Founded in January of 1999, the Refuge for Wildlife has been a place for injured, displaced and orphaned wildlife from Nosara and the Nicoya Peninsula region of Costa Rica for 17 years. Initially, these animals arrived at the Refuge for Wildlife from our local neighborhoods, then from the entire Nosara region and now from all over Costa Rica. Many of the new arrivals are very young orphaned Howler Monkeys.
While the Howler Monkeys compose the majority of the animals that pass through the Refuge, they are certainly not the only visitors.
We receive a wide range of wildlife that has included the other three native species of Costa Rican primates; squirrel monkeys, spider monkeys, and capuchins. We also receive a wild variety of birds including, parrots, toucans, hawks, owls, pelicans, doves, vultures, as well as margays, squirrels, porcupines, opossums, pizotes, raccoons, kinkajous, snakes, porcupines and bats. We also have a long term resident at the Refuge – Mariano the scarlet macaw who unfortunately has a permanent injury to his wing since his rescue many years ago.
Our Emergency Response Team responds to more than 200 wildlife emergencies each year and is specifically trained to deal with monkeys and other wildlife who are injured by falling from broken branches, high-voltage electrocutions, cars and attacks from other wildlife or domestic pets. The Refuge receives and treats all types of wild animals, but howler monkeys have become our specialty. Because of our expertise and experience with rehabilitating howler monkeys, we also receive monkeys that have been injured in other locations from all over Costa Rica.
At the Refuge Clinic, our team of professionals and volunteers provide immediate and long-term medical attention. Injured adult animals that require continued care are quarantined for a period of time and then transferred to outdoor enclosures, where they continue to receive supervision and medical evaluation. As soon as the adult animals are deemed healthy they are returned to the jungle and whenever possible, to the same location from where they were rescued.
The orphaned, infant Howler Monkeys and other young animals are raised at the Refuge Nursery until old enough to transition to the outdoor enclosures, usually this is at about 10-12 months of age. There, they join with other young monkeys. Our goal is to help them create a new family group in preparation for their journey to a new life as a wild monkey in the jungle.
Our goal for every animal that arrives at the Refuge for Wildlife, is to return them to the jungle as quickly as possible. At the age of 16-to-24 months the newly formed family of young monkeys will be transferred to a release center to begin their reintroduction to the jungle. This portion of the program will usually take another 18-to-24 months. Other young animals such as, pizotes, raccoons, opossums, porcupines and birds are released in areas determined best for them to survive and thrive.