My name is Anaid Fernández, I’m 22 and from Monterrey, Mexico. I’m a vet student finishing my last year at Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. Since my first year I’ve always been interested and amazed by wildlife, an area of study that is not developed in my country. However, this did not stop me from pursuing an education in wildlife medicine.
I interned at the Toucan Rescue Ranch (TRR) for six months. I leave knowing that this was one of my most prized experiences in my life so far.
An important lesson I’ve learned is that you don’t wait for opportunities to come, you must look for them, and that’s how I discovered TRR. I was looking for an internship as a requirement from college to graduate and after almost a year of looking for interesting places to intern for, I found the Toucan Rescue Ranch – A place nuzzled in Costa Rica paradise. I chose TRR because Costa Rica offers an abundance in beautiful landscapes and beaches, and most importantly, some of the most amazing animals on Earth.
I felt welcomed from the beginning. My first interview with the TRR directors was so nice and made me feel confident in interning for their project.
I worked with the “Sloth Team”, and as the name implies, I worked mostly with sloths, but had the opportunity to work with other species such as toucans, owls, kinkajous, monkeys, anteaters, wild cats, and various other birds.
One of the best assignments I had was being a part of all the baby sloth’s development. They come here as orphans and it was my job to take care of them, cover all their needs, and keep them healthy. I also helped injured sloths and rehabbed them to be released back in the wild. I assisted and observed amazing surgery procedures, some I never experienced until interning at TRR. A special mention to Dr. Janet Sandi for trusting me to assist her and being my teacher for the past 6-months.
Something I learned quickly was being here takes a lot of responsibility. Many lives depend on you and it is your job to keep them safe and to never let them down. Being a part of this was one of the best rewards as I was able to watch rescued animals grow healthy and some even returned to their rainforest homes, right where they belong.
However, this grand adventure came to an end and after six months I still don’t have the perfect words to describe how amazing my time in Costa Rica has been. I met strangers that became friends and friends that became family. I learned a lot about myself, things I never knew before coming to TRR. I learned many things from incredible people and I’ll always be grateful for that. I had ups and downs, I laughed and cried, I had the funniest moments and some of the hardest goodbyes. Yet, in the end I know all of this just helped me grow as a more independent and professional individual.
I know I made the best decision to come here, even though I’ve never been by myself in a different country before. I was so afraid in the beginning, but after meeting beautiful people that made me feel like I was home – it quickly became one of the hardest thing for me to leave. I’m hopeful and I know some time we’ll all meet again because family is never forgotten.
Thank you to my sisters Natalie Brown, Mackenzie King, and Zara Palmer for letting me into your lives and for sharing so many wonderful moments together, it wouldn’t be the same if I had never met all of you (I love you with all my heart); and for the rest of my friends, thank you for making my time in Costa Rica so memorable. Thank you to my mentor’s Leslie Howle, veterinarian Dr. Janet, and the Sloth Institute founder Sam Trull for allowing me to intern at TRR and help TSI. You taught me all about sloths, the most beautiful animal and one that I fell in love with. Also, thank you for helping me grow in my professional career and teaching me the marvels of working with wildlife.
To end, there’s no doubt that working with the TRR team has been the best experience of my life.