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Kids Saving the Rainforest – December 2018

KSTR logoBuddy the slothby Karma Casey

Hello Quepolandia readers! Its Karma again, the spokes-kid for Kids Saving the Rainforest! Happy holidays from me and all the animals at KSTR! This time of year is a great time for getting together with our loved ones, and appreciating the things we have. It is also a time for reaching out and showing others how much we care about them. I love giving gifts to my friends and family!

Here at the Kids Saving the Rainforest wildlife sanctuary, home to more than 50 animals we like to show the residents of the sanctuary how much we care about them. We will be making special treats and preparing a big holiday feast with fun, interactive food in our animal kitchen!

Last year, I helped make popcorn and cranberry garlands for the parrots, and stuffed hollowed out coconuts full of healthy, nutritious goodies for some kinkajous and white-faced capuchin monkeys! Our sanctuary staff handed out all the yummy treats, and we all got to watch the animals have a great time enjoying their holiday feast! I can’t wait to do it again this year.

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Kids Saving the Rainforest – November 2018

KSTR logoTiti monkey using a bridgeby Karma Casey

Hello again Quepolandia readers! I’m Karma, the spokes-kid for Kids Saving the Rainforest. This month I’m going to tell you a little bit about our wildlife bridges. In this area, many animals are sadly electrocuted or hit by cars. To help give these animals a safe way to move around this rainforest home we share with them, Kids Saving the Rainforest works together with ICE, the electric company of Costa Rica, to put up wildlife bridges. These bridges are ropes going over the roads, giving many animals such as monkeys and sloths a safe way to cross the road without going on the dangerous power lines.

We now have put up well over 100 wildlife bridges in the Manuel Antonio and Quepos area! We originally called them monkey bridges and put them up for the very special Grey Crowned Squirrel Monkeys, a species that only lives in this area. Through camera traps, we have now learned many types of animals are able to use our bridges, meaning we are helping all sorts of wildlife with this project, and not just monkeys! Sometimes it is sloths on the bottom and monkeys on the top like a two-lane highway!

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Pura Vida From a Day-Volunteer

KSTR logoBy Maddie Abene

KinkajouSoothing sounds, beautiful views, diverse wildlife, and only a week to take it all in? Costa Rica is unlike any place I’ve ever been. Upon my arrival, my mind was racing with ideas of how I was going to get the very most out of my trip. As an Environmental Studies Major at University of California Santa Cruz, I’m typically curious about different ecosystems and eager to interact with wildlife wherever I am in the world. The two-hour drive from San Jose Airport gave me plenty of time to take in the scenery of the mountainous jungle and ask my driver Oscar any and all questions I had about Costa Rica. I learned everything from the economic/environmental effects of Costa Rica’s biggest industry (Palm Oil) to what species of tree leaves I should use to make henna-like face paint (Teak).

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Karma Saving the Rainforest – August 2018

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Dead Hawksbill turtle

Dead Hawksbill turtle. Photo Jhonny Lopez

Hi again Quepolandia readers! It’s Karma, the spokeskid from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

This month I have a very important message to share with you, and that is about the importance of boating safety and protecting the very special marine animals that share this beautiful place in the world with all of us.

I learned this lesson from a graceful animal called the sea turtle! Let me tell you how it happened. Recently, my amazing mama and I were walking on the beach when we came across two lifeguards carrying something large out of the water. We went over to see what it was, and we realized it was a large Hawksbill sea turtle!

There were three big gashes cut into the shell. We hoped at first that we could call one of the groups in the area that work with sea turtles to help rescue it. Unfortunately, this poor turtle was already dead and it was too late to help her. We asked one of the lifeguards named Jhonny Lopez, what had happened.

Jhonny teaches surfing lessons, and he also volunteers his time as a lifeguard helping to keep everyone safe on the beach. He explained to us that the turtle had been sliced by the propeller of a boat and had washed up on shore. Some people were not showing any respect to the body, bothering it a lot, and he and the other lifeguard had moved it to safety while the turtle was reported to MINAE, the government agency who helps wildlife. My mama had their number in her phone, so she sent a message right away!

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Karma Saving the Rainforest

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Vet examining Dona

Hello again Quepolandia readers. Happy 20th birthday to this amazing magazine, which is twice as old as me! Thanks for reading!

This is Karma Casey, the spokes-kid from Kids Saving the Rainforest. For those of you who don’t know who we are, KSTR is a wildlife rescue and sanctuary outside of Quepos, Costa Rica. We help two-toed and three-toed sloths, monkeys, coatimundis, kinkajous, porcupines, parrots, and more! We also plant trees, put up wildlife bridges, educate the public, and do lots of other things to help save the rainforest. If you find sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife, contact our veterinary staff via What’sApp at 88-ANIMAL (506-8826-4625) and we can help!

