At the Jaguar Rescue Center in Playa Chiquita, a few kilometers south of Puerto Viejo de Limon on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, Encar the primatologist and Sandro, her herpatologist husband, are a couple of passionate animal lovers and naturalists who created the Jaguar Centro de Rescate in response to the community need for a place for the rescue of orphaned or injured animals. The animals are cared for and raised with a goal of releasing them back into the wild once rehabilitated. Encar and Sandro with monkeys and deer — Photo courtesy of Jaguar Rescue Center
A big part of their recovery is credited to the free-play time spent with the many humans who visit, when the uncaged animals are allowed to jump into the arms of children and adults, who in turn enjoy an unparalleled experience in animal bonding. Monkeying around — Photo courtesy of Eric Fredericks
Many animals who are eventually released into the nearby jungle end up returning to the Jaguar Rescue Center to visit or move back in; they enjoy the time spent there so much. Although there are rarely jaguars in the center or in the area, there are always plenty of sloths, monkeys and other mammals who are at increased risk of injury and abandonment due to growing traffic on the main road. A friendly sloth — Photo courtesy of Eric Fredericks
There is also a sizable reptile population; snakes, frogs and lizards are abundance in the region and Sandro is the first person called when there is one in need of rescue. The Jaguar Rescue Center accepts visitors every day except Sunday at 9:30 am or 11:30 am for 1.5 hour tours (there is a $15 suggested donation, the Jaguar Rescue Center is a not-for-profit-organization) and volunteers can apply to help at the center for a minimum of three weeks.