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KSTR – May/June 2022

DaniHi Quepolandia – belated happy easter! It’s Dani, your spokeskid 🙂

Today I want to tell you about a new owl we received, named “Chill.” I’m also going to tell you about an animal in our sanctuary called Grandma Bella! And lastly, I want to give you an update about the nursery, and our intern position!

Chill is a Ferruginous pygmy owl. He’s a child (juvenile), and he fell out of his nest. Luckily he isn’t hurt but he can’t fly yet because he’s too young—so we’ll keep him safe until he can be released soon. Chill is tiny. This species of owl usually only grows to be 15 cm tall! He’s able to eat by himself, but we feed him twice a day to make sure he gets enough food. There’s a Pygmy owl that hangs out on the road to our house in Manuel Antonio, and at night, he flies away right as the car gets close to him in the headlights—and every time he does, it makes my heart jump! I’m glad that Chill isn’t hurt, and I’m happy to see that KSTR is there to keep him safe—and make sure he doesn’t get himself into trouble ;-)—until he’s big enough to be responsible for himself and released to the wild!

Next up is Bella, who I call “Grandma Bella”, because she’s pretty old! Bella is a Marmoset, and she’s been living in the sanctuary for a long time. Recently, we’ve made some new adjustments to her enclosure, so she can feel happy and safe. Now that she’s older, she can’t jump from branch to branch like she used to, so we added some bridges to connect the branches together! On “cold” days in Costa Rica (I know, crazy!) we give her a hot water bottle to lay on, so she can raise her body temperature without having to move around a lot. When I first started volunteering at KSTR, the second time I was there, I was going into her enclosure to give her diced food—she jumped on my shoulder! I tried to get her off, but she clearly wanted to hang out and rode long with me while I fed the parrots! Eventually, she got tired of the Dani Ride, so I took her back to her cage 🙂

UPDATE ON THE NURSERY! We’re almost done building, and it’s time to start looking for interns! We’re now accepting applications to help the Nursery Mom with care for the babies. Check out our website if you want more information kstr.org.

KSTR – April 2022

KSTR LogoDaniHi Guys, it’s Dani, your spokeskid for KSTR!

Today, I am excited to share 3 stories about animals at the sanctuary with you—1 about an animal who is there for good but very happy and has a girlfriend, one about an animal fighting hard to get back out into the wild, and one very inspiring story about a friend of MINE who helped save an injured animal at KSTR.

Darwin is a spider monkey who was rescued from someone who was keeping him as a pet, and introduced him to people a lot. Darwin was aggressive towards people, and the pet owner asked KSTR to take him. Darwin continues to be aggressive towards people—but he has settled in very nicely at KSTR, and even has a roommate—or as I like to call her, a Girl friend (named Nina—who is also a spider monkey).

Next is a Capuchin Monkey named Arfonzito, who was electrocuted and had damage to his tail. After trying to save his tail, the vets at KSTR had to amputate his tail to save his life. He’s currently recovering at KSTR, and he is trying hard to learn how to live (and move) without his tail, so that he can go back to nature, where he belongs!

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KSTR – March 2022

KSTR LogoDaniKids Saving the Rainforest wishes Dani a very Happy Belated Birthday! (Sorry, we are on sloth time!). We can hardly believe Dani just turned 9 years old and has been our Spokes kid for over a year!

Hi Everyone, it’s Dani, your spokes kid for KSTR, Kids Saving the Rainforest!

Today I am so excited to make a big announcement—we’re building a new Nursery at KSTR, to rehabilitate baby animals! I thought that since it’s spring, which is when most babies are born in nature, it was a good time to talk about our new Nursery!

The new Nursery will have 2 stories. The bottom story will be for the “Nursery Mom” to stay comfortably and take care of the animals, and the upper level will be for the babies. If you’re wondering what the “nursery mom” is—all babies we have were abandoned, or don’t have moms, so they need someone to take care of them. That’s where the nursery mom comes in. She takes care of the babies like a child. She feeds them and makes sure their cage is clean and they are taken care of. We usually have 2 nursery moms, who trade shifts every 12 hours because the babies need to be fed as often as every 2 hours—this is an extremely demanding job!

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KSTR – February 2022

KSTR LogoDaniHi, This is Dani – your spokeskid for Kids Saving the Rainforest—or KSTR! 

First of all, I want to wish a very Happy 23rd Anniversary to KSTR! It was started in February 1999, by two 9 year old’s, Janine and Aislin, and Janine’s mom Jennifer.

Next, I want to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today I am going to tell you about why the rainforest is so important for our planet, and our animals—and not JUST the ones in the rainforest. In addition to all the beauty that exists, and animals that live in the rainforest, the rainforest also does a lot to help our environment stay healthy and clean.  

