Kids Saving the Rainforest and Blue Banyan Inn: A Symbiotic Relationship

Blue Banyan Inn

Did you know that Kids Saving the Rainforest manages a Bed & Breakfast to help raise funds to save the rainforest and wildlife in the area? We realize that very few people do!  KSTR has been managing the Blue Banyan Inn (BBI) for over 3 years now!

BBI consists of 3 luxury cottages with a panoramic view of the mountains, a spectacular swimming pool, and a beautiful restaurant for daily breakfasts, just10 minutes from Maxi Pali, 15 minutes from Quepos and Marina and 30 minutes from the National Park/main beach.

Even more great news, BBI lets volunteers use the gorgeous swimming pool whenever they have down-time! Plus there is a great labyrinth and even a nursery that grows food for sloths.  Internet is great with a KSTR tower. BBI also lets KSTR use the kitchen and restaurant where the volunteers have a group lunch daily from 12 – 1:30 PM.

To make it even sweeter, BBI offers the B&B lobby as a greeting area for KSTR’s tours, a refreshment area after the tours, and has lent space for KSTR set up a store to raise money for the wildlife in their care. KSTR also has a volunteer center (that can sleep up to 18 people) on the property, for volunteers residing on the property.

You can’t ask for a more generous opportunity than that and KSTR is extremely grateful!

Blue Banyan Inn (BBI) is owned by a family who actually live on the property. So it is a win-win situation and Kids Saving the Rainforest wants to thank the Braman/Thompson family for their generosity. And a special thanks to Chip and Jennifer for having the KSTR Wildlife Sanctuary and Rescue Center location on their property. Learn more at bluebanyaninn.com

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Tales from the Wildlife Rescue Center

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Raising and Preparing a Kinkayou for a Life in the Wild
By Pia Martin DVM, KSTR Wildlife Vet

Kinkayous (Potos flavus) and in Spanish “Martillas”, are medium size mammals (40-55cms long, weighing 2-3kg), brownish colored from the Procyonid family. This means they are nocturnal, live in pairs or by themselves and are arboreal and terrestrial; just like raccoons (Procyon lotor) and coatis (Nasua narica). However, they have unique characteristics that make them very special in the rainforest. For example: although they are categorized as carnivores, they do not eat meat. Their diet is basically fruits, flowers, and rarely they will eat a bird’s egg or an insect. They have a 5 inch tongue that helps them get nectar from flowers making them pollinators. Their ankles and wrists can rotate more than most mammals helping them climb up and down trees and walk in branches easily. They also have a long prehensile tail that can wrap itself around a branch and hold on to most of the animal’s weight so it can hang and reach for a fruit in a lower branch.

They are endangered due to the loss of their habitat (deforestation, forest fragmentation, civilization), they were hunted for food in the past and also to use their coat as the bristles in paintbrushes. They are also caught and sold in the pet trade. Here in Manuel Antonio, kinkajous are common but difficult to observe since they only come out at night and stay mainly in the trees. Their main threats are electrocutions, being hit by cars, and attacks by dogs.

Last year we received a very small, furry animal with a huge head; small eyes and long tail. It was a newborn kinkajou found by a woman in Parrita who was walking towards her house and spotted him on the ground by himself. She gave him to MINAET and they brought him to us.

Raising a kinkajou is definitely a extraordinary situation. At first we had to syringe feed him formula with probiotics, and he slept all day and all night. As he was growing we changed to a bottle and started introducing fruits and veggies, and put him into a playpen with stuffed animals, branches, ropes, and live trees.

Now, that he feeds on his own, is very active at night, and he is starting to search for his independence, we are beginning to do a soft release. Every night, the animal caretaker and me, open his cage and let him come out. He follows us into the jungle, just like he would follow his mom. We are training him to explore the world, search for his food using his sense of smell, hide from predators or unknown noises and get away from people. We are letting him climb up very tall trees and develop strong muscles in his hind legs, forearms, and tail so that he will feel secure moving in the canopy of the trees. Every time he achieves a little challenge we give him a prize- a small piece of grape or really sweet mango. It is difficult since we have to do it at night and we are always looking out for snakes and also afraid that he might run away before he is ready and that we will not be able to catch him.

But for the time being, he is still used to us so he is not leaving yet; but when the time comes and he knows how to find food, shelter, and company, he will leave and follow his instinct. We just need to prepare him well to survive and reproduce in the rainforest, just as he was meant to be; free and happy.

Rainforest Facts

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Did you know that…
Rainforests are primarily defined by two factors: where they are found on the earth and the amount of rainfall they receive. Rainforests are typically found in tropical locations and receive from 160-315 inches of rain per year.

There are 3.4 million square miles of tropical forest around the equator and while rainforests cover only 2% of the Earth’s surface or 6% of its landmass, they house over ½ of the plant and animal species on Earth.

