The NATUWA animal sanctuary is located in Aranjuez de Puntarenas, a refuge that protects approximately 600 animals of 32 species. According to its administrators, for more than twenty years they have been dedicated to creating a place that provides shelter and protection to wildlife that cannot return to their natural environment due to particular situations.The list of tenants includes sloths, scarlet and green macaws, jaguars, ocelots, tapirs, monkeys and also some animals from other countries.
For Roberto Orozco, Director of NATUWA, “it is a true sanctuary for wild animals, we rehabilitate them for release and shelter those that cannot be released. There are different species, reptiles, mammals, birds, felines”, he highlighted. Orozco explained that this sanctuary in turn wishes to promote environmental education, carrying out activities framed in the restoration of nature and the care of wild animals to generate habits in people that help conserve Costa Rica’s natural resources.
Due to the vastness of the place and variety of species, the sanctuary has a volunteer program, which becomes an experience that provides knowledge about various species of fauna of the neotropics. All activities will always be carried out under the authorization and supervision of specialists in the management of wild animals such as natural resource managers, biologists and veterinarians, all with the endorsement of the National System of Conservation Areas to function as a sanctuary.
For Rafael Soto, General Manager of the Costa Rican Tourism Institute, it is very important that there are rescue centers and sanctuaries like this one that help conserve the environment, its species and, in addition, help heal and rehabilitate animals that for some reason suffered an accident or have a special condition that prevents them from returning to their free and natural environment.
“When visiting a sanctuary, national and international tourists have the opportunity to see species of our recognized biodiversity, but raising awareness of the importance of protecting them in their natural environments,” concluded Soto.
The home of the most famous sloth in Costa Rica
Precisely, Natuwa is the home of the most famous two-toed sloth of recent days, a four-year-old juvenile that Frontier airlines chose to adorn the tail of one of the planes in its new fleet. This furry inhabitant of the sloth garden enjoys more than a hectare of guarumo trees and lives with twenty other animals of its kind.
As Orozco explained, sloths are arboreal, they hang from the branches, they do not have claws but fingers that are covered with keratin. “Our winning sloth is a tireless eater of leaves and we know him as El Machito, because he has an atypical light coloration in its fur and in one of its eyes, that is why it is different from all the other sloths that are in that place. Since arriving at the sanctuary it put its fingers to its nose, like a small child, and even at this age it continues to do so. It is a calm and docile animal in its environment” he concluded with pride knowing that one of his beloved animals will literally “be flying”, but on the tail of an airplane.
Natuwa is a word in the Chorotega language that means “lapa or parrot”. At the beginning of the sanctuary, they stood out for developing a program for the reproduction and release of scarlet macaws and finally decided to adopt this name.
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Telephone: 86444666. More information:https://www.natuwa.com/animales-en-espanol/