The rainforest has many big trees and lots of plants that take in tons of Carbon Dioxide and put out clean air. If the earth’s atmosphere contains too much Carbon Dioxide, it will raise the temperature of the earth by changing our greenhouse gasses, and will harm animals that rely on the temperature, like Polar Bears, Penguins, and other animals that live in cold environments.

I’ve talked about this before, how we can limit our carbon footprint—like eating less meat/dairy, walking, biking, or skateboarding instead of driving, and not using so much energy by turning off lights when you’re not using them. The rainforests we have now absorb about 50% of the Carbon Dioxide we make—and it’s important that we keep the rainforest trees and plants healthy so they can help save the environment and the temperature on earth stay great for all its inhabitants!

Did you know that KSTR has planted over 17,400 trees over the past 22 years? Pretty amazing, right?

Here is a picture of 2 of the Co-founders Janine and her mom, Jennifer, planting a tree. It was taken 17 years ago!
At KSTR, we work hard to keep all the trees and to build our sanctuary around them—for example, we use natural fallen wood for the enclosures we build and the enrichments we put inside them! We’d love to see you at the sanctuary for a tour and we can tell you all about what we’re doing to save the rainforest.

Check us out at kstr.org.

KSTR – January 2022

KSTR LogoDaniHi Everyone—Dani Here!
We wish you all a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy New Year in Beautiful Costa Rica.

Today I want to tell you about a few of the injured animals at our sanctuary, and what we need to do to prepare them to go back to the wild. The two animals I want to tell you about are Patricia, an injured Heron, and Teo, an injured Titi Squirrel Monkey.

Patricia is a Heron who was found orphaned, with an injured leg. She had to be immobilized, and her leg had to be bandaged so that it could heal. Because she was immobilized, she needs to learn how to hunt for her own food before she can be released.  

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KSTR December 2021

KSTR LogoDaniHi Everyone, it’s Dani, your spokeskid for KSTR!

Happy Holidays!

The holiday period is a busy time here in Manuel Antonio for tourists and locals alike. So I wanted to tell you about all the interactions we do with the animals during this period.  

In my experience working with the animals in the winter, we do lots of fun and exciting activities with the animals. We decorate the outside of their cages (so the animals can experience Feliz Navidad, from a distance 🙂 ) And we give them presents!  

During Christmas time every year we make “presents” for the animals, with their food inside! Then, the animals get to “open” the presents, and eat their food and treats. We try to give them their favorite foods or snacks in these presents. For example, we give the Capuchin monkeys spiders in their boxes (because that’s their favorite snack!). The Marmosets get peanuts, and the Coatimundi love watermelon, so we give them lots of extra watermelon in their treat box! Last year, kids in Quepos decorated the presents for the animals! We made sure to use kid-safe non-toxic markers to keep the animals safe.

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Climate Change and the Rainforest

KSTR LogoDaniHi Everyone, my name is Dani, and I am your spokeskid for Kids Saving the Rainforest! If you didn’t know, Kids Saving the Rainforest is a refuge in Manuel Antonio, where sick or injured animals are taken to help get them healthy and back in the wild. Today I want to talk about why it’s important for kids to stop climate change to save the animals in the rainforest, and some things you can personally do to help.

Climate change is destroying the habitats of the amazing animals who live in the rainforest, like Sloths, Monkeys, Reptiles, Cotamundi, and so much more. Also, in colder parts of the world like the Arctic, ice and snow is melting, and some animals who need the snow, like penguins, polar bears, and sea lions, who need the cold to survive are dying. Those animals have families, and just like us, they just have one chance at life, and we want to help them, so they have good long lives. 

Janine with treeSome ways that you, personally, can help stop climate change are to eat less meat, and dairy—those food items cause more Methane gas, which speeds up climate change. Also, you can use less energy like when you’re not using your lights, turn them off! When you can walk, bike, or skateboard somewhere instead of driving, that helps too.  

If you’re a grownup reading this, try to explain this to the kids or young people in your life, so they can help, and understand why it’s important to stop climate change. If you’re a kid reading this then you have a long life to go, and it’s important to stop climate change because we only have this one chance!

Climate change is a very important issue in the world today, and we need to change. Thank you for reading!

KSTR – July/August 2021

KSTR LogoDaniHola Quepolandia Readers! It’s Dani, the spokeskid for KSTR. This month, I want to talk about how KTSR helps animals by preventing accidents.

Some of the animals came to KTSR because they got hurt in traffic. My mom told me a story about the first time I came to Costa Rica when I was 9 months old. Here is a picture of me on Manuel Antonio Beach from that trip—now I know why I love Costa Rica so much! She said that we watched a big family of squirrel monkeys run across the street and almost get hit by a car. That’s how my family first learned about KSTR.  