This month’s article is about probably one of your favorite animals: A sloth!

I have interviewed some of the lucky, hard-working members of our veterinary clinic team to tell you all about one super special and amazing two-toed sloth named Senor Dona.

Dona is an adult male two- toed sloth who was found over an hour away towards Jaco. Kids Saving the Rainforest was alerted by our friends at MINAE and SINAC (two government agencies that work hard to protect Costa Rica’s environment and wildlife) that a sloth had been hit by a car. The wildlife professionals at KSTR quickly came to the rescue, and Senor Dona was rushed to our veterinary clinic.

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Please do not feed or interact with the wildlife…it is the law!

Monkey eating a bananaDid you know that Costa Rica has a great wealth of nature, with about 5% of the species worldwide concentrated in our small country? We have over 8,500 species of plants, 220 species of reptiles, 160 species of amphibians, 205 species of mammals, and 850 species birds. However, deforestation, poaching, the use of pesticides, illegal pet trade, and improper feeding have caused a decline in populations of many species to levels that threaten their survival.

You might find feeding and interacting with the wild animals to be a thrilling experience, but you are not doing the them a favor. In fact, you are actually harming them, and it is against the law (Conservation of Wildlife Act No. 7317 according to Decree No. 32633- MINAE). The only exception is a dire emergency where a species would perish without aid or food.

Here’s why you should not feed our wildlife:

  • Wildlife are highly susceptible to diseases from human hands. They can die from bacteria transferred off your hand that has no ill effect on you. They can pass diseases to you as well.
  • Migration to human-populated areas to be fed increases the risk of dog attacks, road accidents, and electrocution.
  • Irregular feeding leads to an aggressive behavior toward humans and other species and creates a dangerous dependency on humans that diminishes the wildlife survival abilities.
  • Contrary to the stereotype, bananas are not the preferred food of monkeys in the wild, nor other wildlife in the area. Tropical fruits, seeds, eggs, and insects found in the wild are what nature intended. Bananas, especially those containing pesticides, can upset their delicate digestive systems and cause serious dental problems that can lead to eventual death.
  • Pregnant females who are fed nothing but bananas during their pregnancy will not give birth to healthy infants. The babies will be malnourished, or even die before birth.
  • Feeding interferes with their natural habits and upsets the balance of their lifestyle.
  • Contact with humans facilitates poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife.
  • Wildlife needs to travel long distances each day to be in good physical condition. If they know that food is available in a particular location, they will not leave that area.

NewbieIn addition, pursuing or getting close to animals for pictures or touching is very stressful to the animal. Sloths may look like they are always smiling, but close human contact causes them to become agitated, so keep your distance!

The wildlife does not realize any of this. Now YOU do, so you are no longer naïve to the harm caused by feeding and interaction. Don’t facilitate the extinction of nature’s most amazing creatures for your own pleasure or financial gain.

For questions or to report violations, please email Kids Saving the Rainforest: jennifer@kstr.org .


DO NOT Feed the Wildlife!

KSTR logoBy Karma CaseyMonkey eating a banana

Hello again Quepolandia readers! Its Karma, the spokes-kid for Kids Saving The Rainforest. Today, we are going to be talking a little bit about feeding wildlife, and how it affects them. You might think feeding wildlife is harmless fun, but you are actually hurting the animals and putting them in danger. Here are ten reasons not to feed wildlife you may not have thought of.

  1. Monkeys are very susceptible to diseases on human hands. They can even die from the bacteria transferred off your hand that has no effect on you. We can also get diseases from them.
  2. Migration to human-populated areas increases the risk of dog attacks, electrocutions, and being hit by cars.
  3. Abnormal feeding leads to aggressive behavior.
  4. Contrary to the stereotype, bananas are terrible for monkeys! Bananas have a lot of sugar in them . The sugar leads to aggression, sugar addiction, and sometimes their teeth will even rot out!
  5. Feeding wildlife creates a dangerous dependency on humans. That diminishes the animal’s survival abilities. Their whole lives are based around finding food in the wild, and feeding them changes their habits of looking for wild foods such as seeds, insects, small lizards, and fruits growing in trees.
  6. Contact with humans facilitates poaching and the pet trade.
  7. Pregnant monkeys who are fed bananas, will not give birth to healthy babies. The babies will be malnourished, or die before birth.
  8. Monkeys need to travel an average of 17 kilometers each day to be in good physical condition. Once people start feeding them, they stop traveling for their natural foraging.
  9. Not only do we pass disease on to wildlife, but they can pass diseases to us as well.
  10. The Law of the Wildlife says that it is prohibited to feed wild animals unless they are going to die. This is the rainforest. There is plenty of food everywhere, and animals don’t need our help to get it!

