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 are a collaborative decision and agreement with TRR administration, veterinarian, and the government (MINAE) on release candidates and release locations.

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 that 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

The Saving Sloths Together Program

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.

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.

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 Site News

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

Education Programs

  • Training of forest rangers, police, and firemen in the identification and habits of rainforest wildlife as well as the proper handling of wildlife and first aid for wounded wildlife workshops.
  • Conducting public tours that include valuable wildlife and conservation information.
  • Holding sessions with school classes at the Ranch at local schools and via Skype with schools in other countries.
  • Workshops with medical and veterinary university students.

 

School Programs

The School Education Program is tailored to each class depending on the age of the students and the curriculum. We can conduct a single session or plan multiple sessions throughout the school year.

Topics
We can do a general session on the rainforest and its wildlife as well as sessions with a specific topic. The teacher can provide the topic.

Suggested topics are:

  • Sloths
  • Toucans, Macaws, Parrots
  • What are the dangers to our rain forests and wildlife

Format
30 minute session with Co-Owner Leslie Howle, who provides the primary care for babies, injured birds and animals. During the lesson, Leslie will talk about the topic, show the children some of the animals and give them an opportunity to ask questions.

(NOTE: If you have a large group and want to schedule multiple sessions, they will need to be on different days. The size of the group depends on the display equipment available.)

“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

Breeding Program

The Breeding Program

The Toucan Rescue Ranch only breeds birds that can be released. For example, toucans that cannot be released due to injuries or who have been around 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, Pygmy owls and Mottled owls have bred.  Since these owls are from our area, they are trained and released right here at the Ranch. 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 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 the Ranch.

We have been the first to have a captive bred, parent raised Keel-Billed toucan (see below). 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!