How the Jaguar Rescue Center began
Italian herpetologist, Sandro Alviani had a long career in Europe and the rest of the World researching reptiles and amphibians. Among other achievements, he led groundbreaking research into the breeding and conservation of amphibians and was instrumental in getting CITES recognition of some of the World’s most endangered frogs.
In 1997, after 10 years of visiting Costa Rica as part of his research, Sandro decided to come and live in his own piece of paradise on the southern Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and enjoy a relaxed life of riding his horse on the beach while continuing to pursue his interests in reptiles and amphibians.
Four years later, Encar Garcia, a Catalonian primatologist, came to Puerto Viejo on holiday. She met Sandro and they fell in love, only later discovering that they had both worked for several years at Barcelona Zoo at the same time, but had never met.
A lifelong ambition of Encar’s was to help animals by way of a rescue centre, so when shortly after moving to Costa Rica in 2005, some local people heard of the two animal experts who had recently moved to the area and started to bring them injured animals in the hope that they could help save them, it seemed like fate was catching up with her.
As time went by, more and more animals were brought to Sandro and Encar who soon found that caring for these animals was a 24 hour responsibility, often enduring sleepless nights when babies required regular night-time feedings, and therefore invited other animal lovers to come and help tend to those in need.
Enclosures were built in their garden and room by room, their house was given up to the needs of an animal rescue centre.
As more and more animals arrived, Sandro and Encar were able to buy adjoining pieces of land to increase the space available for more enclosures and other facilities.
The Jaguar Rescue Centre now covers an area of approximately 22,000 square meters and is capable of housing up to around 160 animals on a temporary basis although modifications are constantly being made to accommodate the individual needs of new arrivals.
Despite the police, fire brigade, coast guard and government agencies all regularly bringing injured, orphaned and confiscated animals to the JRC for our help, we do not receive any government funding. We rely on the donations made through our web site and generated by guided tours of the JRC and La Ceiba Natural Reserve as well as occasional donations of medical supplies and goats’ milk.