It hasn’t stopped raining since we arrived in Costa Rica, yes we know it’s rainy season but we didn’t think it would be quite this rainy!
Our hotel the Banana Azul has gorgeous tropical gardens and trees lining the property. One of its resident guests is a sloth sitting high in the branches, he looks sopping wet but is sleeping through it all. We had our first 3 toed sloth encounter last week in Bocas del Toro, Panama and I was keen to see more sloth now we were in Costa Rica.
Just outside Puerto Viejo The Jaguar Rescue Centre offers tours of their facilities. We decided this would be a great way to see more sloth and learn more about the work at the centre. So with rain coats on we headed out.
Our tour guide was Matt from London, he gave an excellent tour with loads of knowledgeable information about the animals. All the workers are volunteers, with many gap year backpackers taking time to stay at the centre and work for a few weeks. Matt explained how the centre had started out with its founders rescuing reptiles and had grown since 2008. The centre isn’t a petting zoo and they don’t have any Jaguars currently. It is a rescue and rehabilitation centre for sloths, wildcats, monkeys, reptiles, birds and other rainforest animals. The aim is to release the animals back into their natural habitat once they have recovered from injury or are age ready to leave.
Lots of the animals are babies, where their mothers have been electrocuted from cables that are not insulated correctly, have been ran over by cars on the roads or have been abandoned. Volunteers lovingly cuddle the baby monkeys and teach them how to look after themselves back in the wild when they are ready for release.
There are more exotic animals that have been rescued, where people have tried to keep them as pets or smuggle them in or out of the country. The centre also receive many calls to deal with snakes from people who don’t automatically machete them on discovery. The snakes are milked to manufacture anti venom.
A few animals at the centre sustained injuries that has meant they will never be able to fend for themselves back in the wild, these will remain at the centre and will be cared for by the volunteers. The $18 entry fee and any donations all keep the centre operational.
I’m totally head over heels in love though with the sloths, the centre has 2 toed sloths, which have lighter brown fur than the 3 toed one we saw last week. They are totally adorable. I could have happily taken loads of photos but my camera was getting steamed up and far too wet from the rain lashing down!
As if on demand we had a full demonstration from the rescue baby sloths who were eating leaves, climbing and one even came down the tree to do his potty thing. Ridiculously cute!
Right I’m off to Google jobs that involve cuddling sloths . . .