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Kids Saving the Rainforest – February 2019

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By Kerri Conrad

Hello Quepolandia readers. Every month you hear from Karma Casey, the spokeskid at KSTR, an extraordinary young girl I am extremely proud to call my daughter. This month, Karma is out of the country visiting friends and family in the United States. She asked that I write to you this month in her place until she can get back to Costa Rica and continue doing her part to save the rainforest.

Karma and I moved to this beautiful country over a year ago to pursue her dreams of helping wildlife. Through volunteering with Kids Saving the Rainforest, Karma has had the extraordinary pleasure of being able to make her dreams come true. If you’d like to volunteer with KSTR, families with kids 12 and up are welcome to join the Day Volunteer program!

When we came to this country, Karma’s biggest dream of all was to one day grow up and become the Nursery Mom, the surrogate mother who cares for all the orphaned and injured baby wildlife at KSTR. While she has now also developed the aspiration to become a wildlife veterinarian, gaining the skills she needs to be the one who can really save an animal’s life in those critical rescue moments, the care of baby wildlife is still something that is near and dear to Karma’s heart.

Since she’s not here this month to tell you herself, I thought I’d give you a peek behind the curtain of the wildlife nursery here at KSTR, and introduce you to one extraordinary Mama who Karma really looks up to.

Dani Dion is the Nursery Manager of the KSTR wildlife nursery, although we affectionately call her the Nursery Mom. (A behind the camera kind of girl, Dani prefers to only show off photos of the babies in her care.) Dani has been volunteering with Kids Saving the Rainforest for 6 years, working extremely hard in all areas. She has spent time in the sanctuary, the veterinary clinic, the rescue center, and now has dedicated herself completely to the orphaned wildlife in the nursery.

The babies that end up in the nursery have usually either been abandoned by their mothers who sensed a problem with them, or their mothers were killed. All too often, these deaths are caused by human encroachment, whether it is the animal being electrocuted, struck by a car, attacked by a dog, etc. They are often weak, ill, and scared. The babies are often placed with plush stuffed animals to cling to, replicating the comfort they would have had from clinging to their wild mothers.

Dani works around the clock providing the babies with the care they need, while still respecting their wild nature and giving them their best start on their journey back into the jungle. The youngest ones need to be fed every two hours through the night, and Dani is on call to provide them whatever they need, whether it be milk, medicine, fluids, a tree climbing lesson, or acting as a cheerleader while a young sloth learns to poop. You will often see her with a bag of leaves slung over one shoulder as she collects wild foods for the young animals in her care.

The nursery is a restricted area kept far away from the stress other humans might place on the recovery of the babies, or their chance at release back into their rainforest homes. Only Dani, her nursery intern, and the vet visit this area, keeping the babies safe, calm, healthy, and wild. Since you can’t visit the nursery, I’ve brought some of the babies to you!

On that note, this Mama is signing out. Next month, my daughter Karma will be back in paradise and ready to teach you more about how to help save the rainforest and make the world a better place. In the meantime, if you find orphaned or injured wildlife in the Manuel Antonio/Quepos area, send a Whats App Message to the Kids Saving the Rainforest veterinary clinic staff at 88-ANIMAL and they can help!


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