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Hello, Friends of the Sanctuary!

Little Riley, our 21 month old spider monkey, is having a rough time. Rosie, her mother, has begun to wean her. The other day we observed high in the trees, Mr. Macho (the male biological donator) put himself between Rosie and Riley. Riley was having none of that nonsense and let out deafening screams for mom to come get her. Rosie has been going to Mr Macho at night after Riley has fallen asleep. All is well until about 2:00 AM when Riley wants a snack and begins to cry until Rosie comes down to her. Not only has it been interesting, but a lot of fun as well to watch Riley develop. This experience has definitely helped us to better understand what to expect the next time. Hopefully soon, Rosie will reproduce again; Riley will remain with her, observing all of the maternal social behaviors and learning to be as good a mother as Rosie has been to her.

The flock is growing!!!

In our March 24, 2019 newsletter, we mentioned that Charlie, one of our staff members, was telling us that he was hearing chick sounds from inside the macaw nest box. Sure enough, one little chick decided to leave the nest a little too early, took that great leap of faith and got caught in the cage. We came to his rescue and now have him in a cage right next to the large feeding tray into which we put sunflower seeds twice a day for the free flying macaws and red-lored amazons. He can watch his soon-to-be flock coming and going and with this familiarity, it should be much easier for him to join them. Dr. Andrés Tello, the sanctuary’s veterinarian, will be here on the 9th of July and should be giving us his approval to release him, to “throw him to the wind”—he’s ready to go be a high flyer!

Three scarlet macaws look at the camera through the fencing

The chick is the one in the middle. He is almost as big as his parents!

Side profile of young scarlet macaw in his cage, beak dirty from eating

That is papaya on his bill, he eats like a horse. You can see the food tray where we put the seeds.

Little Teo is with the troop now…

Also in our March newsletter, we introduced to you little Teo, the abandoned Titi monkey. He is now out in the big cage becoming part of the Titi troop. In order to help him acclimate to the troop, we first put him in a large wire crate which we then put into the troop’s cage. We took a gamble after a few days and let him out. First thing, he went right to the food tray and began eating like a real champion!

Squirrel monkeys crowding around a feeding tray eating

That’s little Teo facing you in the middle stuffing his mouth with food! Monkey see — Monkey do.

The Lapathon 10K Race…

Three women in green racing shirts

Left to right are Adriana Silva Rojas, Carol Patrick and Barbara Burkhardt.

Many of you know that Carol is in training to run the Jekyll Island Marathon this coming January 19, 2020 at Jekyll Island, GA. It is part of a fundraising project for the Sanctuary in celebration of a complete solar system. Recently, she took a day off from her training to run the 10K Lapathon. We are all proud of her for competing and finishing within the 70 percentile in the women’s +35 years category—Carol turned 71 this last May.

Many of you may also know Barbara, she is the gal that makes that delicious ice cream and those fabulous cookies in Puerto Jimenez and Adriana who works out at Bosque del Cabo.

John, the owner of Cabinas Jimenez in Puerto Jimenez was kind to comp Carol a room Saturday night after the race. After the grueling run in the sun, Carol was most appreciative to have a hot shower and a very comfortable bed!

Woman running along a dirt road in the sun

It was a hot day and the road was rocky!

Race results from the Lapathon

Results: Women’s +35 years category.

Boogie’s Emergency Mastectomy…

Boogie, our resident Tayra developed tumors that grew exponentially. Dr. Tello was incredibly busy and unable to come out to the Sanctuary and as we didn’t have the spare time we couldn’t take her all the way in land to his clinic. Our local turtle expert, Phoebe Edge, a Founder and director of Osa Ecology offered her house in Golfito. I brought a folding table, we set it up between the living room and kitchen, anesthetized Boogie, plugged in the electro cauterizing machine and Dr. Tello started operating.

Boogie is now fine, but it’s only because of Phoebe’s understanding and care for wildlife that she did so well. Thank you Phoebe for being so generous in opening your house to us.

