I don't think I have ever met anyone who cares more about animals than Mary of Rainsong. She is absolutely relentless in helping injured, rescued, and endangered animals here in Costa Rica. Those of us who live in this area are so relieved and thankful to have a safe place to take animals who have been hurt, abandoned, or rescued. In fact, to the people we encourage to visit, we always give two disclaimers: 1) of the very rustic nature of the sanctuary (it is not a white glossy vet hospital like you may find in richer countries), this is a donation-only run Central American refuge and 2) the eccentric nature of Mary, who we imagine prefers the company of animals to people, which you'd have to in order to donate your life to them as she has! She is not rude or unhelpful, but she can be curt. Her great love is animals, not tourists. And if she's interested in getting her small $5 donation, it is so that she can provide more food/shelter for the animals. She's certainly not getting rich off it!
The workers she has are all volunteers, mostly travelers. They come, volunteer for a while, then move on to their next destination. So, if you happen to have a new volunteer, no, they may not know all the details of how/when/why. But they are always happy to go find out for you.
This a haven for sick, injured, and abandoned animals. Some may consider that a "depressing" place simply by definition. Personally, I find zoos much more depressing, as at least any animals at Rainsong that can be released back into the wild, are. No chance of that in zoos. It is correct, some Rainsong residents never will be released...like the most popular resident there, Tarzan, the one-armed white faced monkey. Monkeys absolutely cannot survive on their own, and a troop will rarely take in another male, just females. Tarzan is often out of his cage, swinging around and hamming it up for guests, and never tries to escape. He knows how good he has it! In fact, the only complaint I have heard by locals about Rainsong as of late, is how few resident animals there now are to see! How so many have been released that there are way fewer animals to see than this time last year.
Mary always has several petitions going, at the moment one is to force ICE, the electric company to cover the power lines, which has become such a huge danger to animals (especially monkeys) in our ever-growing area. At other times it is petitions to help in her tremendous efforts to save the endangered leatherback turtle. She even commissioned the armed local police this year to go with her try to protect the beach from poachers that steal baby turtle eggs.
I know everyone we have sent there has enjoyed themselves and comes back with excited tales of holding a porcupine, or feeding a baby howler monkey with a bottle, or having an anteater wrapped around their neck like a shawl. We hope that people will continue to support Rainsong and applaud Mary & Geoff's volunteer efforts, and wish more people were as proactive as them.
Edited: 1:26 pm, July 15, 2010