Jess volunteered with Rescate Wildlife Animal Rescue for one month in June and July of 2022. As a Wildlife Intern, Jess fed macaws, participated in crucial animal behavioral studies, and created environmental enrichment for the animals here at the sanctuary. Jess is currently a MSc student focusing on Animal Behavior, Welfare, Ethics and Law. Because of her focus, her experience gave her a glimpse into the future of protecting wildlife.
Why did you pick Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center?
Jess: A think a big green flag was the honesty surrounding how animals came into care and clearly defining why some needed to stay, despite best efforts to release. I also think the transparency about some of the abnormal behaviors among the animals as a result of illness or pet trade was admirable It’s important to inform the public about how these behaviors come about.
What was your favorite part of your work as a Wildlife Intern?
Jess: My favorite observations were probably the squirrel monkeys, especially when we were observing them with enrichment. They were so curious about the enrichment; they were also quick to learn how to get to the food.
What was also interesting was their social structure and interactions. There were often two that stuck together, and one would be bolder than the others, and their individuality made observations very fun!
What did you notice as you explored the rest of Costa Rica?
Jess: Everyone was welcoming and kind. I found it to be a very relaxed culture. The country itself is so beautiful. I think the relationship Costa Rica has with its wildlife is something other countries should strive for. Their active participation in wildlife care and protection is admirable.
How did your time here impact your studies and your perception of animal sanctuaries?
Jess: What struck me was how prominent the illegal wildlife trade still is. It definitely opened my eyes to wanting to understand the law aspects of the trade and how sanctuaries played a part.
I do sometimes think about researching about how law enforcement could continue to be applied and how government infrastructure could provide support for the sanctuaries. I understand it’s a sensitive and complicated issue.
Sanctuaries can provide a safe space for those animals who would not survive in the wild. And when animals end up in rescues as a result of human failure (such as pet trade), we then have duty to protect them and provide them with a better quality of life.
Jess says she enjoys looking back at her time in Costa Rica as some of the best moments of her life, and that the Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center team helped her understand the stages of rehabilitation.
Are you ready to discover how you will impact the future of the planet? Contact Jeanne Marie Pittman at email@example.com with your questions and availability!
** Article by volunteer Lisa Martens