•    Costa Rican rainforests contain:
•    850 kinds of birds
•    100 species of dragonflies
•    729 types of butterflies
•    205 kinds of mammals
•    10,000 different varieties of plants

There are at least 3000 types of fruits in the rainforest including: avocados, coconuts, figs, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, bananas, guavas, pineapples, mangos, and tomatoes.
Vegetables include: corn, potatoes, rice, winter squash, yams · Spices include: black pepper, cayenne, chocolate, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, sugar cane, turmeric, coffee, and vanilla.

The US National Cancer Institute has identified 3000 plants that are active against cancer cells. 70% of these plants are found in the rainforest.

Despite these benefits…

Rainforests are being destroyed at a staggering rate. According to the National Academy of Science, at least 50 million acres a year are lost, an area the size of England, Wales, and Scotland combined.

An average of 137 species of life forms are driven into extinction every day in the world’s tropical rainforests due to things such as logging and cattle ranching which are destroying the trees and the animals’ homes.

On average, rainforest destruction includes:
•    64 acres/minute · 3,800 acres/hour · 93,000 acres/day
•    2,800,000 acres/month
•    33,800,000 acres/year

KSTR is trying to help stop the destruction.  You can help us to do so!  Stop by our store adjacent to the Hotel Mono Azul and do your souvenir shopping while helping to save the rainforest.  100 % of the proceeds go to save the rainforest!

Nature’s Miracle Orphans filmed by the BBC at KSTR

Back story of the filming of Nature’s Miracle Orphans
by Sam Trull, KSTR Wildlife Manager & Primatologist

After learning that KSTR was chosen as the Costa Rican Rescue Center to be featured in the BBC series, “Natures Miracle Orphans”, Hannah, one of our returning volunteers, and I literally ran screaming from the wildlife center and jumped fully-clothed into the pool, pausing only to remove our phones from our pockets. Somehow this gesture seemed like a perfect way to express our pure excitement about this wonderful opportunity; plus, let’s face it, we were really hot and sweaty because we live in the jungle. Read about BBC’s Nature’s Miracle Orphans Show airing mid-August

Ellen, Kermie and Pelota, 2 toed sloths: Pelota living completely outdoors with Kermie and Ellen and soon will be in the Pre-release enclosure. We're raising money for GPS collars, post release monitoring of all three.

With almost 8 weeks of filming, participating in this series was a huge time commitment. However, towards the end of it, I found myself wishing it wasn’t going to be over. It’s really difficult to put into words how much this experience meant to me and how life changing it has been in many ways.  The film crew was exceptional, was always respectful of the animals, and was a lot of fun to be around.  Each day was a new and interesting challenge trying to figure out the best way to tell the animal’s stories while making time to film real life events and emergencies as they happened.  At first, the process felt a little awkward having strangers around when it would normally be just a few of us taking care of the animals.  Eventually though, being followed around by the crew and cameras felt so natural that I started to forget how life was without them.  Every intimate moment, whether sad, happy, or scary, became a moment I wanted to share and felt privileged to be able to do so.  We welcomed the film crew as members of the KSTR family, and I truly felt invested in the final product of the show.  I always felt like this was a project we were creating together and that it was a fabulous way to let the world know what we are doing here in our corner of the rainforest in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

There is no “average day” at KSTR and taking care of rescued wildlife, especially orphans, is a 24 hour commitment.   My life revolves around what the animals need and most days are filled with feeding and exercising babies, gathering wild foods, observations, medical exams, instructing volunteers and of course rescues and releases. The opportunity to share my passion with the world is rare and precious, and having the chance to invite a diverse audience to ride the same emotional roller coaster that I live on a daily basis is something I will always cherish.  I just hope that this series provides the audience with a new perspective on wildlife rescue.  It is my goal that we portray these animals not just as cute and cuddly creatures that exist solely for us to have and to hold, but instead that they are amazing creatures with wonderful stories of their own and that they all deserve another chance to be wild.

Newbie, a 3 toed sloth was at KSTR's rescue center during filming

 

Check out a video of a Baby Anteater learning to climb a branch!
Here’s one of Al the anteater feasting on some ants, go Al!

Read about Kids Saving the Rainforest’s other projects here.

KSTR featured on BBC One! Nature’s Miracle Orphans Costa Rica

Ellie Harrison and Max Hug Williams to present Nature’s Miracle Orphans for BBC One

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Presenters Ellie Harrison and Max Hug Williams follow the early lives of orphaned baby animals as they make their brave journeys back in to the wild, in a 2 x 60 minute series from the BBC’s award-winning Natural History Unit.

Filmed in Costa Rica and Australia, the series follows the teams and individuals who devote their lives to caring for young orphaned wildlife, teaching them the basic survival skills they need before they can be released back into the wild.

Wildlife cameraman Max Hug Williams visits Kids Saving the Rainforest in Costa Rica to meet the carers of a three-toed sloth named Newbie, who is battling a life-threatening illness. Max is also introduced to two-toed, two-day-old sloth Tiny, who is in need of constant care and attention, and anteater Al, who must learn to tackle aggressive biting ants if he is going to survive in the wild.

