As you all know by now, my awesome Mom was here visiting us the last week of January (if you missed it, click here).
The favorite tour we did when Mom was here, was our visit to the Toucan Rescue Ranch.
What an amazing place! All of the animals are rescue animals (as the name implies). Leslie – the owner and animal guru herself – was there to greet us, and was our personal tour guide. Leslie is incredible. Down to earth, very well spoken, open to questions – you can tell she just loves what she does. And she doesn’t just have toucans – which made me giddy. I mean I like birds and all, but… well, you can’t really cuddle with a toucan.
She had several different types of owls (which ok, is a type of bird, but different than a toucan for sure). She had never “wanted” to start rescuing owls, but there was no place else that would take them in. So when people started coming to her door with injured owls… she couldn’t let herself say no when she knew the alternative would be them dying in the wild without getting any care.
And the sloth’s! Oh my…. so precious. Look at this baby:
And this adult sloth:
She let us walk into several of the adult sloth cages, and they all reached to her with open arms – she is their Momma, the one who raised them. It was so sweet to see! She even allowed us to pet them (on their backs – not their heads, which they don’t like).
And look at this little baby Spider Monkey that she rescued and is raising:
The goal is to release each animal that is capable of sustaining itself, back into their natural home environment. A lot of research goes into determining the geographic location the animal should be returned to (sometimes even DNA testing!). In some unfortunate cases however; either because the animal was domesticated or cannot fend for itself, they become a permanent resident with Leslie at the Toucan Rescue Ranch.
She also had an Oncilla – and no, I’m not mistaken on the name (it is NOT a Margay or an Ocelot, although the Oncilla does resemble these two). Very rare. This one came to her as a rescue, of course, and Leslie quickly came to realize that it is very docile, i.e. – probably raised in a home, so it cannot be released into the wild. I must say, Leslie has made an awesome home for it, thanks to the generous donation from a couple who stayed at her B & B when the cat was brought in. Very large, caged in area with tons of trees, limbs and grass… Leslie knows it is happy.
There are 6 types of toucans in Costa Rica (and Leslie had 4!), but don’t ask me to tell you which one this is:
This is what one of them sounds like (he was putting on a show for us):
And a mot-mot (beautiful bird, Greg has photographed one in our yard before!):
This is a “Barred Hawk” – beautiful and huge. Leslie opened the door and let us go inside to take pictures, and when I questioned this, she told me confidently that the hawk would not fly out, as one of its wings is permanently injured. She said when this hawk first came to her it was totally depressed and stayed in the corner and didn’t fly around or do anything. And then one day, Leslie saw the hawk on ground, with its head down, and she was quite worried about it. On closer observation – Leslie found it to be hunched over a snake! The hawk had hunted it, killed it – and then was jubilant and prancing around afterwards and has been happy ever since. She just needed a stalking/hunting job to do.
She even had a porcupine, who obviously ADORED Leslie, and ate this fresh flower right out of her hand (we went into the cage as well, I was pretty scared I was going to get shot with quills, but that didn’t happen):
Leslie – you were the highlight of our day! Thanks for the awesome tour, all your excellent information and giving us some quality “oooooh and aaaaaaw” time with the animals.
I leave you with this picture, at the end of our tour she let a baby sloth out and set it on the rocking chair. It then climbed down, and her resident kitty came over and attempted to play with it. So adorable.
Ciao for now! — Jen