Skip to content
The Osa Wildlife Sanctuary has been permanently closed to the public.

Exciting Tales from the Sanctuary

Iago the baby macaw preening and sleeping in the sun

Carol with Sweetie on her shoulders

Carol and Sweetie…

Dear Friends of the Sanctuary,

Many of you saw the baby titi monkey that was born here last December 29th —Dec 30, 2016 Newsletter—A BIRTH AT THE SANCTUARY. Today, we moved her to the large cage with the other six—her first big step towards being released!

I completed all of the required Association of Zoos and Aquariums professional courses to receive my certificate in Animal Behavior Husbandry—Sept 9, 2015 Newsletter—AZA PROFESSIONAL TRAINING COURSES. I appreciated the financial assistance many gave for me to achieve this certificate.

We are starting a new section of the newsletter titled BEHIND THE SCENES. Much of what we do and how we live is so different from what most visitors would suspect. We will be giving a better idea of how life goes on through tales of our day-to-day work and life in a human cage. This first story tells you what happens when monkeys break through the two door system to get into the dormitory area and the human kitchen! Our six-month ethologist intern went almost five months before the disaster happened. Some volunteers think all should experience it at least once during their stay.

We also have some successful releases to celebrate.

This is a lengthy newsletter because we had so much good news to share. Some of the articles were written by the volunteers/interns. Read a little at a time and enjoy!



Isaiah ready to be released into the wild again…

We released a young male margay we called Isaiah in 2008. He lived his life in the wild until last November when he returned for help. It appears that he had been attacked by a jaguar as he had four punctures on the top of his skull. He also suffered from an epidermal rip exposing muscle and a foot had been bitten—Isaiah was not able to hunt and starving to death.

We followed our routine protocol giving parasite medications, a visit from our veterinarian, and administered antibiotics for his injuries. Slowly, we built him back up to a diet of red meat and gave him time to rest and recuperate.

We rotate the timing of our daily feeding for the cats. This prevents stereotypic movements most cats in captivity have while waiting to be fed.

Just before he was ready to be released we started feeding him at exactly 9:00 every morning. If he does not make it in the wild, we want him to know he can return to eat.

Isaiah has lived most of his natural life in the wild and one day we know nature will take him, but it will be with a full stomach!

Ripley the spider monkey hanging in the wild

Ripley in the wild…

Ripley the spider monkey—Dec 28, 2016 Newsletter—2016 YEAR IN REVIEW.

It was time for Ripley to be let out back to the wild. The day of release was filled with anticipation by her caretakers as well as by Rosie, a spider monkey that had been saved in the past.

When we opened her doors we put long branches high up on posts for her to leave without having to go to the ground. Ripley wasn’t quite sure what was going on until Rosie came up and sat down on a nearby limb to show her the way out.

After Ripley hesitantly left the cage, Rosie followed her acting as though she were the big sister.

Ripley has found companionship in a troop that passes through the Sanctuary about every two weeks. When they do, Rosie goes up to greet Ripley—both hugging each other and giggling!

Ripley staring off into the rainforest while Rosie looks on up front

Rosie showing the way…

Rosie and Ripley the spider monkeys hanging out in the branches of the forest

Ripley and Rosie in the wild…

Another Scarlet Macaw release!!!

Scarlet macaw flying free from its carrier in its cage

This young macaw broke his wing when fledging. Look how straight they are!!!

A plea for pictures…

This year we will be trying something different for the calendar and will need to have many photos. We will be making collages of a particular species for each month. The date page will also have interesting facts for the species of that month. Please send us your favorite pictures. Because of how we will be making the collage of pictures, we won’t need the high resolution photos that kept many good pictures in the past from being used. I think it will be a most interesting calendar that all will be able enjoy.