Titi monkeys crossing bridgeHave you ever seen those thick blue ropes hanging in the trees above the roads? Kids Saving the Rainforest builds wildlife bridges with ICE that cross above the roads in Manuel Antonio. That way, the animals don’t have to risk running across the street and getting hit. So, after seeing that close call with the monkey family on the main road to the beach, my parents donated a wildlife bridge in Valle Pura Vida (where the old KSTR wildlife rescue center used to be!) My mom says it is the best souvenir she has ever got.

Dani and her momThe bridges are also great for another reason. Have you ever seen the monkeys run on the power lines? Well, that can also be very dangerous for them, as they can get shocked by high-voltage wires. If you ever see a loose wire- or hear it crackling when it rains, please call ICE so they can fix it! The KSTR blue ropes also help keep our little friends from being electrocuted.

If you want to sponsor building a wildlife bridge of your own, please email jennifer@kstr.org or go to donate at kstr.org. We would love to hear from you. On my last trip to Costa Rica a few months ago, we saw a Howler Monkey (my favorite monkey—they are crazy and loud, and I love their beautiful faces!) on a wildlife bridge in Valle Pura Vida. It is such a wonderful thing to see monkeys safe up in the sky and trees.

Kids Saving The Rainforest Wildlife Sanctuary Diet

KSTR LogoDaniFor this Quepolandia issue, our KSTR President, Jennifer, met with KSTR Spokeskid, Dani, and her parents in San Francisco, where they all live part time, to discuss Dani’s articles. Dani already had about 10 articles in her head, all of which her dad will type up while Dani dictates. Dani is all of 7 years old!

Take it away Dani!

Hi, my name is Dani, and I am the spokeskid for KSTR. Today I want to talk about what the animals eat, and why we feed them what we feed them.

Jennifer and DaniFirst, we have the monkeys. Usually, for the monkeys, in the morning, we give them a fruit salad with Watermelon, Papaya, and other good fruit. In the afternoon, we mix the same fruit salad, but add some vegetables—for example we add sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans. We give them these foods because all the animals in our sanctuary were at one point in the wild, and the food we’re giving them is like the diet they would have had in the wild. In case you haven’t noticed, monkeys spend a lot of time jumping from tree to tree, across branches. One of the reasons they are doing that, is to look for food—many of the fruits in their diet at KSTR grow in trees in Costa Rica! At the sanctuary, we had 3 squirrel monkeys who needed medicine. They did NOT like the flavor of the medicine. So, we used a syringe to squirt the medicine into a marshmallow, which everybody knows monkeys love! (We normally try to only feed our animals natural food that comes from their habitats, but when we need to get medicine into them, we sometimes use small treats.)
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Happy 22 Years Strong from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

From KSTR’s very humble beginnings in 1999, when two 9 year old girls with a passion to save the rainforest, we have grown so much and become stronger – always finding new ways to help wildlife and the environments they call home.

We have evolved from selling painted rocks and trinkets to buy land to protect, to educational kids’ camps, to education campaigns like “11 Reasons Not to Feed the Monkeys”, to planting thousands of trees with our Reforestation program, to installing and maintaining Wildlife Bridges, and working with the Costa Rican electric company, ICE, to prioritize dangerous electric wires to be insulated, to providing a safe Sanctuary for wildlife that can’t survive on their own, to offering educational Tours and Volunteer and Internship programs, to Rescuing, treating, rehabilitating and releasing hundreds of animals!  Nobody said it would be easy, but we know it’s worth it – and there have certainly been many trials along the way – especially in this last year!
We continue to work hard and keep fighting to protect and improve the environment and make this world better for all the amazing animals within it!

Happy 22 Years Strong from Kids Saving the Rainforest!

Kids Saving the Rainforest – March 2021


Hello Quepolandia! This is Dani 🙂

This month, I am going to tell you some stories about the animals in our sanctuary. I hope you enjoy them!

Coati eating coconut

Photo by Janine Licare Photography
(Janine is also Co-founder of KSTR)

We are taking care of a Cotamundi who was born blind. In her living area, there are a bunch of obstacles, trees, jumps and ramps—and I think it’s really cool how she can navigate around the enclosure using just her nose. We use the obstacles to make sure she gets enough exercise, and to have more fun!

In the sanctuary, a lot of the animals don’t like just eating out of a bowl every day—so sometimes we do a different method of feeding. Sometimes, we put the food in a coconut, sometimes we put the food in jars, sometimes we use toilet paper tubes! 

And for the holidays, we even made them Christmas goodies! This makes it so that when the animals eat, it’s not so boring and it brings them some extra happiness.

