Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat
 Rainsong Wildlife Sanctuary

Project Progress Summary

March 12, 2009

Greetings from paradise to all fellow planetary guardians !
We hope all is well in your world !!!

2008 was a very busy year at Rainsong…
We rescued and released more wildlife than any other previous year :
Howler monkeys, raccoons, iguanas, possums, skunks, many different bird species (including pelicans, owls, parakeets.. ), several rescued boa constrictors and other non-poisonous snake species, black river turtles, squirrels…
All releases are carried out on the Sanctuary reserve.
We’ve noticed an influx of predators on the Sanctuary due to the fact we have effectively been repairing the food chain. Simon spotted an ocelot in November 2008, and we continue to see (and smell) our resident pair of jaguarondis prowling the jungle of our reserve.
Unfortunately, the conservation issues in our area are becoming increasingly perilous for our feathered, furred, and scaly friends.
We continue to try to change local attitudes thru our Conservation Education Programs.
In 2008 we continued to sponsor activities for the local schoolchildren, striving to always promote awareness & respect for animals’ rights.
If you would like to help us with our Conservation Education Program, please send us an email  (subject title:             MARY – SCHOOLKIDS ). 
The prizes we award to the children are donated by Rainsong volunteers from all over the world.  They bring the prizes with them when they come to Costa Rica to help with Rainsong’s projects.
Rainsong volunteers help us with the activities at the schools, and everyone involved enjoys much fulfillment from the social and cultural exchange and the

Rainsong now has a phone !!! (September 2008), after waiting decades, along with the rest of Cabuya for new lines to be installed. Rainsong’s tel # (011 506) 2642 1265
So we are now able to respond to other animal lovers in their attempts to seek help for wildlife in trouble, be it abandoned young or injured animals, enabling us daily to rescue more animals.
Having a phone makes life MUCH less complicated in Cabuya. We are very relieved that we now finally have a direct link to civilization !!!
We are still waiting for our internet line to be installed. Hopefully soon ICE will hook us up to cyberspace.
We are swamped every week by sometimes over 90 emails from future volunteers, or biologists and dr.vets involved with Rainsong’s projects.
Thank goodness that our good friend Christine Anderson from Canada has come to live at Rainsong !!!
Her help with emails, the volunteers, day to day animal care in the Rescue Center, and policy issues has lifted some of the burden off us, and freed us to deal with necessary legal govt. bureaucracy procedures and paperwork.
Altho it surprises everyone, the truth is it’s very complicated to have a wildlife rescue center in Costa Rica!
For your calmness and insight and friendship !!!


Ed Struijk, owner of Hotel el Ancla de Oro in Cabuya – our Webmaster and good friend thru it all since the very beginning 5 years ago !!!

Andrea Pieke, owner of the ZOOM magazine – helping us get the word out and wake people up !!!

Natalia Corrales Gomez, our Administrative Biologist- she helps us keep up with all the paperwork demanded by the govt.  She is also a fellow animal-lover !!!

Geoff and Karen McCabe, and Serefina, their daughter – loyal friends to the project since the beginning !!!

Dr.Vet. Eduardo Ruiz Cubillo, our administrative dr. vet., he works at the CoopeCobano, and is very helpful with the emergency care necessary for many animals who come to the Rescue Center.

Ben Kagan, studying dr. vet stateside - for continuing friendship and help !!!

Errol at Ferroca Hardware (Ferreteria) in Cobano – for continuing to allow us an open line of credit to keep up with the construction demands at Rainsong (usually for habitats for new animals)  even when we have no idea when we can pay the bills !!!
Without that credit we would have to cancel many necessary projects.

Noño, Evelio, and Ronny – all friends who own taxis and help me get where i need to be when i need to be there !!!

Rosaura Ledezma Quiroz and Olga Moncada Ledezma,
Owners of Mar y Paz Guesthouse in Cabuya – their friendship and cooperation allows many Rainsong volunteers to enjoy discounts for lodging.

Johnny Villareal Orias, Professor of Wildlife Biology, and our good friend and counselor.

