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La Ceiba Natural Reserve

Release Wildlife StationNamed in reverence of a magnificent Ceiba tree (Ceiba pentandra) on the property that is thought to be over 500 years old, La Ceiba Natural Reserve consists of 490,000sqm (49 hectares) of primary forest that forms part of the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. This in turn forms part of the natural biological corridor running through Costa Rica and Panama and contains a hugely diverse range of flora and fauna.

Primary forest is classified as an area where there are no visible indications of human activity and therefore this mature and untouched property is the ideal place to locally release many of the animals that arrive at the JRC as it gives them the best chance of a clean and naturally safe environment with little chance of interaction with humans in the future.

After being rehabilitated of their injuries, or when baby orphans have grown to an age of independence, we can take animals from the JRC to the La Ceiba Release Station and either release them immediately, or temporarily house them deep in the property in one of our pre-release enclosures so that they can acclimatise to the smells and sounds of the forest at their own pace.

The diverse range of flora at La Ceiba also naturally provides approximately 90% of the food required by the animals prior to their release.

With our expert staff and volunteers living on site, we closely monitor the release process, (sometimes remotely using a small number of cameras) and ensure that potential releases are safe and have sufficient food until they are truly ready for independence. After release, we can monitor their transition using the remote cameras to check on their ability to find food as well as their general health.


How can we keep La Ceiba Natural Reserve natural?

La Ceiba Release StationWhen our founder Sandro first visited the area researching reptiles and amphibians, he was fortunate (for a herpetologist) to cross paths with a Bushmaster snake (Lachesis stenophrys). With a conservation status of ‘vulnerable’ it is the largest and one of the deadliest vipers in the New World. He took this rare sighting as a ‘divine sign’ that he should try to preserve the land where he encountered the Bushmaster from any future human development.

Sandro encouraged some environmentalist friends to visit the area and they were so impressed with the beauty of the local nature that they joined finances to buy another small piece of neighboring land.

This land, together with subsequent purchases, now consists of 12 hectares of La Ceiba Natural Reserve that is owned by the Jaguar Rescue Center, the rest of the land being leased from a different owner.


How can you help?

Our only chance of protecting this land from potentially being sold to property developers is to buy the leased areas ourselves. Your donations and the income generated from tours will enable us in the future to keep the beauty of La Ceiba Natural Reserve available for future generations of animals and humans to enjoy.

Guided night tours are available (with a reservation) and you can also wake up to the sounds of the forest waking up with you in one of the two jungle houses available for overnight stays.

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