What to do if you find a wild animal which is sick, injured or in distress?

Whenever we find wild animals which are sick, injured, or in distress, each individual situation needs to be dealt with differently.

Here we offer some general recommendations on assisting wild animals in distress:

  • Injured animals must be treated urgently, and so there is a need for a swift response. They should not be left exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat to avoid their dehydration. They should not be given anything to eat, drink, or be given medicine or any type of bandage.
  • Bear in mind that wild animals can be dangerous despite their injuries. Due to their being frightened, in pain or in a state of extreme stress, they may attack. We must focus on getting a trained individual to assist in the safe capture of the animal, such as staff of MINAE (Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy) or the fire service.
  • In case of a need to handle the animal, it is essential to use tough leather gloves and protective glasses or goggles to protect oneself and avoid getting hurt. To handle and trap the animal we would recommend covering it with a towel or large item of clothing, and then swiftly placing it in a quiet place. Animals can be temporarily housed in a cardboard box with breathing holes, or alternatively placed in an animal transport cage or box, before being taken to a specialist animal rescue center.
  • In our community, there are two animal rescue centers, which can help us to treat animals correctly. Contact information is as follows
    • Kids Saving the Rainforest Rescue Centre. Address: 100m east from Maxi Palí (headed towardsDominical, turn to the left at the entrance to Finca Anita, and continue for 4km. You can follow the signs for the Blue Banyan Inn (BBI). On arrival ask for Sam. You can also call 2777-1548 or take the animal to the Hotel Mono Azul.
    • Centro de Rescate Niños Salvando el Bosque. Dirección: del Maxi Pali 100 al este (dirección hacia dominical), doblar a la izquierda en la entrada a Finca Anita y seguir 4km. Se pueden seguir los rótulos para el Blue Banyan Inn (BBI). Al llegar preguntar por Sam. También puede llamar al  2777-1548 o llevar al Hotel Mono Azul.

Centro de Rescate Coopesilencio. Dirección:

  • Bear in mind you should also ring the Costa Rican environmental authorities, such as MINAE, who will also be able to help with transporting the animal. In this region, two MINAE offices can help us, and can be contacted at:
    • Oficina Regional Aguirre Parrita. Address: Zona Americana Quepos.  Teléfono: 2777-0644 y 2777-5351
    • Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio. Address: Manuel Antonio, Quepos.  Teléfono: 2777-5185
  • If you find a wild animal using the electricity power lines to move around, please do NOT try to help it. This would become a high risk and extremely dangerous situation where both the safety and well being of the animal and of the people who try to help it are threatened. Call the ICE Regional Office who can help with trained, expert staff:

Call 2777-0126.

(ICE: Instituto Costariccense de Electricidad, Costa Rican Electricity Institute)

  • If the animal is suffering from an electric shock, do NOT touch it or try to come into direct contact with it in any way.
  • In communications with the emergency authorities, it is important to give clear, key information such as the exact address and location of the emergency, a description of the wild animal which is injured or to be rescued, as well as your personal contact details (the details of the person calling), or of a local person involved and/or supporting you. This information will help the authorities to act quickly and efficiently.
  • If you find a baby or juvenile wild animal, which appears to have been abandoned, it is essential to be very patient and take great care: parents never abandon their young. Often, what happens is that parents go out searching for food for their offspring, and leave them alone and hidden in a specific place. They must be left there, but can be monitored at regular intervals to check whether they really do need help. If you are sure that an animal has been abandoned, the recommendations provided above should be followed.
  • Please recognize that the overriding aim of the Government Authorities is to release the animal into its natural habitat, preferably in the exact same location it was rescued from, so that it can go back to living in its original environment. For this reason, please don’t forget to give the exact address and location where it was found, on arrival at the Animal Rescue Center, or when handing the animal over to the Authorities.

We hope this advice will help you.

TCA, Titi Conservation Alliance

KSRF, Kids Saving the Rainforest


ICE Costa Rican National Electricity Institutelogo-ice

MINAE, Ministry of Environment and Energy, Costa RicaMINAE

If you are interested in finding out more about the work of the Titi Conservation Alliance, conservation of wild endangered species in Costa Rica and how you can help, you can read more at: www.monotiti.org, or contact us with any queries at: info@monotiti.org