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Three Permanent Residents You Might Not Know at Toucan Rescue Ranch

Our sanctuary is known for its sloths, macaws, and toucans, but we have more a lot of amazing species that call Toucan Rescue Ranch home! Learn more about them with us!

We are home to different species of wild animals. Because of injuries or human-animal conflicts, they ended up in our sanctuary as permanent residents. So we are going to learn their stories and importance.


La Diabla arrived in 2015. She was living in a church in Santo Domingo, and the priest didn’t like that there was a “witch” living there. Due to Costa Rican culture, some people believe owls are witches. So he hit her with a broomstick. Once that didn’t work he called us for help.

Funny enough a couple of weeks later, he called us and asked to get the barn owl back because pigeons were pooping on the church. 

Owls are excellent predators and keep away rodents and other species of smaller birds, so when she was removed from her house, other animals saw it as an opportunity to invade the place. Sometimes because of human beliefs or the lack of knowledge, we humans don’t know how to survive with wildlife, and La Diabla’s story is an excellent example of that.


We have Batman, who arrived because he was found on the side of the road with a shattered wing. It is believed he was hit by a car. We had to amputate his right wing, and Nightwing arrived because of a car collision. The plan was to have orthopedic surgery, but his fragile condition didn’t allow us to do this. Their specialization is hunting bats, so their name brings honor to it.

Wildlife can sometimes also be hurt by humans because of accidents. We can use Batman & Nightwing’s story as an example of how we humans can affect animals in a negative way when we are not being cautious of our surroundings.


Tabu is the only oncilla in captivity in Costa Rica. He arrived at the Toucan Rescue Ranch as an orphan. He was found rummaging through people’s garbage and backyards, looking for food in the inner city of Cartago, Costa Rica. He was probably taken from the rainforest as a kitten and kept as a pet until he became too wild. He was captured by MINAE (wildlife police) and arrived at Toucan Rescue Ranch. At first, he was not using the bathroom, so we decided to put a litter box in his enclosure. He went straight to the bathroom. To this day he still uses his litterbox. 

We are working with an NGO organization called Costa Rica Wildlife Foundation that has a project called Oncilla Conservation. They’re trying to learn more about oncillas and study their genetics to confirm if Costa Rica has an endemic subspecies of oncillas, separated from the ones in South America. They occasionally come for scat, hair, and blood samples. 

With Tabu, we can learn that humans can also affect wildlife purposely; taking animals from their habitat affects the ecosystem and puts a whole species in danger. Habitat loss, fragmentation, roads, illegal pet trade, and hunting are all common issues we deal with as a rescue center and sanctuary. Sadly, the oncilla is not safe from these issues and this animal is considered vulnerable, with the current population decreasing.

There are many ways to support wildlife and become a wildlife hero. In our sanctuary, we have animals that need care and support, and you can be part of it by symbolically adopting character or species. This is perfect if you fall in love with one of these animals. With this adoption, you will provide food and care for your favorite character.

Remember, with our program you can keep in touch, learn more about them, and receive pictures and updates about your favorite animals!

About the writer: María Ureña is a born and raised Costa Rican. She has been an on-call tour guide for Toucan Rescue Ranch since 2022. Recently, María has become the Marketing Intern for Toucan Rescue Ranch where she will learn about copywriting, social media, and communication strategies. She is a student of marketing at Universidad Latina de Costa Rica and has experience in community management and is a member of Guides and Scouts of Costa Rica.

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