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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Happy New Year to All from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

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Even if you don’t usually make New Year’s Resolutions, please do so this year by becoming more conscientious of saving energy so that we can all contribute to create a healthier planet!

The average American ecological footprint is 5 times more than other parts of the world. Living in Costa Rica, we use less, but it is always good for everyone to cut back.

Here are some ways to do so:

  1. Only boil the amount of water you want to use as it takes more energy to boil extra water that is not necessary.
  2. When you leave a room, make sure you turn off the lights, TV, fan, air conditioner, and stereo.
  3. Before throwing things away, make sure you can not use the item for something else, such as to reuse the wrapping paper of a gift, make birthday cards out of old ones you have, reuse containers, get shoes repaired, or get the broken machine fixed.
  4. Recycle cans, plastic bottles and glass containers.
  5. Take shorter showers, 5 minutes is great.       If you take 10-minute showers you could be wasting enough water to fill up a swimming pool and be creating 2,200 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from the energy used to heat the water each year! Try setting the thermostat of your water heater to a lower temperature. Try buying a low-flow shower fitting to reduce the flow of water by 50%.
  6. Growing up in areas that did not have a lot of water to use, we learned to flush the toilet only when necessary, not after each use. We had a saying “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.” I think you get my drift! Another way to save water with the toilet is to fill a two-liter soda bottle with water and sink it into the tank. Then you will use 2 liters less each time you flush. If you are buying a new toilet, look for the HET (high-efficiency) label when purchasing. Not only will you save water but also your water bill will go down.
  7. If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, only run it when it is full and you will save up to 20 gallons of water a day.       If you wash dishes by hand, don’t run the water until you have to rinse. To wash, fill the sink with water so that you don’t waste water while you are washing. When rinsing do so as quickly as possible to save water.
  8. Use solar power wherever possible, only wash clothes in cold water, line dry clothes instead of using a dryer, when using a dryer, keep the filter clean, close curtains when the sun is beating in, clean you’re a/c’s filter regularly.

Everyone can make a difference. Now that you know how, do it to feel good about yourself and to make this a great planet to live on.

Have a great year from all of us at Kids Saving the Rainforest!

 

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!

Just a friendly reminder on why we need the rainforest

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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.
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

So, what are you going to do to help it survive?

1/13/13 KSTR Mono Awareness/Beach Cleanup Project

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The purpose of this project was to educate the public, locals, vendors, and visitors about the dangers of feeding the monkeys. We were armed with flyers of 11 reasons why this is harmful to the monkeys. Also we charted the results as a field study recording how many groups we spoke with, whether or not they spoke English, if the people we spoke with were receptive, and finally, and mostly importantly, if they were informed.

PLEASE DON’T FEED THE MONKEYS!!!

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THERE ARE AT LEAST 11 REASONS NOT TO FEED THE MONKEYS!

1. Monkeys are highly susceptible to diseases from human hands. They can die from bacteria transferred from your hands to the monkeys, bacteria that have no ill effect on you.

2. Migration to human-populated areas where they are fed increases their risk of dog attacks and road accidents.

3. Irregular feeding leads to an aggressive behavior towards humans and other species.

4. Contrary to popular belief, bananas are not the “preferred” food of monkeys in the wild. Bananas, especially those containing pesticides, can be upsetting to the monkeys’ delicate digestive system and cause serious dental problems that can lead to eventual death.

5. Humans feeding monkeys in the wild creates a dangerous dependency which diminishes the monkeys’ survival abilities.

6. Humans feeding monkeys interferes with the monkeys’ natural habits and upsets the natural balance of their lifestyle centered on eating wild fruits, seeds, small animals, and insects.

7. Contact with humans facilitates poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife.

8. Pregnant females in the wild who are fed by humans during their pregnancy will not give birth to healthy infants. The babies will be malnourished, or never develop to term, and die before birth.

9. Monkeys need to travel an average of 17 kilometers each day to be in good physical condition. If they know that food is available in a particular location, they will not leave that area.

10. Not only do we pass on diseases to animals when we feed them by hand, but they can pass diseases to us as well.

11. The only exception is in the case of a dire emergency where a species would perish without food.

The monkeys do not realize any of this.

 

Now YOU do!!!

 

Don’t contribute to the extinction of one of nature’s most amazing creatures for your own pleasure or for financial gain. Please help save the monkeys by reporting anyone feeding the monkeys to: 2777-25-92.

If you are feeding the monkeys, you now know why you should stop. If you don’t, we owe it to the monkeys to publish your name with the local media here in Costa Rica