People Involved

Our Team

Board of Directors: Leslie Howle, Cindy DiGesualdo, Carol Friesen, Richard Henderson, Jerry Jennings, Jorge Murillo, Sy Sohmer, Terrie Velasquez,

Company Officers: Leslie Howle, Chair    Bo Statham, Secretary   Terrie Velasquez, Treasurer

Leslie Howle

Leslie Howle

CO-FOUNDER
 

Leslie's Biography

Co-Founder and Director, Leslie grew up in Costa Rica. Her father was one of the first property developers on the Pacific coast, laying the foundation for ecotourism in this country. Many years later, back in the United States and working as an Occupational Therapist and Outdoor Adventure Ropes course entrepreneur, with her own growing collection of birds she traveled to the jungles of Peru to study wild macaws. This led her back to her roots in Costa Rica in pursuing her life-long dream of operating a wildlife refuge center, for parrots and toucans. Later, the bed and breakfast was started as a guesthouse when friends stayed while visiting. Today, Leslie’s vision for a breeding and refuge for toucans has quickly grown into a fully functioning wildlife rescue center. Her care goes beyond toucans and now heals sloths, otters, owls, spider monkeys and much more!
Jorge Murillo

Jorge Murillo

CO-FOUNDER
 

Jorge's Biography

Co-Founder and native of Costa Rica, Jorge lived and worked in the United States with a successful career with Continental Airlines. He was drawn back home and soonafter married Leslie where they founder the Toucan Rescue Ranch. Jorge raises exotic birds, helps run the Ranch and is a Licensed Realtor.
Dr. Janet Sandi Carmiol

Dr. Janet Sandi Carmiol

VETERINARIAN
 

Janet's Biography

Janet is the Ranch’s onsite veterinarian. She obtained her DMV from Escuela de Medicina y Cirugía Veterinaria San Francisco de Asís in 2006. During her studies, she worked with Aviarios Sloth Sanctuary 2005-2006 and interned with the Dallas World Aquarium December 2006 (exotics). Janet interned with the Wimberley Veterinary Clinic in Texas in 2007. She opened her private veterinary clinic in Curridabat, San José in 2008, and became a consultant to the zoo in Playa Bonita, Moín, Limón (Paradero Ecotour) in 2008. She visits the Ranch every Tuesday to conduct examinations, medical logs, procedures and surgeries.
Carol Friesen

Carol Friesen

ADMINISTRATION
 

Carol's Biography

Carol has worked and volunteered all over the world including countries such as Malawi and Philippines. Carol came every Saturday for a few years helping us chop fruit. Now she works with at the Ranch part-time as the Administrative Director helping with financials, technical work and conducting tours.
Dr. Cindy DiGesualdo

Dr. Cindy DiGesualdo

VETERINARIAN
 

Cindy's Biography

Cindy is a veterinarian and obtained her DVM from Texas A&M University in 2000. She participated in a Zoological internship with the Tulsa Zoo in Tulsa, Oklahoma and did her zoological residency with the Oklahoma City Zoo. She was the attending veterinarian at The Dallas World Aquarium from 2004 through 2008. She has considerable veterinary experience with species from South America, and is employed by the United States Department of Agriculture as a Veterinary Medical Officer.

Storm Heaven

Storm Heaven

WILDLIFE SPECIALIST
 

Storm's Biography

Storm is from New Zealand, she studied Biology at Victoria University of Wellington and Animal Management at WelTec and has a special interest in ornithology.

Jerry Jennings

Jerry Jennings

BOARD OF DIRECTOR
 

Jerry's Biography

Jerry is the owner of Emerald Forest Bird Gardens and serves as a Director on our Board. He is one of the largest breeders of birds including Toucans in the world and has been involved in numerous research projects, funded conservation studies, and has received numerous first breeding awards. Jerry is continuously called on by the Ranch for toucan breeding advise. He also worked closely with Mazuri to develop a special pellet for toucans.  

Dr. Mauricio Jimenez

Dr. Mauricio Jimenez

VETERINARIAN
 

Mauricio's Biography

Mauricio is a veterinarian and has a team of students at the University of Costa Rica Veterinary School operated on Rainbow, scarlet macaw, successfully putting in a pin for his broken leg.

Zara Palmer

Zara Palmer

MARKETING SPECIALIST
 

Zara's Biography

Zara Palmer is the Marketing Specialist at the Ranch. She is originally from Idaho, USA. She has recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Marketing. A lifelong passion of her’s was to travel to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Accomplishing those goals as the Marketing Specialist for the Toucan Rescue Ranch. Throughout her work with the Toucan Rescue Ranch she has been a working part of the fundraising campaign for seven species of owls; where we were extremely successful and reached over our goal of $6,000. Other responsibilities include promotions, managing social media and graphic design.

Jenny Papka

Jenny Papka

CURATOR
 

Jenny's Biography

Jenny has been involved with wildlife care and education for over 20 years, and is currently the curator for Native Bird Connections, a small wildlife education organization specializing in birds. She has experience with over 30 species of raptors in captivity.

 

 

 

In addition to the Toucan Rescue Ranch team, TRR works alongside MINAE (Ministry of the Environment and Energy) who continues to call on the Ranch to take in severe cases. The agency works closely with TRR not only to rescue animals and birds but also to train veterinarians and animal handlers. Furthermore, the Toucan Rescue Ranch has an Education Program that teaches schools and community members on the importance of  preserving biodiversity in ecosystems.

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