Animal Protection Association Germany writes about the passion of volunteering at the CRARC
Passion for animals
There are many volunteering-programs – The Animal-Rescue Center in Costa Rica is another one. What the volunteers on site achieve is huge though. For ten years now young people come to Costa Rica to help injured or orphaned animals before returning them to the wild.
One year has passed, but Linah Hein, who committed herself to this project after she finished school in 2013, still remembers every last bit of her time over there: “To me the Animal-Rescue Project was appealing from the second I heard about it. That way I could not only make a contribution to preservation of species, but at the same time get to know the jungle and its inhabitants in a unique way.”
Many species of monkeys, like howler monkeys, capuchins or spider monkeys count to the residents of the jungle. In Costa Rica especially monkeys are being misused frequently and trained to steal or smuggle drugs. Together with helpers of the Animal-Rescue Center, project founder Vanessa Lizano wants to fight this kind of crime through throwing light at it and, with her Rescue Station, giving injured or orphaned animals a second chance.
Not only monkeys, but also turtles are victims of crimes. The trade of their eggs is a profitable business.
In the rural regions of Costa Rica people do not have a lot of money, which is why the use the illegal trade to get away from their poverty. But then this must not be a justification to excruciate and kill animals.
There are seven species of sea-turtles left – they all are in danger of extinction. The danger emanates from humans only, who have been hunting them for centuries to get hold of their meat, eggs and shells. The trading of turtle-products is illegal though since 1979 – just like the catching and killing of the animals. Substantial fines and high black market prices hardly contain the trading. During her volunteering residence Linah Hein witnessed such a capturing. When Lizano got word of the beach police, that three poachers have been at it again the helpers did not hesitate: “Since the turtles definitely were injured and dried out, we had to act fast. We ran to the beach with all kinds of buckets and containers to get water. The animals were in a critical condition. Their fins were pierced and bound together so they could not move. Bottom up they were being laid out in the sun. Added to the wounds and dehydration were infections, like eye inflammations”, Linah Hein remembers. It was a tremendous act to nurse these turtles. Half the night a four men group stayed with them. “We rinsed them with water over and over again, cleaned and disinfected the wounds and closed them with bees wax. If we had not been able to stop the bleeding the turtles would have been an easy target for sharks,” Linah explains.
Next day already the time had come. The weakest turtles were given some last minerals and vitamins. A bit later, after Vanessa Lizano checked the state of the turtles, they were all let off into the wild again. “We brought them to the beach and watched those enormous creatures disappear into the open sea. It was a magnificent feeling to have saved the lives of these four turtles and to have given them back their fredom”, Linah says.
The Rescue Station, which will be enhanced by a veterinary hospital, is a heartfelt project of Lizano and her parents, who live in Costa Rica. The Lizano Family knows about the bad state of affairs of their region and about the countless crimes against many local wild animals. This is why the whole family passionately fights for the protection of these animals.
The Animal-Rescue Center works hand in hand with the government, who also brings them ill, injured or confiscated animals to be treated properly by the staff. The volunteers perform tasks with supervision. The Animal-Rescue Center is a project, to which volunteers are essential. This is why the volunteering program is an important cornerstone. Because more animals need more space, food and devotion. The project is financed by donations of money and stuff. More information at www.costaricaanimalrescuecenter.org