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10 Animals Rescued, Rehabilitated and Released

We are excited to report that in one day we released 10 animals back to the forest! Some had been rescued when they were infants while others needed intensive medical care from our veterinary team due to illness and accidents.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication from our staff and volunteers, we were able to release: 2 howler monkeys, 2 Mexican hairy dwarf porcupines, 2 Pacific screech owls, 2 variegated squirrels, 1 barn owl and 1 collared aracari!

Howler monkeys – Federico and Emiliano

Federico free at last and images of his rehabilitation

Federico was severely injured when he was hit by a car in February 2019. He was rushed to our veterinary clinic where he was throughly assessed by Dr. Francisco Sánchez Murillo. Federico was in such bad shape that we didn’t think he would make it. He had deep wounds on his legs, arms, hands, and face, as well as an exposed skull fracture which could easily be seen on the x-ray. In total, Federico had 11 lacerations across his entire body.  His leg was extremely damaged with torn and necrotic muscle that needed to be sutured. With all these wounds, and the head injury, Federico had a very bad prognosis and we didn’t expect him to survive the night.

Within a few days, Federico started to improve a lot. The deep cuts on his face healed quickly and even the his severely damaged leg started to heal with the help of a honey bandage, although it did take several weeks to heal completely. Because of the injury to the muscle in his leg, Federico also needed several weeks of rehabilitation time in one of our large outdoor enclosures.

Emiliano climbing to freedom

Emiliano was rescued after he was attacked by dogs. Thankfully his wounds were not very deep and he only needed to stay with us for a few weeks while the bite wounds healed. We were very happy to release him immediately after his injuries healed as it is important to us to get each animal back to their forest home as quickly as possible. Attacks by domestic pets are common when howlers are forced to travel on the ground due to deforestation. Several of the infants currently in our care were orphaned when their mothers were attacked and killed by dogs.


Mexican Hairy Dwarf Porcupines – Fluffy and Lulo

Fluffy and Lulo have been with us since they were infants when they were found alone without their mothers and taken by well-meaning residents. It is impossible to know if their mothers were both killed elsewhere, they abandoned the infants, or if they were just feeding in nearby trees and planning to return later. Sadly, we could not find their mothers. Fluffy was a newborn when she was found and had no spines yet which is why we called her Fluffy! Lulo was found about a month later and is a few weeks older than Fluffy and is the larger of the two. This species of porcupine can be found from Mexico to Panama and are an arboreal species that are nocturnal frugivorous (fruit-eaters) and folivorous (leaf-eaters). Their known predators are ocelots and boas, but their biggest threat is habitat loss due to human development.


Pacific Screech Owls – North and Ian

Both owls were rescued when they were just infants. Ian was found on the ground with a few small puncture wounds on his wing leading us to believe that the nest had been attacked by a predator. Thankfully his injuries were not severe, but he was too young to be on his own as he had no flight feathers and could barely stand or perch when he arrived. North was also found on the ground after her fell from the nest. Both were very young and required special care including being hand-fed by our staff and volunteers several times a day. Our veterinarian designed and build a special perch so the two could practice their balancing skills and build muscle strength and within a few weeks they were ready to start flying. Once they were moved into our flight enclosure, North and Ian really started to thrive. Although they were not very active during the day, we placed a camera trap inside the enclosure to see them flying at night. It was a great joy to see them take their first real flights after they were released. Ian flew far away and then started calling for North to join him!

Variegated Squirrels – Cailan and Adrian

Cailan and Adrian were both infants when they were rescued. Cailan was found alone and Adrian fell from the nest and was brought to us by a local resident. Our rescue centre is overflowing with infant squirrels. The majority of them were rescued by well-meaning residents who made the assumption that the infant had been abandoned and needed help. In fact, most of the time the infant has simply fallen from the tree and the mother will come and collect the baby. If you do find an infant squirrel, please do not remove it from its habitat. Simply wait quietly and watch from a distance for the mother to return. If you have any questions or if you think the infant might be in danger or injured, please call our wildlife emergency hotline 8824 3323. For more information on what to do if you find infant wildlife please visit our website:

Barn Owl – Tyto

This gorgeous barn owl was rescued after he flew into a window on the 7th floor of a building in Tamarindo. Tyto was unable to fly and was stuck there for several days, becoming very skinny and malnourished. Tyto required immediate medical attention from our veterinarian and several weeks of good food and time to practice flying before he was ready to be released. We took him in a forested area far from humans and buildings and we were very excited to see him back in the trees, in his natural habitat.

Collared Acari – Rafael

Rafael hit a window and need some time to recover inside our veterinary clinic. Thankfully Rafael didn’t have any serious injures and was ready to quickly be released back into the forest.

Our mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release and our hope is that every animal that needs our help can one day be returned to their forest home where they belong. Congratulations to the entire Refuge for Wildlife team for a job well done and all a special thank you to all our supporters who made this incredible day possible.