 Donicio and Carlos in Puntarenas for emergency transportation of hurt or rescued animals at rates we can afford to pay.
(Natalia, our Administrative Biologist works in Puntarenas at MINAE’s Marine Park, and sends us hurt or rescued animals quite often).

Waynor Castro Hernandez, owner of Verduleria Hermanos Castro – he brings us our animals’ bananas (and other fruits and veggies) !!!
We are currently spending around $200 U.S. per week to buy the fruits and veggies needed to keep our animals well-nourished.

Dr. Raymond Kray, Aviarian Dr. Vet., our friend who works with endangered bird species of Costa Rica.
He has donated to Rainsong to date : 6 Crested Guans,          2 breeding pairs of Chachalacas, 1 pair of Silver Pheasants, 3 Lady Amherst Pheasants, and a Silky Bantam hen. 
We bought our Peacocks from Dr. Raymond, as well.

Other friends and sponsors are :
Tropisphere Realty
Hotel Amor de Mar in Montezuma
Ozlem at Organico Restaurant, Montezuma
Ivan at Zuma Tours in Montezuma
CompuCobano in Cobano
Drew from breathecostarica .com
Oslin at Tropical Tours, Santa Teresa
Yeilith at Panaderia Cabuya

Rainsong’s volunteers:
We’d also like to thank the volunteers from all around the planet who selflessly come to Rainsong to donate their time, energy, and efforts to help us carry on with our goals and continue to care for the animals in the Rescue Center.
Volunteers’ names are posted on our Website.


We have received into the Rescue Center our first wildcats, both margay (‘caucel’ in Spanish).
‘Caitanya’ was hit by a car outside the private reserve Curu at dusk November 1, 2008.
The Tico who hit him then got out of his car and was dragging the stunned cat back to his car when local animal-lovers drove by.
When the locals asked the man what he was doing with the cat, he replied that he intentionally hit him so he could skin him and sell his hide.
The locals then had to fight with the man to take the cat away, and they immediately drove the cat to Cobano to the vet     Dr. Eduardo.
The cat’s left eye was knocked out of his head by the impact, and he suffered head trauma,
but he survived the surgery, and has made a complete recovery.
CITES considers the margay to be the                             MOST ENDANGERED OF WILDCATS in tropical America, due to the fact that they are the most arboreal (they live in trees).
The loss of habitat due to logging and development has pushed them to the brink of disappearing as a specie.

Our 1st margay Caitanya is a young male.
Sadly, he can never be released again,
the loss of his eye affects his depth perception, and he would starve to death, unable to acquire any prey.

Just a few months later, Franklin from the Cobano MINAE office, brought to the Rescue Center a very young female margay,
We named her ‘Durga’.
Her mother was killed in Esperanza near Cobano for her hide.
( HIDEOUS !!!       WHO IS  BUYING  THESE   HIDES ??? ),
and the poachers took the baby to sell it alive.
They sold the baby to a Tico for
c10,000 colones ($17.69 US).
The buyer then put her in a tiny iron cage for parrots.
She didn’t even have room to stretch out or lay down.
6 weeks later, Franklin from the local MINAE office heard about it, and went by to confiscate her, then Rainsong took her to the vet to examine her and then we brought her home to Rainsong.
She is in perfect health, but is obviously traumatized by her earlier experiences with humans.
She was tormented by her captors, and remains very defensive and ferocious,
but is much calmer now that she has a big roomy habitat, and gets live chickens to eat.
We maintain a flock of over 30 chickens to ensure our cats always have live prey.
We have already begun the foundation and acquired the materials from Ferroca (on credit) to construct a large habitat for both of our cats up on the Sanctuary , tucked away in the jungle near a creek.
It will be 7meters long by 7 meters wide by 4 meters high, with a division.
We haven’t even calculated the cost of this construction yet. It will  probably cost over $2500 U.S.
One roll of cyclone fencing , 20 meters long and 2 meters high, costs $283 U.S.
We need over 4 rolls of fencing, plus the roofing sheetmetal, lumber for the frame, concrete blocks, sand and gravel for mixing cement for the foundation, and other misc. costs.
But it has to be done, so that the cats can be happy and content, and perhaps mate and have babies once Durga is old enough.
Since MINAE doesn’t allow animals raised in captivity to be released, we will probably be her caretakers indefinitely.
Both our margays are awesomely BEAUTIFUL !!!
And we are astounded and grateful for this encounter with some of the most beautiful cats found  in creation.