In the nursery by Cassie…

Cassandra Festa with Sweetie on her lap

Cassandra Festa and Sweetie…


Our nursery area, also known as our kitchen and porch, has been pretty busy lately. When I first arrived, I was greeted by the familiar kitchen residents, Mr. Bird looking down on me from his perch and Ms Baloo, the blue and gold macaw, making moves for my fingers. There was also a new addition: a baby squirrel monkey with a personality twice her size, born here at the sanctuary. Named Peachie for her vocalizations, she passed her days wrestling with a large plastic bell or snuggling in her hammock when not demanding attention from anyone who made it past Ms Baloo and into the kitchen. She is now happily with her own kind, having just recently joined our small troop in their prerelease cage, following them around as she learns the world beyond the kitchen.

Baby squirrel monkey sticking head out of laundry basket

Little Peachie at three months…

Baby squirrel monkey asleep in hammock while sucking thumb

Peachie sucking her thumb and napping in her hammock…

Close-up head shot of Channah the parrot


Another bird we have in the kitchen is Channah, named after a worker (Chan) who has stolen her heart. She can usually be seen on tour with her red-lorded friend Peanut, but has had a cold for the past several days. To the relief of all the volunteers tasked with giving her the antibiotics she needs, she has decided she will, in fact, take her medicine in pieces of bread, saving all parties involved the stress of trying to give a bird a syringe of the liquid medicine. She is now feeling much better, and is living up to her namesake as a finnicky eater and throwing foot-full clumps of her food at us until she gets what she wants—peanuts and fruit.

Our flock of scarlet macaws increased by two this year! These chicks are also winning over every one of us that work in the clinic/nursery: Zazu, who arrived from Playa Cativo when she tried to fledge the coop too early (and flew like a rock), and Iago, born here to Mayo and Agosto nine weeks ago. Zazu, currently estimated to be about 4 months old, is perfecting her landing techniques in a large cage as we begin to wean her from her foods fed through a large syringe and try to convince her to eat more fruits than just papaya, banana, and grapes. Iago is currently passing the days cuddling up and chatting with his hot water bottle, while his feathers are growing out and he flaps his wings, trying to hop up onto his branch. Soon these two will be put together in the flight cage to hone their flight skills and to bond before being released.

Scarlet macaw eating out of a large syringe

Zazu at feeding time…

Scarlet macaw sleeping and preening new feathers in the sun

Iago preening his new feathers…

Crash the Wooly Opossum...

Crash the Wooly Opossum…

Our last nursery resident is a wooly possum we found about a month ago. When he arrived, he moved very slowly and dragged his right leg behind him despite the fact we couldn’t find a break, and was covered in weird yellow-white sacs that were stuck to his fur. David, one of the workers, informed us the sacs were fly eggs from a fly that finds a sick or dying animal that can’t move very quickly, stings it, and then lays its eggs in the surrounding fur. In a couple of days, when the eggs hatch, the larvae crawl into the wound created by the stinger where they grow up, eventually killing the host. At those words we quickly set about removing all the pesky eggs and carefully cleaning and medicating the wound.

Crash is now doing much better, climbing the branches in his enclosure, using his right leg, the wound on his back closed up, and his regime of anti-parasitic and antibiotics over with, letting us only have to bother him once a day to clean his cage as his leg strengthens and he prepares for release back to the wild.

A new species rescued at the Sanctuary—Bats!!!

Kristina Mira and Poppy the spider monkey

Kristina Mira and Poppy…

When we first encountered Robin, a Brazilian free-tailed bat, he was very dehydrated and being attacked by large ants. Because he was only a juvenile, Robin was unable to fly and therefore we could not simply release him out into the rainforest safely. Instead, we determined that the best chance of survival for little Robin was to locate where his roost was situated in order to return him to his family.

We concluded that he must have fallen from one of the spaces in the roof of our house, which are easy for bats and other small animals to climb into. The area between the metal roofing and the wooden ceiling are perfect places for bats to establish their roosts due to the ample darkness and crevice-like structure.

After three days with Robin in our care, it was time to return him to his roost so that he could continue to prosper in the wild and develop properly into a mature bat. We figured out that we had to bring Robin outside around 4:30 p.m. when the bats all begin to chirp before leaving their roosts to hunt for the night. Bats are highly intelligent animals that communicate with family members through distinct chirps and clicks. We speculated that if Robin heard his family’s calls at dusk that he would recognize where they came from. However, this strategy was not as straightforward as it had seemed. With four free-roaming spider monkeys on the premises, the simplest tasks can become quite challenging.