Three people around a table with a tayra on it

Waiting for the anesthesia to take…

A vet feeling the stomach of a tayra on a table while a woman looks on

Phoebe Edge watching while Dr. Tello operates.

Making Enrichment…

Six women standing around a white table with various materials while a spider monkey looks in

From left to right: Sophie Reid, Rhea, Joliene and Morelle Heiden, Lena and Marie Reid.

Carol had the pleasure of meeting Marie and Sophie Reid during their Orangutan Foundation International trip to Borneo in October, 2017 to meet Dr. Biruté Galdikas and the Orangutans. This summer they and friends traveled from their homes in Wisconsin to volunteer at SeeTurtle on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. After volunteering, they made a visit to the Pacific side to come visit with us. While staying the next beach over at Playa Cativo, we spent two days together taking care of Boogie, the Tayra, getting to know all the animals and making some enrichment for the permanent residents. Sophie is thinking about volunteering here next summer after she graduates from high school.


June 12, 2019 · by prospectjournalucsd · in BLOG, ENVIRONMENT, FEATURED, INTERVIEWS, LATIN AMERICA. ·

by Mekalyn Rose
Editor in Chief

I was thirteen years old when I first stepped off the boat onto the shore of the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary and met Carol Patrick, who had a fuzzy auburn spider monkey sitting atop her shoulders. The monkey’s name was Sweetie and there were others like her who followed us as we explored the premises. While the tour lasted only an hour, the experience stuck with me. Four years later I was lying in bed listening to the melodic chatter of the jungle, waking up at sunrise to feed a pair of baby Titi monkeys, floating in warm waves during breaks, and leading the same tour that had first inspired me to volunteer.

The Osa Wildlife Sanctuary is both a home and a rescue center. It lies on the Osa Peninsula near the town of Puerto Jimenez, accessible only by boat and shrouded by a thick layer of trees. Since October of 2003, the center has given refuge and care to over 55 different species of birds, mammals, and sea turtles—each arriving with varying levels of need, illness, and injury. Every species is accepted, but those not indigenous to the area are relocated to the Southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. For the animals who have reached their natural life span, there are “quality of life” programs that include five-star accommodation, nutrition, and medical services. In every case, the goal is release–a moment the sanctuary’s owner, Carol Patrick, reflects on with joy and pride.

“When we release an animal. It is so euphoric! It erases all the sadness of the losses and gives you encouragement to continue. Just to know an animal is back living in the wild, where it was intended to be, gives all of us a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.”

These releases are the product of a long and, at times, arduous and demeaning process that Carol undertook to manifest the now successful center, whose conception was aided by both passion and a bit of fate. Coming from high risk and stressful jobs trading lumber in the United States, Carol and her husband were looking to make a change. After taking a vacation in Costa Rica and falling in love with the culture, they continued to visit over the next six years, searching for a place and a niche.

“We very serendipitously found where the sanctuary is today—Caña Blanca. The property had a large house and two cabins. We started a small eco-lodge. After arriving in February of 1996, one of our staff gave us a red-lored amazon with clipped feathers. I put perches up all around the second story of our house. We even put one out to a tree! A few months later the staff suggested I clip his wings again, and I refused.”

“Let him fly,” she said. “If he stays around, so be it, and if he flies away, that is good too.”

“To the amazement of all the workers, little Chico stayed around and flew all over the area, always returning home. Word got out that there was a ‘gringa loca’ taking care of birds. People from everywhere came with injured birds, chicks knocked from the nest and pet birds they wanted to release. In October of 2003, the governing agency for wildlife called and asked if I would take a young spider monkey that they had confiscated from a home. I was given an 18” square cardboard box that held a spider monkey clinging to a damp mop head. She looked up at me, gave me eye contact, squinted her face, and sadly put out a faint giggle. It was like lightning striking me—I knew what I would be doing the rest of my life!”

Before this revelation, life in Costa Rica was a huge adjustment for a city girl who, upon moving, gave away 35 pairs of shoes and sold her Saab Turbo Convertible for a very rustic lifestyle off the grid, free of cell service and other common utilities. However, as she puts it, “When you work your passion, there is no adjusting.”