Another very positive event in 2008 was the opening of a new office of MINAE (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energia, the branch of government in charge of wildlife projects)  in Cobano.
Previously the nearest office was in Jicaral, a day’s journey away.
 The new official in charge of the Cobano office loves animals and is cooperative and supportive of our conservation efforts in the community and at the Wildlife Rescue Center at Rainsong.



Since 2007 we have been keeping the Sanctuary project in forward momentum with only the help of donations from volunteers, visitors, and sponsors.
Altho we continue to try to get legal help with forming a non-profit organization in the USA so that we can apply for grant $ and funding from universities, we still haven’t made any progress.
Altho we are registered as a non-profit tax-exempt NGO  (non –governmental organization) in Costa Rica, we have to be registered in the USA in order to apply for grants or funding from stateside foundations and/or universities.
If you can help us with this VERY IMPORTANT task, setting up a legal entity stateside, please send us an email …     subject title :  MARY - LEGAL AID FOR RAINSONG

FUNDING >  To fund the construction of the larger enclosures in the Sanctuary up on the farm, we have decided to sell  one or more lots (1000 meters, or more).  The spots available have panoramic views, very lovely.     If you or anyone you know is interested in being our neighbor, please send an email …                       
(subject title: MARY- LOTS ) . 
We can send you photos of the views (Pacific Ocean, Isla Cabuya, the jungle mountains of the Reserva Cabo Blanco), and photos of our private waterfall in virgin forest. 
We’re trying to be patient, waiting for the perfect neighbor. 
Yet, we’re very anxious to continue construction of the Sanctuary on the farm.  
Please spread the word !!!


Current Community Conservation Issues:

Poachers continue to ravage the National Park in Cabuya, ‘Reserva Natural Absoluta Cabo Blanco’ and surrounding properties, killing off the deer, native doves and wild turkeys, armadillos, iguanas, the few remaining tepezquintles (pacas), even the rare peccary pigs that have been returning to our area in the last year or so.
There are even  ( THIS IS HIDEOUS and OUTRAGEOUS !!! )  restaurants in Montezuma where the bushmeat is bought, then served to unwitting tourists as commercial meat !!!
We know for a fact that several poachers in Cabuya  go out to hunt once or twice a day, and store the bushmeat in large commercial freezers. This ‘rape & pillage’ mentality is wiping out the wildlife left in our area.
Also, the killing of wildcats for their hides has become rampant due to the same horrific mentality.
Both margay cats currently in the Rescue Center are victims of this heinous trafficking of hides.
We were disappointed to learn that no charges were filed against the captors of our margay Durga.
And a group of Nicaraguans recently were carrying around a grown live ocelot in a canvas bag, trying to sell it to foreigners for its hide.
A local resident bought it from them and then released it, although it should have been checked by the dr. vet. and treated for dehydration and starvation.  The man who released it said it staggered away after growling at him.
Ocelots are SO RARE in our area !!!

We must implement an aggressive conservation awareness program in Cabuya and the other nearby communities to stop this rampant slaughter of the remaining wildlife in the National Park ‘Reserva Natural Absoluta Cabo Blanco’ and neighboring properties.

At Rainsong we have lost to poachers :
 several rescued  and released deer,
a family of 5 anteaters who had called the Sanctuary ‘home’ for over 3 years (they were all shot and then thrown into our water well),
Even our favorite stallion ‘Blaze’ was mistaken for a deer by poachers hunting at night with flashlights and was killed on the Sanctuary farm.

Animal lovers in other parts of Costa Rica have complained about constant problems with trespassing poachers.   Property owners have even been shot at while trying to defend the sanctity of their own property.
In the Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula, jaguars & tapirs are being hunted with automatic weapons.
The local authorities seem helpless to stop this nightmare.

