Costa Rica’s Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit rescue and rehabilitation center with an on-site veterinary clinic for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. Some of these animals are confiscated from the illegal pet-trade, others are over-domesticated, and still others have long-term physical or neurological injuries.

The Sanctuary’s goal is to rehabilitate and release as many of these animals as possible, but for those that cannot be returned to the wild, the Sanctuary provides lifetime care. Every visitor, volunteer and donor directly helps in providing food, housing and veterinary care to a diverse range of native animal species.

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary resident

Situated on a mountain in the heart of the jungle, Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary was designed with the assistance of the Costa Rican government and has enclosures for over 75 animals. The wildlife is cared for by a professional team of qualified staff, supported by a dynamic volunteer program along with educational programs for local and national schools and international universities. Also, guided Sanctuary tours are provided where visitors can learn about the amazing wildlife of Costa Rica and the work that the Sanctuary is doing to protect it.

Monkey at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

Volunteering at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary provides a rare opportunity to actively participate in the Sanctuary’s wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and conservation program in Costa Rica. As a volunteer you are able to work with a range of injured and orphaned primates, mammals, birds and sometimes even reptiles. You assist the team with daily animal husbandry tasks, such as cleaning and maintaining enclosures, preparing and providing food, and designing and collecting materials for environmental enrichment. You will meet lots of like-minded people and have opportunities to explore the local area, walk in pristine wilderness and experience genuine Costa Rican culture.

TwoCan Retreats and Alturas Sanctuary staffers
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary medical staff at work

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary operates a dynamic education program for local and international school groups, community organizations, governmental and corporate institutions, university students and visiting tourists/residents. The Sanctuary also offers veterinary, wildlife husbandry and education internships to local and international university students studying veterinary science, conservation biology, wildlife conservation, environmental science, education studies or related degrees. 

Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary new resident

One of the Sanctuary’s many current programs is the construction of an enclosure for a margay and an ocelot. The cubs are growing so fast now, and need to be moved in to their new enclosure as soon as possible. Staff members are observing their behavior and making sure that they are eating correctly, behaving naturally and not showing any symptoms of stress so they can one day be returned to the jungle.

For more information on the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary and its programs, go to

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