In Costa Rica, wildlife rescue centers care for thousands of animals every year. Legislators are considering an animal welfare bill that would impose up to six years of jail time on abusers of domestic animals, livestock, or wildlife. But the legislation has stalled, according to local reports.
In 2013, Costa Rica’s environment ministry attempted to close the country’s two public zoos after reports of poor conditions afflicting their animal inhabitants. Although the plan was blocked in court in 2014, the government stated that it intends to appeal the ruling.
If successful in shuttering the zoos, officials intend to transfer the animals to wildlife rehabilitation centers for care and return to the wild, if possible.
Abuse of wildlife is reportedly a rampant problem in Costa Rica and other parts of Latin America. But there are also centers devoted to aiding injured animals, and the country’s wildlife officials are working with Humane Society International to change people’s attitudes.
Here are images of several wild animals that encountered human brutality but are now being cared for at a wildlife sanctuary.
Grecia, a Wounded Toucan
Grecia, a chestnut mandibled toucan named after the forest he once lived in, is now in captivity for life and the poster bird for efforts to stem animal abuse in Costa Rica.
The toucan lost half his upper beak late last year—by some reports, when a group of teenagers struck him with a stick or a bat.
Rescate Animal ZooAve, a wildlife park and rehabilitation center in Costa Rica, returns rehabilitiated wild animals to freedom when possible, according to the organization’s website. But this red-tailed hawk will live in captivity for the rest of its life owing to its amputated wing.
Baby Howler Monkey
A veterinarian at Rescate Animal ZooAve is shown feeding a rescued baby howler monkey on May 20. The organization states online that it has reared and released more than 150 orphaned howler monkeys since 1990.
Injured Pygmy Owl
This rescued ferruginous pygmy owl was being cared for at Rescate Animal ZooAve on May 20.
According to local press, a bill that would impose higher fines and jail time on convicted animal abusers has stalled in the Costa Rican Congress.
A wounded sloth is fed by a veterinarian at Rescate Animal ZooAve on May 20.
One-Eyed Blue Peacock
This abused blue peacock now resides at Rescate Animal ZooAve. According to its website, the rescue center admitted more than 2,800 injured wild animals in 2013.
A veterinarian aids a rescued turtle at Rescate Animal ZooAve on May 20.
One-Eyed Tiger Heron
This fasciated tiger heron lost an eye to abusers and is now at the Rescate Animal ZooAve.
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