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Karma Saving the Rainforest – April 2018

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Hello Quepolandia readers! It’s Karma, the KSTR spokeskid again! This month I am going to be telling you about two memorable wildlife releases, and how to help animals like them.

Just recently, Kids Saving The Rainforest released two Titi monkeys. Titi’s are also known as Grey Crowned Squirrel Monkeys. These monkeys live in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area, and nowhere else in the world! We are very lucky to have them. This is the animal species we save the most of at Kids Saving the Rainforest, along with sloths, anteaters, parrots, and more!

Elise with broken legOne of the Titi monkeys that were released was an adult female. We called her Elise. Once the KSTR veterinary team got the monkey to the clinic, they found out she had been electrocuted. She had really bad burns on her tail and her right leg, and damage to her head and brain.

They found out something else, too: she was lactating! Lactating means that she was producing milk! If she was producing milk, that means she had a little baby in the wild! I can’t even imagine being away from my baby!

While she was in the clinic, the KSTR staff & interns tried to make her as comfortable as possible, and helped her become well again. She lost her Achilles Tendon, and half of her tail was amputated. When Elise was ready for release, she was brought to the jungle where different troops were seen. She was released with high hopes that she would be reunited with her beloved baby.

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Karma Saving the Rainforest

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Hello again! This is Karma from Kids Saving The Rainforest. This month I am going to talk a little bit about our beautiful oceans! Here at KSTR, we mostly spend our time rescuing local wildlife and planting trees, but we care about the ocean too! Recently, some of our volunteers pitched in helping a beach cleanup with another great local group, Operation Rich Coast. They organize lots of beach cleanups in lots of different areas, so if you would like to help them out on their next beach clean-up follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/operationrichcoast.

I am a very lucky person because I get to go to the Manuel Antonio beach almost every day! One day I was walking, and I found a piece of coral on the ground. It was white, and it still had a little bit of purple on it. I learned at my school, Life Project Education, that white coral is dead coral. I wondered, was this piece of coral being killed by something that humans had done?
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Karma Saving the Rainforest – February 2018

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Hi! This is Karma, from Kids Saving The Rainforest again! Last month, I talked to you about how you can help collect leaves for hungry sloths and anteaters in our rescue center. Our friends at Hostel Plinio have offered to be a drop-off spot for all those yummy leaves you collect for us. Thanks guys! If you missed last month’s LEAF-let, you can contact my mom at volunteer@kstr.org to learn more.

Jeff Corwin and slothThis month, I am going to tell you about a very special visitor who came to Kids Saving the Rainforest. Jeff Corwin! Jeff is a biologist and conservationist who travels all over the world filming with wildlife! He visited us with his film crew for his show on ABC, called Ocean Treks with Jeff Corwin.

While filming, Jeff focused on our wildlife rescue and relief work. He even met a very special animal from our nursery, Peanut the anteater! Jeff and his crew arrived on a very exciting day! They went with our veterinarian Dr. Sofia Bernal to release a Grey Crowned Squirrel Monkey, Cocorita.

Jeff Corwin and PeanutCoco came into Kids Saving the Rainforest showing possible signs of neurological damage. Our clinic staff worked hard to nurse Coco back to health. Jeff’s crew looked on as Coco had her final check, and was released back with her troop! Another animal back in the wild where they belong!

We invite you to come visit Kids Saving the Rainforest, too! We give tours at 9 am every day except for Tuesday. You might even see me there! Until next month, Quepolandia readers. Have a wonderful February!


Karma Saving the Rainforest – January 2018

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Happy New Year from Karma, a spokeskid at Kids Saving the Rainforest! With the first issue of the year, I wanted to reach out to our wonderful community of Manuel Antonio and Quepos and see how we can all get involved helping out Costa Rica’s wildlife!

To learn about one great way to help Kids Saving the Rainforest, check out the LEAF-let we are including in this issue! You can help collect leaves for the hungry sloths, anteaters, monkeys, and other wildlife in our care! These animals need lots of fresh leaves to help give them a more natural diet. The animals in our nursery and rescue center need to learn the foods they will eat in the wild once they are released. You can help!

