The Nosara Wildlife Refuge is a worthy cause! They are not a zoo or a wild animal park. Visitors are welcome only with advance appointments and not in large masses. It is a place for rehabilitation; filled with hope that injured animals will one day be free again.
I admire Brenda Bombard, the creator of the refuge, immensely for what she does. She has built a rescue program that is well known throughout the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica and beyond. She cares tirelessly for these animals, donating her time, resources and energies to repairing some of the damages that the impact of society has created. As a consequence of her work, she also has to face despairing situations on a regular basis. It takes great courage to deal with the grim and oftentimes fatal injuries that these animals have incurred.
The day that we visited the refuge, Brenda greeted us and walked us out to the broad area on her property where she has constructed giant containment areas for the animals. Many of the monkeys were running, swinging, and jumping around together to the delight of my kids. The Capuchin monkeys were the funniest. They would swing through the cage, land right next to us and make faces. It seemed as though everything they did was to entertain. In the trees above the property, an entire troop of Howler monkeys was playing in the wild. We were surrounded!
Before we were introduced to the individual rescue animals, Brenda gave us a short bit of history on the reasons they usually end up there. The most prolific reason is shock by the uncovered electrical wires and transformers. The refuge is working constantly with ICE, the Costa Rica electrical company to have these wires safe guarded. They have made steady progress, but there is such a long way to go and the expenses for this are, unfortunately, not being covered by ICE in most cases. At one point, Brenda brought out a Howler who had been blinded by electrocution. My oldest daughter was allowed to hold the monkey in its baby blanket and we were all able to give it a little love. This monkey, unfortunately, cannot rejoin the wild, so, it will remain at the refuge.
Other animals were at the refuge due to misguided people taking them in as pets. In one case, Brenda was called to remove a Capuchin monkey from a house that it had basically taken over. The owners of the home had found the monkey as a baby and decided to keep it. They raised it in their home as you would a dog or cat, only to discover that the “wild” was not out of the monkey. When it got older and reached adolescence it became destructive, mischievous and, at times, violent. By the time Brenda was called, the monkey was inside the house while the owners were outside, too afraid to enter. There are television shows and reports that have depicted these monkeys as well as other types to be villains because of their attacks on humans, but, how can we expect docile domestic behavior from animals that are wild? It is no different than expecting a Grizzly bear to cuddle in bed with your child at night rather than a teddy bear.
Then, of course, there are the dogs. Anyone who has visited Costa Rica knows that there is a problem with domestic animals being allowed to roam freely. The dogs have an innate desire to catch the monkeys and when they do, it is not a fair fight. If a young monkey falls from a tree and becomes prey to a large dog, its chances of survival are grim. Luckily, the refuge has managed to save a few of these monkeys which they will likely be able to return to the wild. At the same time, they work with the local vets to spay and neuter stray animals and encourage leashes.
These are just a few of the reasons for animals finding themselves in the safe haven of Nosara Wildlife Refuge. Due to its incredible reputation, the refuge finds itself with more and more animals every day. This, despite their ongoing efforts to educate the community.
Currently, Brenda is caring for many babies which increases the difficulty of the job tenfold. The babies need Isomil baby formula, dried goat’s milk, and constant care. They do the best that they can but without help from outside donations, they could not possibly afford to treat these animals.
If you have visited Nosara, you have undoubtedly spent some time admiring the Howler’s in the trees. If you have not visited Nosara, it will definitely be something you will want to see and that you won’t forget. It is much better to see them in the trees than in a recovery unit. My children learned that from our visit to the refuge and we all gained an impactful education that will stay with us forever.
Please consider making a contribution to the Refuge. Anything that any of us can do to help, no matter how small, is a benefit to this deserving facility. They have a website with a means for monetary donations and a wish list. If you are traveling to Nosara in the near future, Safari Surf will be happy to make arrangements for you to visit Nosara Wildlife Refuge in person and deliver any items that you have to donate. We will also arrange for items to be sent to Nosara if you would like to mail them to our US address.
Donations will help the refuge acquire an ultrasound machine as well as a temperature control infant incubator, which will help with the many burned monkeys they receive.