It would be impossible to carry Robin outside without the monkeys becoming curious and taking the small animal to inspect for themselves. As a result, we lured the monkeys down the trail from our house to the beach and entertained them there with fruit and back scratches. While the monkeys were distracted beachside, I snuck back up to the house, secured a towel to the end of a broomstick and placed Robin onto the towel, so that he could easily grip the fabric while being raised towards the roof.

There was a variety of chirps, clicks and buzzes coming from spaces throughout the metal roofing, but still no response from Robin. Suddenly, a bolt of energy rushed through Robin as he jolted his tiny black head into the air and chirped in response to another bat. The closer he got to a specific area, the more his chirps intensified as did those coming from one big hole in the far right corner. This was it! I raised the broomstick with Robin perched on the top close up to the hole, where he immediately ascended into the crevice. Robin was greeted by a roar of chirps as he entered and disappeared in the darkness of his roost, happily surrounded by his family again. Being able to care for and release a wild animal back into its natural habitat is truly a beautiful experience, and one that I will never forget!

Robin, the Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat...

Robin, the Brazilian Free-Tailed Bat…

Meet Kimberly…

Kimberly Espinoza...

Kimberly Espinoza…

Our Foundation philosophy has always been to strive to help the local people to advance their education and financial means. We now have a local girl that has studied tourism and speaks English! We are very pleased to have her and she is most eager to continue her education to learn about the biology, ecological importance and wildlife conservation.

Behind the Scenes…

Rut Moreno Diaz and Pito

Rut Moreno Diaz and Pito…

Living with free-roaming primates can be difficult, especially with their high intelligence working against you when they want to have fun. Within five minutes you can have a grand disaster, as I experienced first-hand a few days ago.

I had to go down to the laundry area by the beach to set out the clothes to dry in the sun. As I was approaching the house, I heard a monkey giggle and knew that “the girls”—as we call them—were up to something mischievous.

Sweetie and Winkie (in background) on our beds

No more monkeys jumping on the bed…

I arrived at the house to find Winkie and Sweetie jumping on the beds, on top of my laptop, and looking beneath the mosquito nets while making their happy giggling vocalizations.

In that moment I saw the first door in our double door system to be opened, but the others were shut and I realized what had happened: they didn’t need to open the other doors to get in. Instead, they ripped off the fencing on the door into the dorm area.

The over-turned bookshelf


I grabbed some grapes and went outside the fenced in area calling them trying to get them to come out while trying to keep Poppy and Rosie from getting in. I wasn’t successful in getting Sweetie’s or Winkie’s attention, as being inside the house was much more fun for them, and my efforts at getting them out were futile.

Sweetie then came across the small door we have between the bedroom and the kitchen and easily lifted the latch and ran into the kitchen. Winkie, meanwhile, began to grow bored and decided it would be much more fun to overturn a bookcase (her strength is brutal) and did the same with the boxes of syringes and other medical products that were on the other shelves.

During this high-tension situation, I took a few seconds to send a voice message to my co-workers who were eating lunch on the other side of the Sanctuary. Pito, the dog, was my big helper, as he started trying to play with Rosie. Winkie, hearing Rosie’s calls of annoyance and discontentment, left the room to help her sister and Poppy took the chance to enter the room. fortunately, after she made the rounds didn’t find anything of interest and left.

Winkie rushed back in at that moment, and decided to explore the bathroom, overturning the boxes with bed sheets and throwing the unopened toilet paper rolls into the toilet. When my co-workers arrived, I had Poppy and Winkie at the first door, keeping me from closing it, and a box blocking the hole Winkie had made to get into the room.

Sweetie sitting on our counter with a bottle of honey in hand

Sweetie with the honey bottle…

Sweetie was locked in the kitchen to keep the others from entering, not enjoying the gum she found in the refrigerator, went to the counter to grab the honey bottle. My co-workers called Winkie and Poppy and were able to entice them out of the door with handfuls of grapes, but we still had to get Sweetie out of the kitchen, who obviously did not want to leave.