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Karma Saving the Rainforest

KSTR logoBy Karma Casey

Greetings! Karma Casey here, a spokes-kid for Kids Saving the Rainforest! You may remember me from my interview with Lexi Bacca a couple of issues ago. I moved to Costa Rica to help KSTR, and I’m 9 years old, just like Janine & Aislin when they started our organization way back in 1999.

Baby sloth on stuffed toyIt’s that time of year again: The holidays! If you are looking for a unique gift that makes a difference, you might consider sponsoring a sloth at Kids Saving The Rainforest! For a donation of at least $30, you will get a plush sloth, a photo and a story of a real live sloth saved by KSTR, a certificate, and fun facts about sloths!

To learn more, visit sponsorasloth.wordpress.com.

Although plush sloths are good to snuggle and hold, real sloths are not! They will become so stressed out they may even die. Also, it is very illegal to hold or touch wild animals. When an orphaned baby sloth comes into Kids Saving The Rainforest, they are given a plush animal to hold onto very much like the one you will receive. They cling to it like they would their mother.
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The Story of the Wildlife Bridges

KSTR logoBy Jennifer Rice PhD, President of Kids Saving the Rainforest

How did wildlife bridges come to Costa Rica you might ask? We at Kids Saving The Rainforest have the story for you.

Squirrel (Titi) Monkey using our bridge in 2005

Squirrel (Titi) Monkey using our bridge in 2005

In the year 2000, a group called Amigos Del Monos came to Kids Saving the Rainforest (KSTR) and told us that they could not get ICE, (the Electric Company), to help them put up monkey bridges. They felt that KSTR could get their attention.

Luckily, we could do so and the KSTR Wildlife Bridge Program was started. In the beginning, KSTR had a team to put up the bridges as you can see in a picture of Lenin putting up a bridge in 2002.

Much later ICE started working hand in hand with KSTR. Since then KSTR gives presentations to ICE’s environmental workers from around the country about the bridges. We also taught their workers how to save wildlife up on the electrical wires.

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KSTR – September/October 2017

KSTR logoBy Lexi Baca

Hello, and welcome to your monthly article from me, your faithful KSTR spokeskid. This month I have some good news and some bad news!

A few days ago, I had a chance to interview a 9-year-old girl named Karma, who moved here with her mom specifically for KSTR. Karma’s mom, Kerri, is the new Volunteer Coordinator for the organization. I was able to ask Karma a few questions about herself and why she moved here, and what she intends to do with KSTR.

Karma and Lexi

Karma & Lexi

And, as we all know, I’m getting old. (Back pains and everything!). I’m also going to be moving soon which means, unfortunately, I will have to step-down as spokeskid for KSTR. Now now, try and hold back your tears. You won’t be left spokeskid-less! Karma is going to take over and honestly, she’ll probably do a better job than I have!

Still, I’m going to miss working as spokeskid. It’s been a long ride, but a fun one nonetheless. I enjoyed writing articles, doing radio shows, visiting the sanctuary, educating kids around the world, and everything else that was part of my job! People would even recognize my name from the articles on occasion. But I have no doubt everything will be in good hands once I leave.

Now, without further-a-do, here are a few of the questions I asked Karma and the answers she gave me!

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KSTR – August 2017

KSTR logo

By Lexi Baca

Hello my dear readers! I am back, yet again, with another article. Last month, I spent a few weeks traveling around Central America, visiting Guatemala (More like Guatebueno!), Belize, and Honduras. While each place was beautiful in its own way, I did feel a longing for a comfort that I had allowed myself to be used to: clean water! As shocking as it is, in many places there is not a fresh and constant supply of water that you can drink…even in places with lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and ocean all around. We had to drink only out of water bottles and spend much more money than we usually would on water…and don’t get me started on the plastic waste. And that was only for a few weeks! So, this is your reminder about how lucky we are in Costa Rica, that clean water mustn’t be taken for granted!

My sister and me under a 400 year old ceiba tree in Tikal, Guatemala

My sister and me under a
400 year old ceiba tree in
Tikal, Guatemala

And while we’re talking about things that we need every day in life that we shouldn’t take for granted, let’s talk about air! Or what gives us the clean and fresh air we breathe, trees! It’s rainy season in the rainforest, and this time of year is great for KSTR because it’s when we get to plant trees. This year, we have a new challenge: reforesting 94,000 trees! KSTR was donated 117 hectares to reforest a teak farm. So far this year, we have planted 2,950 trees (not including our July effort), and we will keep going until the rainy season stops. If you have saplings to donate or can provide transport so that we can plant, email me at spokeskid@kstr.org for more information. If you can’t make it to one of our plantings and would like to plant trees yourselves, below are some great tips!

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