Vanessa joins me to chat about how to volunteer with animals in Costa Rica. She runs Rescue Center Costa Rica, where she rescues, rehabilitates, and releases animals back to the wild.
Shawn, the kids, and I visited her property in November of 2019 and spent the entire time trying to figure out how we could get back! Rescue Center Costa Rica has a thriving volunteer program, where people who are interested can go and live on property and volunteer with animals. As you can imagine, this is in the top 5 “things to do” on my bucket list.
Vanessa joined me for this interview on her phone, one hand holding it up to her ear, and one hand holding a baby sloth in her lap. You’ll hear the wind, and the animals, and I hope it transports you to her property like it did me.
3 Simple Ideas To Make a Difference:
1. DO NOT TOUCH ANIMALS WHILE TRAVELING. Avoid photo ops with animals. “Animal selfies” are a cruel industry. Also avoid riding animals (elephant, llama, etc) or taking pictures with animals on touristy streets.
2. VOLUNTEER WITH ANIMALS. Look for shelters (like Rescue Center Costa Rica) to visit and volunteer at the same time.
3. VISIT SANCTUARIES WHEN WE TRAVEL. Make plans ahead of time to visit a local rescue or sanctuary when we visit a new place. Money from our tour funds their work.
Rescue Center Costa Rica is located in Guacima, Alajuela, Costa Rica, near the San Jose Airport. (Click for map)
Vanessa describes the property as an oasis in the middle of the city with a waterfall and peaceful forest.
Vanessa began building this new property just as covid took hold last year. She has been in animal rescue since she was young, but the current property is a brand new project. She took over an old farm with a winery that people used to visit on the weekends.
The main house is now used for volunteers, and the little houses on property are being turned into hospitals. The old winery is now used as the kitchen for fruits and veggies and preparing meals. It’s the perfect property for people who want to get away and volunteer with animals.
How do animals end up at Rescue Center Costa Rica?
Vanessa and her team take in any wild animal that needs help with the goal of rehabilitating that animal and releasing him or her back to the wild. She said that the most common causes for animals to come to her are trees being cut down, dog attacks, and pet trade. It seems that the animals she receives are often babies whose mothers have been killed. Visit this page on her website to see the animals who are living with her now.
Volunteer with animals:
Volunteers usually stay for 2 weeks up to a few months. Prior to covid, Vanessa had 30-40 volunteers per month on property. Right now she has 1. Volunteers who come to volunteer with animals fund the rescue center, and it’s really important for her survival that they come back soon. If you’re interested, read more about it here on her website.
Stop animal selfies:
Stop Animal Selfies is a huge movement in Costa Rica that nearly makes me cry it makes me so happy. Citizens AND the government have gotten behind this movement and are working to stop tourists from holding Costa Rican animals for photos. If a volunteer or guest at a rescue center is seen holding an animal for a photo, the rescue center is shut down.
Most people don’t realize how cruel the animal selfie industry is. Children often steal baby animals from trees to stop tourists on the side of the road for pictures. And what tourists don’t know is that to steal a baby, you have to kill the mother. These babies do not like being held by people that they do not know and trust. It causes them a lot of stress and emotional pain.
Vanessa’s number one message for us today was to Stop Animal Selfies. She urged us to make sure not to touch or hold an animal when we’re traveling, and to spread this message to our friends as well.
A Dangerous Profession:
Vanessa opened up about her past, and the danger of being an animal rescuer in Costa Rica. It has not been an easy path for her.
She lost her best friend, Jairo Mora Sandoval, in 2013 when she ran a rescue in Moin Beach. A big part of her rescue was going out at night and securing sea turtle nests because turtle eggs were highly sought after as an aphrodisiac. They could be sold for $2 an egg, and a poacher could make $300 a night. Going up against poachers was dangerous and continues to be. Vanessa shared that after the police are gone, there is still a lot of anger toward the rescuers.
She also pointed to the drug trade being another dangerous aspect of her job. She said that drug dealing and wild animals seem to go hand in hand and many dealers will spend huge sums of money to have wild animals as their property.
Vanessa’s bravery is part of what makes her one of my heroes. She continues to live her life each day fighting for animals because she says that she knows this is what she’s supposed to do with her life.
This episode was transcribed with ai technology from otter.ai. Please excuse any typos or incorrect language.
Brandy Montague 0:00
Welcome to episode number 34 of the For Animals For Earth podcast: volunteer with animals in Costa Rica.
