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 Post subject: How to tell if a wild animal rescue is legitimate
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 2:43 pm 
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Location: Boston-ish
We're planning a trip to Costa Rica and I'd like to take my son to an animal sanctuary because he's asked how he can help monkeys "save their jungle homes." There are a few choices in the areas we'll be travelling, but I'm not sure what I should be looking for to confirm that they are really rescuing wildlife and not warehousing animals to make money off tourists.

I'd appreciate any general tips on what to look for as well as any specific feedback on a few specific locations.


- Toucan Rescue Ranch, Heredia
- Kids Saving the Rainforest, Manuel Antonio

- Proyecto Asis, La Fortuna (This one lets tourists feed the animals as part of a volunteer program. That seems like a possible red flag, but I have found nothing negative about it in my web searches).

Thanks in advance for helping us make sure we are actually helping "the babies," as my son calls every animal.

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 Post subject: Re: How to tell if a wild animal rescue is legitimate
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:51 pm 
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Dislikes Rick Santorum
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Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:51 am
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this is a really great question and id love to hear other peoples' thoughts.

i dont have a good answer for you especially for international. ive never been to Costa Rica so i cant comment on the specific places.

here at home when we go to various places i try to find out what the percentage of animals rescued is.
for example the little museum we go to that is local i knew most of the animals were rescues. most of them had signs about why they were there (for example they have some eagles who were shot at and each had a broken wing) and then other animals (especially some of the smaller ones like the turtles) didnt really have good signage so i wondered where they came from. for example the boa constrictor my daughter really liked had vague signage about how it's father was an abandoned pet but it made me wonder if the snake that was actually at the museum had been bred. but a friend i went with actually went and asked and every animal they had there was a rescue of some sort who couldnt live in the wild on its own.

my daughter loves snakes and there is some sort of animal place nearby that has snakes people keep telling me about but im relatively certain they breed "wild" animals and go around to schools and libraries to do presentations on them.

the word sanctuary is kind of vague sometimes.
when we were in Grand Cayman we went to a Turtle "sanctuary" and i guess at some point (i forget the exact history) there was a hurricane or something and the local population of sea turtles was badly damaged and this place was breeding them and releasing them back into the wild. but when we got there it had a lot of just small tanks with turtles swimming around and you could touch them and then in another spot they were taking baby turtles out so tourists could hold them and take pictures of them and the whole experience made my stomach turn.

i guess the best thing i can think to suggest is to go through their website and read the info and look at tripadvisor reviews other people have written. you can also ask questions to people who have posted on tripadvisor. whether or not they answer you is something else.
you can of course also email the company you are looking at with questions.

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 Post subject: Re: How to tell if a wild animal rescue is legitimate
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 9:07 am 
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Wears Durian Helmet

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:36 pm
Posts: 858
Location: Boston-ish
Thank you! I had looked at some tripadvisor reviews for each of the places I was considering. Your post prompted me to filter just by the negative reviews -- which were otherwise buried under many positive reviews. Reading the 1 and 2 star reviews moved Toucan Rescue Ranch to the head of the pack for me because the only negative review complained that they didn't get to pet the animals. In comparison, the Proyecto Asis negative review mentioned a very low release rate and unhappy looking animals, so I am taking that rescue off our list of places to visit.

I'm still doing research on Kids Saving the Rainforest.

I definitely welcome more comments on this topic -- location specific or not. Phineas says he wants to help the animals "100 times, not just 1 time."

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 Post subject: Re: How to tell if a wild animal rescue is legitimate
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 1:21 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:51 am
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reading the negative reviews is a really smart idea!

i wonder if posting this in the travel forum would get more answers???

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