. We cared for him for about a month and then placed him nearby where nobody would disturb him. The beautifully marked brown, white and black owl had a gun shot through one of his wings; with the attention given by our vets, he was soon cured and released at night.
Helping All Animals
Defenders of wildlife, animal lovers and wildlife groups can be found throughout Costa Rica. Some are private individuals, some are organizations. All are dedicated to the well being of animals. If you come across an animal in despair, take great caution; we do not recommend trying to capture the animal yourself. In addition to groups and individuals with experience in handling wildlife, Costa Rica has an agency that can be contacted. See our *FAQ page for details under found animals. Should you discover a wild animal in need within the San Rafael de Heredia area – please contact us for assistance.