My co-worker Kimberly grabbed the broken bio-degradable pellet gun that we call “la pistola” and Sweetie knows what that means—it’s time to end the adventure and leave. Luckily, there were no bites or damages, but we spent a while retrieving the books and fixing the doors so the monkeys could not get in again.

Developing an Education Center…

We are always thinking of different means to support the Sanctuary. With increasing development of the Southern zone, more demand is put upon us daily.

I have over 20 years experience of saving, rehabilitating and releasing wildlife and have prided myself on giving the best lives possible to the unfortunate that can’t be released. Why shouldn’t we take advantage of all the experience and certification of animal behavior husbandry from the classes at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums? Many of our employees have over six years of experience as well, enabling us the opportunity to offer animal welfare and other related classes here at the Sanctuary. We have applied to the government to have an education center!

Current Construction Project…

East side of the rancho...

East side of the rancho…

From two stories to a large one story...

From two stories to a large one story…

We are in the midst of remodeling the rancho where the original animal kitchen was and where the in-house employees live. With our remodel/expansion project, we will be able to have a classroom and eating area for future students.

We have completed the first phase using all materials gleaned from old and abandoned cages around the Sanctuary.

Our second phase will be welding the new roof and enclosing the area with chain link fencing for walls. The estimated cost is $4,500.

Our third and final phase will be approximately $3,500 for the solar electrical system.

Hauling building materials to the Sanctuary...

Hauling building materials to the Sanctuary…

We can delay the electrical system until the cash flow picks up again in January, but we could use a little ‘help from our friends’ to enclose the building.

If you would care to help us, please send your tax deductible donations through our PayPal account by pressing the icon below or mailing a check made payable to OSA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY, INC. and mail to P.O. Box 171, Greenwood, IN 46142-0171. No donation is too small and all are thoroughly appreciated!

Everyone at the Sanctuary appreciates the opportunity to continue saving, and most importantly—responsibly releasing wildlife. They also realize the need of being able to share their experiences to teach others.

Winkie, Sweetie, Poppy and Rosie…

IMG 2540

We always welcome your input and suggestions. Please feel free to contact us about your thoughts of how we may improve our facility. Ideas for fundraising are always needed as well as some counsel to give us direction for furthering the education center would be most helpful. Having experienced leadership and caring people helping to guide us will lead to future successes for the wildlife we care for today and tomorrow.

From all of us at the Sanctuary we thank you kindly for visiting and hope to see you again. We also wish to send our wholehearted appreciation to those that continue to support our efforts. Without your generosity we would never be able to pursue our life saving mission that is becoming more and more in demand each day. Please help us to continue.

In friendship,

Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company



  1. Kim Raymond on June 19, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I would be interested in subscribing to your newsletter.

    • Osa Wildlife Sanctuary on October 15, 2018 at 12:03 am

      Hi Kim, I’ll add you to the email list so that you receive the next newsletter. Thank you!

  2. Ursula Walsh on August 25, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Dear Carol, you may not remember us but in July 2018, my son Benjamin, his daughter Luna and I had the privilege to visit your sanctuary. It was an amazing opportunity and one that has inspired Luna to follow in your footsteps when she is old enough. You encouraged a shy 7year old to face her “upside down ” fears and reach up and feed the sloths. This had been her dream. You showed amazing warmth and determination to my granddaughter something she will never forget.
    That day with that visit was a fantastic experience, so we thank you.

    I would love to subscribe to the newsletter and receive the calendar and we will definitely be back to visit. Luna will be in contact in ten years time to work as a volunteer!!!!?
    Best Wishes, Ursula

    • Cassie Festa on May 14, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Hi Ursula,

      Thank you so much for your kind comments! It is supporters like you and your family that help us keep these animals safe and happy. We hope to see you all again soon, and excited to have Luna volunteer with us 🙂

Leave a Comment

Scroll To Top