A Release Program to get Animals #Backinthetrees

Released Wildlife & Wildlife Sightings with TRR

About the Sarapiqui Release Site

The Release Site is an ever-expanding component of TRR. TRR has two properties, one parcel of 25 acres and another of 16 acres where the soft release program and interns house is located.  Here, we provide volunteer and internship opportunities for zoology, biology, veterinary, and other wildlife professions to gain hands-on-experience with releasing and monitoring wildlife. TRR also expands the Education Program for the community to inform citizens about the importance of keeping wildlife wild and the influence humans have on the environment.

The Toucan Rescue Ranch has been releasing wildlife at this property for over 10 years. Here, we’ve released toucans, parrots, parakeets, sloths, owls, hawks, falcons, opossums, reptiles, and other wildlife. As a part of the program TRR has large soft-release enclosures that allow professionals to create natural environments in order to train rehabilitated animals natural behaviors and skills to be successful once released into their natural habitat.

We are in partnership with The Sloth Institute of Costa Rica to help further the research and release of captive-raised and rehabilitated sloths. TRR also works with a handful of other centers across Costa Rica that have species specific release programs to ensure success for that animal.

Release Candidates VS. Permanent Residents

What Makes a Good Release Candidate?

An animal that is brought to TRR with prior instincts and the knowledge of surviving in the wild is likely for release. Such cases are adult birds and mammals that undergo full recovery from injuries and exhibit behaviors that prove the animal will be successful in the wild. These behaviors include foraging for food, proper movement and strength when climbing, walking, flying, etc., fear of humans (not habituated), and strong instincts. TRR also releases toucan offspring from the breeding program.

ALL releases candidates and locations are a collaborative decision and agreement with TRR administration, TRR veterinarians, and Costa Rica's wildlife governing agency (MINAE).

Why do you have Permanent Residents?

An animal that is brought to TRR with severe injuries that will prevent it from eating, hunting, climbing, flying, foraging or supporting itself independently in the wild is considered unreleasable. TRR has an extensive Release Program for orphaned sloths, various bird species, and other small mammals. Animals that are desensitized to humans due to human interaction (like being kept as a pet) are considered unfit for release. This is because animal risks being captured and reintroduced into the black market as an illegal pet and could face animal neglect and abuse. As well as, have the chances of dying due to insufficient understanding of wild behaviors. Examples of non-releasable animals are parrots kept in someone’s home, an owl that has a missing wing, monkeys brought as orphans and do not have a troop to be released with, etc.

Partnered with The Sloth Institute of Costa Rica

In 2017 Toucan Rescue Ranch and The Sloth Institute came together to form Saving Sloths Together (SST), a Costa Rica wide project seeking to provide greater opportunity for sloths in need. By combining each organization’s skills and knowledge we are able to improve the process of sloth rescue, rehabilitation, and release in Costa Rica.  This partnership utilizes scientific expertise, dedication, passion and decades of experience to provide the very best program for every sloth needing help at gaining a second chance at a life in the wild. www.theslothinstitutecostarica.org.

The Sloth Institute (TSI)’s vision is to expand scientific knowledge and education about the sloth to enhance their well-being and assure their conservation here and on this planet.

The Sloth Institute’s 3 part mission: 1)  RESEARCH of captive and wild sloths. 2)  COLLABORATION with other institutions that work with sloths around the world. 3)  EDUCATION to generate and disseminate responsible and balanced information about sloths to the public.

Why do Sloths Need Help?

Historically, sloths have been a highly successful arboreal species however, growing human interactions and development in Costa Rica have made it difficult for them to thrive.  As humans move further into the forests and coastlines, destroying natural habitats, sloths have been negatively impacted and greater numbers are dying. Couple this with the growing social media trends and publicities, sloths are faced with more threats to their survival than ever before. While Costa Rica sloths are not yet ENdangered, they are IN danger and need our help before it’s too late.

The Latest Release Program News

  • Monsters, Inc., Mike & Boo

    First of all, I’ll answer the question that you’re all thinking. Yes, Mike and Boo were named after the two loveable “Monsters, Inc.” movie characters. These two juvenile Mexican hairy porcupines arrived separately in June of 2018. Mike came first, and Boo followed. During their time in the TRR clinic, these two developed a special bond, much like their respective characters in “Monsters, Inc.”…

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  • “Bosque de Los Perezosos” for Earth Day

    Today, Toucan Rescue Ranch (TRR) announced a reforestation project called “Bosque de Los Perezosos,” with its partner, Café Britt. This project enables Toucan Rescue Ranch’s Release Program to expand by connecting forest canopy that is currently fragmented due to surrounding agricultural development. 1,200 trees varying in species are planned to be planted by Café Britt volunteers throughout 2019…

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  • Freedom Feels Really Good