Display of foodAt KSTR, there’s a Capuchin monkey named Moncho, and he’s brown, instead of Black and White—but he’s still a Capuchin monkey! He sometimes gets mistaken for a baby, because he’s smaller than a normal monkey. One time, we were gathering spiders to feed the monkeys. (Monkeys love eating spiders, and catching and eating a live bug helps remind them how to be in the wild!). When we put the jar with 4 spiders in front of the enclosure, we saw Moncho eat 2 spiders—but when we took the jar to move it to another enclosure, it turns out there was only 1 spider left! Moncho snuck an extra spider! Fun fact: monkeys are very smart and can be very sneaky.

Sloth eating hibiscusIn the sanctuary, we also have a Green Parrot, and on his neck he has no feathers—because he used to be a pet, and his owners had a dog. One day, he got loose from his cage, and the dog found him and attacked him. After that, the owners called KSTR, and we took him in with happiness and joy.  

KSTR is a great place and we try our very best to make sure the animals in our sanctuary are happy, entertained and well taken care of! If you live in the Quepos/Manuel Antonio area, I bet you’re not too far from KSTR. Go take a trip there and volunteer. You can meet lots of incredible animals, each with their own special story. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!

Kids Saving the Rainforest – February 2021

KSTR LogoDani carrying pails of foodBy Dani Colloff

Hi everyone! My name is Dani, and I am the spokeskid for Kids Saving the Rainforest.

We live in Manuel Antonio right now, and every day when we go outside, there’s a large guard dog! Well, he isn’t really a dog—he’s a Green Iguana, and he’s a big boy! We shouldn’t try to pet him, and we should respect his space just like we are social distancing these days. I except we always have to social distance with him, not just during a pandemic. We are lucky to live in a place where there’s lot of beautiful jungle. And we have to share this space, because we are in the animals’ jungle, not the other way around!

Another reason we should give wild animals space is because, if you get too close to them they might try to hurt you. You never know when you’re looking at a mommy or daddy, and there’s a baby nearby and out of sight. I know if somebody tried to steal me, my mom would hurt them! Most wild animals don’t want to hurt people, but if they are feeling scared or protective, they might try to hurt you.

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Kids Saving the Rainforest – January 2021

KSTR LogoWelcome back Quepolandia Readers and Welcome Spokeskid Dani!

Quepolandia being up and running is the sign that life will get back to normal!!

Kids Saving the Rainforest has been working like crazy to stay open since the last time we wrote.

KSTR has made sure that the wildlife came first and our human crew sacrificed a lot. Financially KSTR could only pay 50% of salaries and many worked more than full time just to be sure the wildlife didn’t suffer from the consequences Covid-19. Help us re-open our rescue center, by following Dani’s great suggestions below.

DaniHello Quepolandia! My name is Dani, and I will be your new Spokeskid for Kids Saving the Rainforest! I am 7 years old, and this is my first article—I hope you enjoy it.

Before we talk about KSTR, a little about me: I love animals! My favorite kind of animal is a horse. We have 2 dogs at home, Dozer (a pound puppy who is now 11 years old), and Tiny (a French Bulldog puppy who is 6 months old). My favorite animal native to Costa Rica is the Howler Monkey, because I like how big they are. For hobbies, I like to surf, do gymnastics, horseback riding, and I love to bake.

If you’re new to KSTR, it’s a place where we keep wildlife in our Sanctuary that could not return back to the wild due to injuries or permanent medical issues that need care. But our goal is to always release them back into the wild. 

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The Untold Challenges of Wildlife Rescue

KSTR LogoBy Mckenzie Wing
Volunteer Coordinator & Biologist

Coati on a picnic tableHow do you receive animal calls with no internet or cell service? How do you drive an animal ambulance down a road washed out by floods? How do you perform complicated surgery on a monkey during a power outage, when the clinic equipment and AC don’t work?

These are the kinds of challenges that have been faced by KSTR staff and volunteers over the years. Technical, environmental, animal—we’ve seen it all. Our remote location puts us at a good distance from human activity for animal rehabilitation, but creates myriad difficulties for running a working rescue center, public sanctuary, and staff/volunteer residence with many, many moving parts.

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Happy 21st Anniversary to KSTR!

KSTR LogoBaby toucanBy Mckenzie Wing, Volunteer Coordinator & Biologist

Kids Saving the Rainforest turns 21 this month. This means that, as an organization, we are growing up. We’ve moved out of Mom and Dad’s place and are probably a few years into college. We’re now old enough to order a drink in the US, although with a name like ours we’re still likely to get carded.

But in serious terms, it’s impressive how far we’ve come from a simple family reforestation project that rescued the occasional local sloth orphan. We are now one of the main points of contact for animal rescue in the area, admitting around 150 animals per year into our rescue center. We get nearly that number of humans admitted, too, into our volunteer program, giving passionate people—young and old—an opportunity to work with wildlife and promote conservation. We’ve planted tens of thousands of trees as part of our reforestation program in the area.

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