• 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 Fiery-Billed & Collared Aracari

    In my opinion, working at the Ranch is a big responsibility and also a big pleasure. Seeing an animal grow stronger each passing day and recuperate from a bad situation is definitely a calling. This is what happened with two of our residents, the collared aracari and the fiery billed aracari. The collared aracari that joined us in February, had just escaped from being kept as a pet.  His situation was evident. His back feathers were a dull gray compared to the iridescent black of a wild specimen.  His chest was a pale white instead of the almost neon yellow characteristic to his species, and his beak was discolored as if drained of life. He started recuperating almost immediately. The protein we provided in his new diet and the attention he received started slowly turning his plumage brighter and brighter, until the day came when he finally was allowed outside the clinic and into a big enclosure with his own species. The transition process didn't go so well though. The other collared aracaris weren't so keen on accepting our little friend, so he was sent back to the clinic. That changed when we saw him interacting with another fiery-billed aracari who was also in the clinic. Hopeful plans were made as we put both aracaris into an  enclosure of their own. Happily, they’ve accepted each other and now share this wonderful living space together at TRR.   By former volunteer Andres Saenz Brautigam 


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  • Izzy Makes a New Friend

    It's difficult to not fear monkeys after being chased down by a group of macaque monkeys at the tender age of seven and, then again at the age of 20, being trapped in a bathroom by a large male patiently waiting for me outside the door. Needless to say, I've been traumatized by monkeys and held a fear for them my whole life. So you can imagine the day I arrived at the Toucan Rescue Ranch to see adult spider monkeys. I was quite surprised and very nervous. A few weeks went by and I plucked up the courage to begin helping with the spider monkeys morning and afternoon feeding. If I got a little too close, both Izzy and Noelia would reach through and grab chunks of my hair, taking my dignity with it. I was determined at this stage to conquer my fear and decided I would slowly work towards gaining their trust. In the afternoons, I would take them treats and after a period of time they started to warm up to me- Izzy in particular. I am now at the point where Izzy will anticipate my arrival at the enclosure and she will come down to greet me, following me as I manage their feeding and care. I've learnt that spider monkeys are very intelligent and can sense fear in people. As my fear disappeared the bond between us grew and I'm very grateful for having had this special time with her here at the Ranch. You can ADOPT Izzy or animals like her by visiting our ADOPTION page!  By former volunteer Talia Harris | Read more about volunteer's experiences by subscribing to our newsletter! 


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  • TRR Inspired Me to Become a Vet Tech

    Before coming to Costa Rica I was working a full-time desk job and working towards a psychology degree. I had considered changing my degree to something geared toward wildlife rehabilitation but I didn't want to make such a drastic decision without first dipping my toes in the water.  I came to the Toucan Rescue Ranch (TRR) in July, 2016, with a plane ticket to go home exactly 30 days later. That changed about a week into my visit. I immediately fell in love with the ranch and knew that I wanted to stay and contribute here for as long as possible. Spending everyday with these animals gave me something that I had never felt before.  After speaking with some of the veterinarian volunteers, I decided it was time for me to make the change and work towards a degree focused on saving animal lives. TRR has completely inspired and motivated me. The best part about it all is that I get to continue working for the ranch while going to school. The experiences and practice that I see daily at TRR have helped me tremendously in my studies. By intern Mackenzie King | Read these types of articles first on our newsletter! Subscribe today! 


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