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Published on July 30th, 2013 | by Erin Raub


NatureAir Lends a Hand to Save Costa Rican Wildlife

rehabilitated margay in Costa Rica

A recovered Yamila, on her way back to Tamarindo

Sometimes, life hands us the opportunity to make a difference – a real difference. And in the last few weeks, life has given us not one, but two of these opportunities: the honor of doing our part to save wildlife (and wild lives!).

In mid-June, Yamila, a young margay, was found in Tamarindo. The young wildcat had been run over by a car and left in very serious condition. She needed urgent medical attention, more than was offered in the small beachside city of Tamarindo. A similar situation occurred when a crested owl – we’ll call him Buho – was found seriously injured on the Osa Peninsula. He had been attacked by an animal, his wing nearly severed from his body, and needed specialized veterinary care. In both cases, that’s when NatureAir stepped in.

On June 20, we coordinated with staff from Tamarindo’s Capit´n Suizo and National University veterinarians Karla Carvajal and Alvaro Carvajal, to fly Yamila back to San José for urgent and life-saving surgery. Under the careful ministrations of Dr. Mauricio Jiménez, Yamila’s surgery went well. After a few days under observation, Dr. Jiménez deemed our young wildcat safe for transport. Yamila’s return flight to Tamarindo was made with much lighter hearts than her earlier journey. She was released back into the wild, to live a healthy life in her native habitat.

A crested owl (but not Buho) | Creative Commons © Dominic Sherony

A crested owl (but not Buho) | Creative Commons © Dominic Sherony

Just weeks later, NatureAir received a phone call from Puerto Jimenez, a town on the Osa Peninsula. During a hike through the rainforest, some tourists had found a crested owl, injured and defenseless. Though it is unclear what happened, local naturalists believe Buho had been attacked by another animal. Though he had escaped with his life, Buho’s wing was almost completely severed. NatureAir was again contacted, and we were happy to fly Buho back to San José’s Simón Bolívar Zoo for his operation. Surgery went well and Buho successfully recovered from his ordeal.

We are so thankful to have had these opportunities to collaborate with fellow wildlife aficionados to save injured animals. It is an honor and a privilege to live in a country with such biodiversity, and to be in a position where we can help. If you’d like to lend a hand, please email us or leave a comment. There are many organizations around Costa Rica that work to save, rehabilitate and release injured wildlife.

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