    How many of you remember Oro the two-fingered sloth? No? Don’t worry, we will refresh everyone’s memory. Oro was rescued in February of 2016. He was found at the bottom of a tree. We later found out that he had been there for days before anyone acted…

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Courses Offered:

  • Animal Handling Workshop – Targeted for forest rangers, police, and firemen to teach how to properly handle certain wildlife such as raptors, parrots, sloths, monkeys, etc.
  • First-Aid Workshop – Targeted for forest rangers, police, onsite interns, and firemen to teach rescue approaches and techniques for critically injured and young wildlife.
  • Educational Public Property Walks – Informative lecture and walk of TRR and its rescued wildlife for national and international audiences. The goal of these educational walks is to focus on conservation issues and proactive steps to maintain healthy relationships with wildlife and the environment.
  • University Shadowing/Workshop – Colleges from around the globe visit TRR to learn from our medical team, as well as, take note about the care and rehabilitation of exotic wildlife.
  • Local School Lessons – We host various student groups of all ages teaching students about wildlife conservation, biology, and environmental research.
  • The Virtual Classroom – TRR brings Costa Rica to your classroom wherever you may be located. We do meet-ups and discussions with teachers and classrooms of all ages from all over the world. We use Skype to give a virtual walk of the property and explain the wildlife rescue process.

Classroom Programs

The Virtual Classroom

Topics Frequently Requested

  • Based on a specific species such as sloths, owls, or toucans
  • Conservation issues
    • Deforestation & habitat loss,
    • Illegal pet trade,
    • Human encroachment,
    • Climate change
  • A general virtual tour of the property accompanied by individual rescue stories and animal facts

Skype Format
A 30-minute session with a TRR biologist, who has extensive knowledge about the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of Costa Rican wildlife. During the lesson, the biologist will talk about the focus topic and show the classroom animals. There will be a Q&A at the end of the lecture.

Onsite Classroom Visits

We regularly have local schools visit TRR from all over Costa Rica! We are always pleased to open our gate to future conservationists, biologists, zoologists, veterinarians, and naturalists. If you are a parent or teacher interested in visiting our center, please send us a proposal of what you wish to accomplish to info@toucanrescueranch.org.

If you have a large group and want to schedule multiple onsite sessions, they will need to be on different days. The size of the group depends on seats available. The School Education Program is tailored to each class depending on the age of the students and its curriculum. We can conduct a single session or plan multiple sessions throughout the school year.

The goal of the Education Program is to contribute to the protection of wildlife and increase awareness of conservation issues.

“I am super impressed that The Toucan Rescue Ranch, Veterinarian Dr. Janet Sandi, and The Sloth Institute have joined forces to create an incredibly strong multidisciplinary team. Each brings a unique expertise to the problem of rehabilitating and releasing sloths making them uniquely qualified to take on the daunting task of getting injured Costa Rican sloths back in to the wild. I am looking forward to following their progress.”

Donald Brightsmith Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Health Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Texas A&M University Director of the Tambopata Macaw Project www.macawproject.org

The Breeding Program

The Toucan Rescue Ranch only breeds birds that can be released. For example, toucans that cannot be reintroduced back into the wild due to injuries or that are habituated to people for too long are candidates for the breeding program.  After a DNA test to determine gender, the toucans are paired and placed in one of our breeding enclosures. With the parents here to raise the babies, the offspring are able to be raised wild and not become familiar with humans. Once the bird has reached a mature juvenile stage, the toucan is moved to a pre-release enclosure where it learns to fly, eat natural foods it would find in the rainforest and learn about its predators.

With Emerald Toucanets we learned a lot about breeding: nest logs, diets, duration of babies in the nest and much more. We are applying what we learned to the other species such as the Chestnut-Mandibled, Collared Aracari and Keel-Billed toucan, where we will hopefully be successful in breeding for eventual release.

We also have an owl breeding program where Striped owls, Barn Owls, Pygmy owls and Mottled owls have bred.  Since these owls are from our area, they are trained and released at TRR headquarters. We have found that the releases have been tremendously successful and we are excited to be able to introduce native owls to our area.

Making National History

The Toucan Rescue Ranch is the first in Costa Rica and second in the world to successfully have captive-bred Emerald Toucanets! Due to this incredible feat, we have applied this knowledge to our other toucan species. We have found a gradual incline in breeding success at TRR.

We have been the first to have a captive-bred, parent raised Keel-Billed toucan. Additionally, we are seeing progress with our toucan pairs and they are beginning to mate and hatch babies. Stay connected with our newsletter for ongoing successes with our Breeding Program for release!

Toucan Rescue Ranch is constantly perfecting its toucan breeding program. In 2019, we had an exceptional breeding season and have hand-reared three keel-billed toucan chicks. All three of these healthy birds are integrated into a toucan release program where they will be taught foraging and hunting behaviors. As well as, gaining flight strength and adopting appropriate behaviors. Follow us on social media for #ToucanTuesdays to learn more!

#ToucanTuesday