• Esmeralda’s Rehab Journey

    I happened upon Esmeralda in my first week at the Toucan Rescue Ranch (TRR). She was clumsy and uncoordinated- the kind of animal I'm normally drawn to- so I instantly felt connected to her. As time went on, I learned she had come from the illegal pet trade, but there wasn't much else known about her history. She didn't fly and spent all of her time on the floor of the enclosure, struggling to grip or perch on branches. Once witnessing this, I made it my mission to get her perching and exercising her little feet. To encourage her to exercise her foot muscles, we spent time building low climbing structures she could navigate to reach her food bowls. More time passed, and her confidence slowly built as she managed to hop from branch to branch. Esmeralda was then moved to an enclosure with many small trees and a dirt floor. This was great for two reasons. She was able to hop between the lower branches of those small trees and continue to build strength in her feet, and secondly, the dirt floor allowed her a much better grip. Now, when I enter the enclosure, I see her hopping confidently without tripping and she is hard at work carving and decorating a nesting log recently added into her enclosure. I cannot express how special it is to see an animal grow and gain so much confidence in their abilities. Esmeralda is one of the reasons I chose to extend my volunteer stay here at TRR. It's animals like her that remind us to stay positive and keep persisting no matter how hard life is. By former volunteer Talia Harris 


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  • A Grey Hawk’s Journey

    A Grey Hawk's Journey When I came to the Ranch in July, there was a particularly special animal that immediately stole my heart. It was a grey hawk that was brought to us as a juvenile. His wings had been clipped. Someone tried to keep this incredible raptor as a pet and robbed him of the opportunity to grow in the wild. When he first arrived we placed him in a smaller enclosure while waiting for our soft​-​release enclosure to become available. ​When we noticed that he was displaying all the signs of progression, we knew he was a release candidate! He was hunting, mantling over his food and calling to other birds in the sky. When we moved him to our pre-release enclosure, it was a very special day. Without hesitation, he flew to the back of the enclosure and perched on the highest beam. There were days that I would check on him to find that he had captured his own live prey, prey that I hadn't introduced to his enclosure. His amazing hunting abilities even gained him the nickname of "Killer" amongst a few of the volunteers at TRR. Watching his progression and aiding in his rehabilitation has been one of the most rewarding and gratifying experiences I've had since coming to Costa Rica. He was released on March 25, 2017 in Cartago, Costa Rica!  You can watch the hawk's release on our YouTube channel!  By Intern Mackenzie King | You can read updates like this one by subscribing to our monthly newsletter! 


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