Volunteering with sloths in the heart of the rainforest!

Volunteer Experiences / 18 June 2020 Volunteering with sloths in the heart of the rainforest!

Volunteers joining our Wildlife Rescue project in Costa Rica support the team in providing a safe haven for the sloths, monkeys, birds, anteaters and other animals living in the sanctuary within beautiful tropical rainforest. Volunteers stay on-site and enjoy the sights and sounds that come with living in such a tranquil setting!

John and Sarah volunteered with the team, had a fantastic time and shared more about their time volunteering in Costa Rica:

Arriving at the project

Our taxi driver and another team member greeted us at the airport with a sign and big smiles; my partner and I automatically felt a huge relief! We had a wonderful 3-hour drive to the sanctuary and our driver stopped at beautiful spots along the way to give us our first taste of this incredible country. When we arrived, we were greeted by the staff and given a quick tour of the grounds and settled into our beautiful private cottage. 

A day in the life of a volunteer

The next morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast and participated in the tour. We learned so much about the animals, their backgrounds and how we could help them. We started working that afternoon by chopping food for the animals' second meal and then my partner and I built a small therapy "swimming" pool for the sloth and other animals to use. 

A therapy pool for rehabilitating sloths

That evening thunderstorms came through and we just enjoyed the tranquillity of the setting. 

The next morning, we cleaned out all of the habitats and the leftover food bowls. We also spent time providing "enrichment" for one of the habitats by replacing old dried palm leaves and branches and building new structures for the animals to climb. We loved having lunch with everyone and getting to know the staff and volunteers.

That afternoon, we went with one of the team members to help find more plant roots for enrichment and to track "Casper" the three-toed sloth high in the trees, just outside the sanctuary. 

Tracking Casper the sloth

Final day volunteering

On Sunday, we helped with the morning shift and then took the afternoon to explore Manuel Antonio National Park. Our team leader arranged a taxi-driver for us and the trip was only 20 minutes. We spent a couple of hours at the park with a guide and saw so many animals in the wild: Howler Monkeys, snakes, lizards, White-faced Capuchins, hawks, spider monkeys, two and three-toed sloths, and much more! It was a breath-taking hike to Cathedral Point and walking the coast of the twin beaches. We loved it!

Preparing breakfast for the animals living in the sanctuary

The next morning, we were leaving but I really wanted to help with the animals one last time. We helped to get them fed, clean up a little and I was able to get some excellent photos. We then went back to say goodbye to everyone and the team leader had surprised me with some ice cream for my birthday! We hated leaving after such a short visit and I'm so grateful that we were embraced and trusted to work the days that we could. 

The staff take excellent care of all the animals and I will never forget this meaningful experience.

Volunteers working in the sanctuary

A huge thank you to John and Sarah for sharing their experiences with us and all their hard work in supporting the project! If you too would like to get involved by volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue project, find out more here

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