Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary

Trip Start May 10, 2010
Trip End Jun 16, 2010

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Where I stayed
Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary Lodgehouse

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Saturday, May 15, 2010

Finally here and adjusting to the living conditions. I met Mary, my Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary supervisor, as well as most of the volunteers. I've been living in a rustic lodgehouse with the volunteers for about a week now and we've been sharing our lounge with a cane toad, iguanas, some rats, and a baby scorpion. The days are humid and the mosquito bites are intense. I think I scratch myself more than the monkeys do!

In my first few hours at the sanctuary I got to bottle feed three baby mantled howler monkeys while learning about the history of the sanctuary and Costa Rica. I spent the first few days learning how to prep food for the animals and clean cages as well as give tours. The sanctuary has a wide variety of exotic and native species such as a white faced monkey, prehensile tailed porcupines, iguanas, white tailed deer, paca, guans, keel billed toucan, collared aracari, a variety of parrot species, and many more, though a lot of the animals I was excited to work with from the website were either released or died.

In the mornings, the volunteers and I walk down from our lodgehouse and feed all the animals and clean cages while a few of us warm milk for the baby howlers and bottle feed them. We get a 3 hour lunch break and then come back to work in the early evenings to re-feed some of the animals and give tours to the public. At night we get to hang out in our lounge together at the lodgehouse and talk about traveling and how many times the wild troop of white faced monkeys tried flinging poo down at us. Many of the volunteers complain about Mary, which drains me and puts such a negative effect on this whole experience. Yes, she's quite a handful. Wild, dramatic, and angry Texan woman who's been known to run out her volunteers, some within 10 minutes of being here. But if you have patience and remember you are there to rescue the animals and that you leaving to get away from Mary won't be helping them, you should be fine. 

We're definitely in the rainy season now as it hasn't stopped pouring for four days! With so much rain there isn't much we can do, work-wise. The whole lodgehouse shook during a storm one night!

Last week, neighbors of Mary's pulled out her fencing up at the lodgehouse near the farm and clear-cut all of her trees. They put wooden numbered stakes into the ground in hopes of moving their fence to those stakes and thus stealing a good portion of her land, simply for the ocean view. A few volunteers and I were up there pulling out their stakes and taking pictures for evidence while Mary called the police and an investigator. She's apparently been dealing with this for years now!

Once everything was handled with that situation and things quieted down on the sanctuary, Mary was invited to attend an important meeting about the prevention of animal electrocutions. She invited me along and we brought Evey, one of her baby howler monkeys who is a victim of arboreal animal electrocutions. Her mother was in the nearby national park and was zapped on a telephone wire. A local had found Evey still clinging to her dead mothers back and brought her to Rainsong. When we arrived at the meeting we talked about Evey's background and what needs to be done to prevent these animal electrocutions. There was a big debate held where people discussed the pros and cons of building monkey bridges and insulating telephone wires. Things got pretty heated and it didn't seem like much progress came of the meeting. It was a long and challenging day and I was glad to be back in Cabuya by night, relaxing to a game of UNO with the volunteers.
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