Though the process of applying for the wildlife rescue center required a lot of research and perseverance, Carol finally received a very restrictive permit.

“It was a start! I had no experience in wildlife rescue, which sent me to reading textbooks and reaching out to specialists for assistance. I have taken all of the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) animal welfare husbandry classes and have been certified by them. I continue to read conservation books, animal behavior and welfare, and physiology.”

Today, she has a board of five people—a local project veterinarian, licensed wildlife specialist, project biologist, ethologist, and herself—who decide who can or cannot be released. There are also five full-time workers living at the center and usually one or two volunteers or interns. She emphasizes, “The volunteer program does not take jobs away from the local people, they either help lighten the load for the employee or help with animal welfare projects.”

Carol’s day begins at four in the morning with administrative work, and by 5:30 am she is in the clinic cleaning cages, preparing food for special diets, and providing animals with water and medications. Tours of the Sanctuary are given from nine to eleven, and afternoons are filled with animal welfare programs and observing animals ready for release. She explains, “A good time to release is upon sexual maturity. The drive to reproduce is very strong which helps their survival rate.” Work is finished by six in the evening, when the nocturnal animals have received their meals and all meds have been disbursed.

There are still many challenges that Carol has to face, such as government acceptance and funding. Tours cover overhead costs for about six months. The rest of the year, she depends on donations and sales of Sanctuary goods. “Funding is always a challenge. I have honed the skill of groveling.” Staffing is another issue. “Not many people want to live in such an isolated area, but I am very happy to have the staff I have, and I help them to continue their education and learn English.”

Upon asking her if she’d ever felt like giving up her work on the Osa Peninsula, she replied, “Never, but I can become terribly discouraged with short bouts of depression due to the losses that you incur. The majority of animals that arrive are in serious conditions from dehydration, severe injuries, or infants that have been orphaned—often beyond help—but we always put every effort forward to try to save them. We win and we lose.” I still remember standing in Carol’s kitchen as she earnestly fed an infant anteater wrapped in a blanket, whom she’d carried over to the Sanctuary on the boat two weeks prior in the pouring rain. In the end, the anteater was too weak to survive, but the amount of care she took to preserving its life is the reason why so many more are saved.

Carol has big plans for the future of the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary. They recently received permission to build a learning center, as many professors want to bring students there to teach short classes on ecology, wildlife rescue, animal welfare, and other related subjects. The proposed learning center would help to bring in additional funding. She adds, “I also plan to offer classes for students outside of Costa Rica. I have over 20 years of experience that I would like to share.”

I’ve never met a woman with more grit, dedication, and compassion than Carol Patrick. Last May, she turned 70 years old and started running 5K races, placing within her age category. She further exclaimed, “I stay mentally fit with all the research and reading that I do. Again, working your passion is very stimulating!” Purpose is hard won, but she moves through the jungle with the air of someone who has found theirs, reinforced by the wild eyes of the creatures who—on the day of their release—reclaim their own place in the nature of things.

For further information, inquiries on volunteering, or donations, please visit or email Carol Patrick at [email protected].

Thank you for your continued support…

OWS depends upon your donations to continue their life saving mission. It is kind and like minded people such as yourselves that help us with donations throughout the year.

This year has been especially difficult for us due to a very slow tourist season. Please consider helping us earlier this year by making your donation today.

Remember that your donations are tax-deductible and can be made using the PayPal icon below. Or, if you prefer, you can write a check made payable to: Osa Wildlife Sanctuary Foundation, Inc.and mail to P.O. Box 171, Greenwood, IN 46142-0171.

Thank you for visiting the Sanctuary and for your continued support. We look forward to you returning to visit us once again.

In friendship,


PS—Thank you Mekalyn Rose for such a lovely article and for all the kind words. I feel very honored to have worked with you as one of our volunteers! All the best of luck to you!

Sweetie during one of her more pensive moments…

Spider monkey resting her head on her arms

Photograph by Harry Collins—Thank you Harry!

©2019 Osa Wildlife Sanctuary Foundation, Inc | [email protected]

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