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Are you ready for an exotic, educational excursion?

Hola wildlife adventurers! Are you ready for an exotic, educational excursion?

Well if you’re looking for adventure within reasonable means, you’ve just discovered the right blog! The Toucan Rescue Ranch in San Jose, Costa Rica is the perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts who wish to experience educational activism-in action! Whether hoping to catch learning from home or inspired to volunteer or visit TRR in person, we’ve got all your eggs in one basket and it’s only one click away! Be sure to check out the bottom of this post for all your resources to donate, discover, and become a part of our rescue family. 

As we take a sneak peek into an explorer’s immersion at TRR, we hope you can discover more about the unique rescue mission and cherish each animal’s inspiring story, while becoming a partner in the battle against destructive activities. 

Let’s begin our educational expedition! Vamos!

Welcome to Costa Rica!

TRR is an educationally-driven, immersive experience like no other and is an organization that is founded on a passion for lasting conversations in conservation for Costa Rican wildlife, with many opportunities to learn and connect. Luckily, you can engage in a virtual walk-through right here or through TRR’s virtual tours platform! No matter how you choose to engage with TRR, your experience is sure to be an inspiring one that changes your perspective on our role in preventing animal endangerment. 

Once you’ve entered the recently renovated gates of the Ranch, you are instantly greeted by beautiful foliage and smiling, scampering creatures either looking to be re-introduced to the wilderness or making themselves at home as permanent residents due to unfortunate reasons that make their rewilding impossible. Once making your way up the driveway, you will find the educational center where TRR’s educational staff is sure to ensure a safe, interactive experience that highlights each animal’s incredible story of strength and the importance of teaching humans the consequences of our interactions with wildlife. 

With help from our education staff, who take pride in showing the world TRR’s mission and overall contribution to animal healing and nurturing, you’re led to the heart of the sanctuary – the Education Center. Once at the Educational Center, a short video is shown highlighting TRR’s beginnings as a rescue center and how the founder and director, Leslie Howle, began her role as a rehabber, which eventually lead to the creation of Toucan Rescue Ranch. Leslie grew up in Costa Rica and after years of work in the U.S., she found her way back to her home roots in the beautiful country of her childhood. She opened the Toucan Rescue Ranch in 2004 in hopes of helping bird species which eventually lead to the first sloth on-site, “Miracle Millie”, who paved the way for saving sloths and saving many other species of animals. 

Each animal in the sanctuary’s care has a unique story of perseverance. You might be wondering, isn’t it a little weird that TRR’s mission is saving animals and there are animals in enclosures? Lead Tour Guide, Alejandra, takes pride in informing on this reality:

“People see animals in cages but we aren’t able to teach them about all the animals to be released for legal reasons, [but] we’re able to save the animals that come in because of the animals that are here,” she says about the “…permanent animal residents that can’t be released due to being too comfortable around humans or lifelong injury.”

Alejandra, Lead Tour Guide

Tour guides have the important job of not only communicating to guests facts and testimonials but have the responsibility of “sharing our story with the people in order to try and change their minds.” Together, the guides and animals have an important role in stressing the importance of our duty in preserving wildlife not only in Costa Rica but in extended ecosystems across the world. Let’s take a look at a few of the sanctuary’s animal heroes and why their stories are so legendary. 

Miracle Millie

Millie is a miracle for a reason! She was the first sloth to arrive at the center and overcame great injuries. Her legacy is so important because, with her story, people can be aware of the environmental dangers for sloths including, but not limited to, electrical wires causing electrocution and busy roads causing car collisions. Thanks to her presence, many now know TRR is a safe haven for these majestic mammals. “There are around 10 babies in the Saving Sloths Together program right now, but you are not going to know the success from a short walk,” says Lead Guide, Alejandra. Thanks to the work of previous sloth generations, those babies will have a greater chance of making it back home to their rainforest roots.

Handsome Hershey

The brown fuzzball that first welcomes all to the sanctuary is Hershey, a charming Tayra who has a permanent home at the Ranch. Although playful and very interactive with all he meets, Hershey, unfortunately, grew up around humans, illegally kept in a hotel as a pet, endangering himself and the hotel’s guests. Hershey’s importance at the center is a testament to avoiding keeping wild animals as pets, no matter how cute and innocent they seem. A bite to him is playful, but to us it could mean one less finger, therefore respecting these great boundaries protects humans and animals like handsome Hershey.

Sneaky Samba

As you walk by the monkey enclosure, be sure to watch your hats and personal belongings because Samba is always on the lookout for mischief! Samba is one of the spider monkeys at Toucan Rescue Ranch with lots of spunk and background (I can say from experience, he once snatched a lock right out of my hand). Samba grew up illegally as a house pet in Costa Rica, and one day the little girl of the family learned in school about the illegal pet trade that ravishes the country’s wildlife animal balance. In the middle of the night, she took at the time, very sick Samba to the police station where they brought him to TRR. As I’m sure that little girl’s mom gave her stern talking, she is setting the example for overcoming the challenges in protecting these amazing animals, no matter your age, education, or background. With help from those little girls’ hands, Samba now has daily enrichment and professional care to live the best life possible in captivity.

After completing the tour, patrons leave knowing animals are being rehabilitated behind the scenes and the animals unable to be rewilded are in the best possible care. After leaving the gates the battle is only beginning; funding in order to support, the rescue, rehabilitation, and rewilding of animals can continue to rebuild each animal’s past, secure a safe present, and provide a promising future for furry and feathered friends across Costa Rica.

Are you ready to take a stand against invasive wildlife activities? 

Whether you want to donate, take a tour, or pick up some Britt coffee from the gift shop on your way out, take charge today by uniting with The Toucan Rescue Ranch and making a difference in the lives of Costa Rica’s wildlife. 

Happy adventuring wildlife heroes!

Click here to discover more on donating, volunteering, and what you can do to continue to be a wildlife hero to Costa Rica’s amazing animals. 

About the writer: Hola! My name is Marissa Kay Van Leuven and I am a senior Marketing and International Business Student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville! As I prepare for graduation in May 2022, I am very proud to be representing Rocky Top by both volunteering at the Toucan Rescue Ranch and providing marketing assistance through The VAN LEUVEN Company. As TRR has provided valuable international insights for the completion of my degree, we hope that our company’s adoption of TRR lights the way for continued global interaction and lots of animal assistance in the near future! As I just completed my two weeks on-site in Costa Rica, I am so grateful for my time and all of the amazing people, experiences, and understanding of “Pura Vida” that helped me to grow. Until next time, thank you to everyone at TRR and for all the memories!

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