A family devoted to animal conservation in Costa Rica!
Written by: Sandytito
The history of the Wildlife Rescue Center la Marina is very old. It is so old that if we took into account each person that intervened in some way, we will have to go back more than a century.
A witness to these conservational efforts is the “bosquecito” (“little forest”), which today still remains steady and impressive thanks to the vision of Don Juan, the grandfather of the current director and administrator, Juan José Rojas Alfaro. Don Juan took great care in conserving this small patch of forest, contrary to what was practiced during those years. Today, the appreciative “bosquecito” is a witness of that great effort and courage. For many, this incident was the beginning of what we know today as the Wildlife Rescue Center La Marina.
The parents of Juan José continued this great work, with their main impetus in the protection of wild animals. The great love and affection that Doña Alba Alfaro dedicated at that time to the zoo was admirable. It is a place that has endured various phases of growth and has had different names. First, it originated as a private refuge for maltreated wild animals; later on, because of the high costs of maintenance, it opened to the public in order to receive help from visitors. At that time, it was known as “Zoológica La Marina” (La Marina Zoo). Finally, the current owners and administrators transformed the zoo into a ANIMAL RESCUE CENTER.
Today, under the direction of Juan José Rojas Alfaro and Martha Elieth Ramírez Carranza, the zoo has a project which teaches citizens to have more respect for wildlife. Through the Environmental Education program, the zoo passes on to its visitors, adults and children, conservationist concepts such as how to value, love, and protect the environment.
The project is recognized with the name “Wildlife Rescue Center La Marina”, a place where they protect ill-treated, wounded, orphaned, and injured wild animals. There are also animals that have lost their homes and the Rojas Ramírez family has taken the obligation of giving them one.
Many lives of wild animals have been saved in this Animal Rescue Center of Costa Rica. In addition, the center has prevented and denounced illegal deforestation and hunting. They have prevented the diminishing of important mature forests that function as biological agents. Aside from being returned to the forests, many wild animals have recovered from injuries or were born in the Animal Rescue Center in the Wildlife Breeding Program.
To achieve many of their objectives, the Rojas Ramírez family has made many sacrifices. Their children have not been an exception, and they already have many responsibilities especially with small orphaned animals that need a lot of care, attention, and love. Feeding these animals and continuing with the activities of a common child is almost impossible. José, Andreína, and Alba have managed to succeed, but have had to be deprived of many activities associated with their age to fulfill their responsibilities at the Rescue Center. The children prepare special diets for the animals, supervised by Juan José and Martha Elieth each day. The family feels rewarded for all of their effort when they see the animals recovered and healthy and also when they can see them return to the forests, free and in safe and protected wild territory.
Juan José and Martha Elieth deal with obtaining necessary funds every day so that the Rescue Center can continue offering its great help to our biodiversity and especially to our ill-treated wild animals. On the contrary, the help of state and private institutions have been almost nonexistent throughout all of these years and in some occasions have been an obstacle for the development of projects and activities that enable the Rescue Center to receive donations from people and national or foreign institutions. However, the owners have not given up and they have managed so that the Animal Rescue Center survives with the help of those that visit their installations and primarily with their own resources or from someone else’s activities within the project.
However, the development of all the “indispensable programs” and dealing with improving the conditions of the animals that reside temporarily or permanently in the Rescue Center have increased the costs. There are these concerns, in addition to the constant admission of animals from all corners of the country brought primarily by the officials of MINAE that are the victims of repossession, loss of habitat, and accidents. The latter especially has not been financed, which endangers the quality of attention that is offered to the wild inhabitants. It also endangers the growth of all the projects of the Rescue Center and could even result in an eventual closing if financial help is not received soon.
The Wildlife Rescue Center la Marina urgently needs help to continue giving this great service to our biodiversity and citizenship. All institutions and citizens that want to contribute to keeping open this refuge of wild plants and animals can contact the owners. The Rojas Ramírez family, officials, contributors, and our biodiversity would be grateful.
We invite you to meet and visit us in WildLife Rescue Center of San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica. Our doors are open to any suggestions and contributions.