logo Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center - Zoave

Welcome to Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center for wildlife conservation, Costa Rica’s oldest animal sanctuary

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center (former Zooave) is a non-profit foundation dedicated to conserving Costa Rica’s wildlife. The animal sanctuary and wildlife conservation center is the oldest of its kind with 30 years of experience in rehabilitating wildlife, breeding endangered species, preserving habitat, and providing lifetime care.

Rescate is a rare treasure in the outskirts of San Jose, based in Alajuela and only 20 min from SJO Airport. What makes us unique is our dedication to rehabilitating orphaned, injured, or confiscated animals in our Wildlife Rehabilitation Center to then releasing them back into the wild. Through our two release sites, we provide ample protected habitat for released wildlife to thrive. Only those animals that would not survive in the wild due to health or behavioral reasons are kept in our wildlife sanctuary, and this is the only part of the rescue center that is open to the public. We receive about 2700 animals on an annual basis and release the majority of them back into the wild. A considerable part of our work happens in our animal conservation center with breeding programs that protect endangered species from extinction. Since the most significant part of our work is not visible to the public, we also depend on donations. Learn more about our Uniqueness and help us maintain our critical mission by making a donation to support our wildlife sanctuary and wildlife conservation center donation platform.  

Come visit our Lifetime Care Sanctuary and you will understand why Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center is so precious. Within our animal sanctuary, you will find beautiful botanical gardens and more than 125 species of animals (over 800 animals) including sloths, monkeys, jaguar, tapir, birds, and reptiles that have been rescued and cannot be released back to their natural habitat. The large enclosures highly vegetated, are naturally designed to offer these animals quality of life and enrichment.

Our Mission

Our mission is to protect and restore the country’s biodiversity through wildlife rehabilitation, endangered species breeding, habitat preservation and the provision of lifetime care for non-releasable animals.

  • Wildlife rehabilitation and clinic
  • Endangered species breeding
  • Habitat preservation and wildlife release
  • Lifetime care sanctuary

 To help us continuously achieve our mission and work towards preserving Costa Rica’s wildlife, please donate and visit us.

Our Achievements

In 2011, our foundation became certified as the first rescue center in Costa Rica accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS).

In 2016, we resumed construction of a new Wildlife Hospital with an area of 7 acres, which was completed in in 2017. This new facility has tripled our capacity for receiving wild animals in need of rescue and rehabilitation, allowing us to serve more than 7,500 animals per year.

In November of 2016 we received Kivú, an elderly lion rescued from the Simón Bolívar National Zoo. Here, Kivú was able to live out his last days with dignity and a quality of life where he enjoyed much more space, attention, and an ideal diet for his species.

We built a special off-exhibit enclosure here for Kivú in a forested area of 4,000 square feet, which today serves as a rehabilitation enclosure for wild cats.

Endangered species reintroduction:

More than 500 Great Curassows (Crax rubra) were bred through our Endangered Animal Reproduction Center (CRAVE). These individuals have been successfully re-established in the area and have grown into a thriving population with individuals now seen more than 20 kilometers from the original release site.

In addition, Rescate Wildlife has rehabilitated and released over 50 Spider Monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) that had been previously kept as pets. Since the beginning of the project to date, this reintroduced population is now thriving and 80 Spider Monkeys have been born in the wild where they live freely.

In 2016, we started the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) reintroduction project in Bosque Escondido and have since released more than 35 individuals. Our goal is to release a total of 300 Scarlet Macaws in the next 15 years which will contribute to reestablishing a stable, healthy population in the area.

The Scarlet Macaw, Great Curassow and Spider Monkey are all species which became extinct in the Nicoya Peninsula more than 70 years ago. The Spider Monkey is the most endangered primate of Costa Rica, and can be seen again today in the wild thanks to the efforts of our foundation.

Our Animals Need Your Help

We rely on your kind donations to maintain our sanctuary and look after the animals.

You can do more to help

By donating online today, you're helping us look after Costa Rica's wildlife and biodiversity.
Donate Now

Our Sponsors