Profelis, the now defunct rescue center for wild cats near Paquera on the Nicoya Peninsula, was constantly terrorized by poachers coming into the complex at night shooting off their guns, asserting their dominion over the territory.  For this reason Profelis was never allowed by MINAE to release any of its rescued cats.  All the surviving Profelis cats are still in cages, dying of old age, never even allowed to reproduce their kind.

A nearby private reserve was forced to shoot a persistent poacher who continually trespassed to kill their resident deer, pacas, & other animals & birds.
The reserve’s guards shot the poacher in the knee so that he would no longer be able to hunt.
They became frustrated after numerous failed attempts to have the law punish the poacher.

The failure of the judicial system to uphold the laws that protect wildlife is SHAMEFUL !!!
We need more effective judicial enforcement of the existing laws that protect wildlife, and new stricter legislation that demands higher fines and enforcing jail time for repeating poachers.
If Costa Rica continues to cash in on ‘Eco-Tourism’ without taking any responsibility to ensure the safety of its wildlife, the future of wildlife in Costa Rica is doomed…and thereafter dies the influx of tourism.


☺- You can help !!!
Please help us draw political attention to this threat to the future of Costa Rica’s wildlife by sending emails to Costa Rican politicians.
You can write them in English, and you can quote Rainsong.
Tell them of your concern for the gravity of the situation and encourage the politicians to address the problems and find a solution that will protect the animals.
We must act fast to stop this carnage!!!
If you have visited Costa Rica as a tourist or volunteer, or plan to visit Costa Rica, let them know.
Remind them of their responsibility to all citizens of the planet to protect the remnants of this grand gift of nature, beautiful Costa Rica !!!
If you speak a lil Spanish, try making a few calls, as well.
Contact information :

MINAE - www.minae.go.cr
Cabinet Minister Jorge Rodriguez (Ministro de MINAE)
phone # (011 506) 2233 4533                                         Central Office (7am -3pm)

Envinronmental Court of MINAE
(Tribunal Ambiental de MINAE)
Presidente de Tribunal Joselino Chaves
phone # (011 506) 2222 4798

Federal Environmental Prosecutor’s Office
(Fiscalia Agrario Ambiental)
phone # (011 506) 2295 3541, 2295 3000

Cobano Town Hall-  municobano@racsa.co.cr
Attencion Consejo Municipal de Cobano
Attention Town Council
  tel #- (011 506) 2642 0238, 2642 0160

Electrocution on the Electric Lines of ICE         (Government-Owned Agency)
Once again, the same govt. that enjoys the financial benefits of ‘Eco-Tourism’ is responsible for the needless deaths of countless animals and birds on the government’s                 un-insulated electric lines.
In quickly developing areas, the death toll is staggering.  Conservationists in Guanacaste report up to 20 or more deaths of monkeys PER MONTH in their area due to electrocution on the high lines.
This is the government’s responsibility !!!
Monkeys, kinkajous, birds, squirrels, sloths,and all arboreal dwellers are being killed daily all over Costa Rica.
The Costa Rican Government should protect the wildlife,  NOT be the cause of their deaths.
Yes, it is expensive to insulate the lines, but many wildlife species won’t survive if the lines aren’t insulated.             NOW !!!

The Ticos have never been responsible about controlling their dogs, and poachers intentionally starve their hunting dogs to make them more desperate in the chase.
But the majority of foreign residents who come from civilized countries and should know better, also let their dogs roam at will, even running in packs and attacking any wild animal they encounter.
How is it possible that otherwise reasonable people who seem to be animal lovers, obstinately refuse to control their own dogs !!!
Many foreigners keep dogs for security issues, and rottweilers or pitbulls can easily kill anything (anteaters, deer, pacas, pizotes, raccoons, armadillos, iguanas, squirrels, wildcats, coyotes, etc.).
Please read mary’s article on the local anteaters’ plight, posted on our website, for details about this situation.
Until people begin to care enough to make necessary changes, the future of Costa Rica’s wildlife is doomed.


The animals need our help !!!
Please help us make the necessary changes to ensure the survival of all the natural beauty of Costa Rica !!!

Get Close to Nature & Enjoy !!!

Happy trails,
Mary  &  Simon at Rainsong