At Cape Otway Conservation Centre in Australia Ellie meets a tiny koala called Danny, who was found abandoned at the roadside after his mother was killed and ran up the leg of the motorist who stopped to rescue him. She’ll also visit Wildhaven Wildlife Shelter on the outskirts of Melbourne, where she’ll meet baby wallaby Neil and the carers working around the clock to teach the skills he’ll need for a life in the wild.

Max says: “Through the dedication of the amazing carers I met in Costa Rica, the animals that have had the hardest start in life are given the second chance they deserve. These incredible people have given up everything to nurture and care for these orphans 24/7 and having seen what they go through, I have to say, it must be one of the toughest jobs in the world.”

Ellie says: “Few jobs require as much personal sacrifice for no pay as rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife. The carers I have spent time with in Australia are woken through the night, convert their homes to rescue centres and have their personal schedule determined by the needs of the animals. But the reward is clear: a second chance for the orphans who would never have otherwise survived and the return of the animals they have nurtured back to the wild.”

Executive Producer Lucinda Axelsson says: “All the animals featured in the series are handpicked for their plucky personalities and their will to survive. It’s almost impossible not have your heart melted when you see Danny the baby koala being weighed in a little glass jug, or little Neil the orphaned wallaby trying hard to find a friend to cuddle up with. These babies are trying to survive against formidable odds and every survival truly feels like a miracle.”

Nature’s Miracle Orphans was commissioned for the BBC by Tom McDonald, Acting Head of Commissioning, Science and Natural History. The Executive Producer is Lucinda Axelsson and the series producer is Kate Broome, both for the BBC’s Natural History Unit.

 

Our Adoption Program has changed to a SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM!!

All funds received through our site go to Kids Saving the Rainforest, a 501(c) 3 US non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the endangered mono titi monkey and Costa Rica’s Rainforest.

 

Sponsorship levels describe what your dollars will accomplish for funding each critical project or rescue and release or sanctuary care for that type of animal.  These funds are used immediately for our ongoing programs and for helping the animals in our care. New short term projects  are supported through specific project fundraisers which are listed at the bottom of our Razoo DONATE page.  This includes options for you to create your own campaign for your group through Razoo. To Learn More about each program and project please go here:

http://kidssavingtherainforest.org/sponsorship-levels/

A Day in the Life at KSTR

Do you really want to know what goes on here on a day-to-day basis? We live in Costa Rica on a beautiful property with over 70 animals that have to be fed twice a day.

Our mornings start at 7am with the cleaning of all the cages and food containers and then we proceed at 8am with the chopping of all of the fruits and veggies for the AM feeding. Then we must make sure all of the animals are taken care of: sanctuary,rescue center and the animals in the clinic. Certain animals need meds, goats milk or nan milk formula before even getting their actual food. Then cage by cage we deliver the food to our monkeys, kinkajous, raccoons, birds, porcupines and a squirrel.

 

food prep          Volunteer Martie Stothoff prepping food in the monkey kitchen

038FYI…we no longer feed animals bread…just in case you were wondering!

Feeding normally takes about 1 hour and up to 1 1/2hrs. Sometimes the marmoset monkeys like to play try to get me by escaping during the food delivery!  During  the feedings we do a count to make sure all of the animals are accounted for, check for injuries and check for any holes in the cages so that there are no escapees aka MARMOSETS!

alex volunteerFood delivery by volunteer Alex Jimenez

Once the animals are fed, there’s always work to be done . Enriching the animal’s cages plays a huge part in keeping the animals engaged and healthy so they can enjoy living out there lives at our sanctuary. Our volunteers play a huge part in the daily care taking and without them it would make it very difficult to do.

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cage enrichment

cage enrichment 2Getting enrichment ready for the cages

 

lily and barb electrocuted monkey

electrocuted titiAt any given time we can get a injured animal and we have to be ready to treat them.

alexmanVolunteer Alex Jimenez helping to release a titi monkey

 When we’re not feeding the animals we try to squeeze in some clicker training, which will come in handy when we need to weigh,give  shots or exam the animals.

clicker trainingBarb Braman and Vet Tech Sam Trull clicker training spider monkeys Darwin and Nina

observationsAt times when we are introducing animals for the first time into a cage, volunteers  need to do observations to make sure no fighting is going on and everyone is getting along. Observations are very important because you can also find out which one is the dominant animal.

We also have daily tours to educate tourist about Kids Saving the Rainforest and the animals that we care for everyday.

barb talking about marmosetsBarb Braman educating a group about marmosets

Besides taking care of our animals we do get to do fun things like making our own cheese  and learning about gardening.

cheese3Seanna Daise and Carissa Ward making mozzarella cheese

chip explaining pineapple plantationFinca Owner Chip Braman discussing what should be planted next in the garden

Our day starts with feeding and ends with feeding with activities in between  and  at the end of the day we have happy healthy full belly animals.

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Although we do feedings everyday twice a day, everyday is alway a different experience and full of surprises! So feel free to follow  our blog or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kids-Saving-the-Rainforest/146280833519 or visit our website: http://kidssavingtherainforest.org

simonsquirrelPhoto courtesy of Primatography/Sam Trull