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Costa Rica Jaguar Rescue Centre

The Jaguar Rescue Centre is a temporary or permanent home for ill, injured and orphaned animals. The JRC provides veterinary services, round-the-clock care and comfort to animals that would otherwise be unable to survive.

The Jaguar Rescue Centre (JRC) was founded in 2008 by Encar García and Sandro Alviani. The JRC’s main objective is to release wildlife that has been admitted and rehabilitated at the centre, back into their natural habitat. To date, approximately 6,000 animals have been rescued by the centre with many released to the wild. This is possible thanks to a dedicated team of 15 permanent staff and 30 volunteers.

In addition to the animal-care services, the JRC provides environmental education to the residents and visitors of Costa Rica, as well as internship and research opportunities for biologists, veterinarians and researchers from around the world.

Since 2008, an average of 500 - 700 animals are rescued per year. Over 40% are successfully released back into their natural habitat.

Threats to wildlife

Animals end up at the Jaguar Rescue Centre for a range of reasons. This includes illness, electrocution on poorly insulated power lines, poaching, the illegal pet trade, being hit by a car, dog attacks, or after being orphaned - likely due to any of these reasons. Unfortunately, as more habitat is lost and fragmented due to deforestation, these incidents are likely to become more common.

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A baby howler monkey rescued by the Jaguar Rescue Centre after her mother was attacked and killed by a dog.

The Jaguar Rescue Centre consists of:

  • a veterinary hospital, where animals are treated when they first arrive at the centre. This includes an operating room, sophisticated diagnostic equipment and quarantine facilities.
  • the JRC Sanctuary which is home to approximately 90 animals who cannot be released to the wild because of health or behavioural reasons. The sanctuary forms an important part of the centre, welcoming tourists and raising awareness of the issues affecting the fauna of Costa Rica through environmental education.
  • La Ceiba Release Station, 49 hectares of primary forest that forms part of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. This is part of the natural biological corridor running through Costa Rica and Panama and contains a hugely diverse range of flora and fauna. After being rehabilitated, or when baby orphans have grown to an age of independence, animals are either released or temporarily housed here in a pre-release enclosure to allow them to acclimatise to life in the wild. They are closely monitored using remote cameras by staff and volunteers living on site to ensure their safety and successful return to the wild.
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A sloth receiving medical care from the team at the Jaguar Rescue Centre.

Educational outreach

The JRC is situated in the Limón canton, one of the most vulnerable regions with the highest poverty rate in Costa Rica. On the other hand, it is incredibly rich in biodiversity and beauty. The Jaguar Rescue Centre Community is a programme that works with local schools, government and communities to encourage cooperation and sustainability. The programme conducts educational tours for local people and visitors and provides environmental education at local schools. Furthermore, they work to establish strong relationships with local people by holding workshops, seminars and other activities related to the protection and conservation of biodiversity.

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The JRC team with local school children

Relationship with Rainforest Concern

In 2023, Rainforest Concern supported the JRC by helping them to construct a multipurpose rehabilitation enclosure. This large, adaptable enclosure is mostly used for the rehabilitation of mammals like felines, monkeys, and sloths. It prepares them to return to their natural habitat at a slow but steady pace, increasing their chances of survival in the wild.

Rainforest Concern are thrilled to continue to support the vital work of the Jaguar Rescue Centre.