Vanessa Lizano 0:09
At the beginning I see people getting very upset when I try to explain to them but when they finish the tour. They totally understand and they actually are very grateful that now they have this knowledge and they can tell other people about what goes behind these selfies, you know,
Brandy Montague 0:28
You were just listening to one of my heroes Vanessa Lizano of rescue center Costa Rica. At the end of 2019 Shawn and the kids and I had a chance to visit her property where she rescues tons of wild animals from slots to macaws to monkeys and the whole time that we were touring around her property I kept thinking, What a dream, it would be to somehow connect with Vanessa again. I mean, do you ever do that, do you ever travel someplace and the whole time you’re there you’re thinking, How do I get back? you know, how do I either come back here and visit How do I move here, and you start making all these plans, I don’t know, I definitely do that.
Brandy Montague 1:12
And I was doing that with Vanessa, when I was there visiting. And what happened today in this interview, is that I got a chance to get to know her more and she really gave me a look inside what rescuing animals in Costa Rica is like from the ups and the downs and the true danger for that line of work where she lives, as well as the positive involvement that the government has in animal welfare there.
Brandy Montague 1:46
And she shared a simple idea for all of us when we travel, which was, do not take photos, holding touching, or posing with animals, and she talks to us in this interview about why that’s so important.
Brandy Montague 2:04
One more thing that I really loved about this interview in particular is that it was a good reminder for me that technology and a strong internet connection are not the end all be all. Vanessa joined me from her phone held up to her ear with one hand and holding a baby slot in her lab with the other, and you’ll hear sometimes the wind blows, we got caught off a couple of times but all in all, I felt that talking to her actually transplanted me to her area, deep, you know, in the wilderness in Costa Rica and I hope that while you listen you find yourself transplanted too, like it did for me.
Brandy Montague 2:49
So for today’s show notes and links to everything that we talked about go to ForAnimalsForEarth.com/podcast/34.
Brandy Montague 3:01
Hi there this is Brandy and you’re listening to the for animals for Earth podcast. This is a space where we inspire each other to take small steps every day to live a more conscious life, helping animals, and the planet, while we do it. I’m so glad that you’re here. Let’s all take a deep breath and let’s get started.
Brandy Montague 3:27
I wonder if you can start off by painting a picture for us, of where you are. I know you’re holding a baby in your lap right now, and I also wonder if you could just tell us a bit about where you are in Costa Rica.
Vanessa Lizano 3:41
Well, right now, I’m in Guacima, Alajuela, and that’s quite near the San Jose airport. But the location is really really beautiful. I think it’s kind of an oasis in the middle of the city. We have a waterfall, there’s a lot of forests around, and well yeah as you said right now I’m holding a new baby sloth that actually came in yesterday night, and it was because the location where he was the trees were cut down by a local. I don’t know how you call that like they were doing it for wood and the tree came down with a mom, the mom sadly died. And that’s how we got that call to get the baby.
Brandy Montague 4:31
Is that something that happens often?
Vanessa Lizano 4:35
Yes, sadly, yes we get a lot of the, of the orphans, either by the cutting down of the trees and the rain forest or also dog attacks so it tax is a big issue right now here in Costa Rica. Because people keep their dogs outside without a leash. So because we are so close to the forest area many times when the sloth goes down to the ground to go pee-pee or potty. That’s when the dogs usually attack the moms, or the, even the baby.
Brandy Montague 5:07
Oh wow, and why does a dog attack them? Is it for food or just territory?
Vanessa Lizano 5:14
I think it’s territorial like we’ve had different cases like even, like, very sad cases like we have one sloth right now named Achilles. And what actually happened was that when the mom came down to go to the bathroom. The dogs attacked the mom and the mom in like in the nervous desperate state she actually attacked the baby too. So the mom was fine but she left the baby behind, with several wounds. Then we have other stories. We actually had from the other rescue of golden retriever that went to the woods and came back with a baby sloths attached to its head. So, it was just like sniffing around and the baby sloths attached to them.
Brandy Montague 6:05
Interesting. So, you have a lot of slots there, what other type of animals do you do you take in there?
Vanessa Lizano 6:14
We are taking in anything that’s wildlife. We have an ocelot. Her name is his name is Christiana doe. And he was actually part of a pet trade, sadly, he was given the wrong diet. So he has a bone deficiency, and that’s why he can’t go back to the wildlife, he doesn’t know how to hunt. He’s like having a baby cat but a little bit more aggressively playful. But he’s doing pretty fine. We have a coyote. Her name is Lily, she also came from pet trade. And then we have right now that I’m actually looking at my sister, feeding the baby howler monkey and that one came from the Guanacaste area, and it was also a dog attack and the mom actually died in the attack defending the baby.
Brandy Montague 7:09
Vanessa Lizano 7:10
So, we have sloths, monkeys.
Brandy Montague 7:14
Sweet. In, and you have so you just mentioned your sister Do you do this with your sister? Does she lived there on the property with you?
Vanessa Lizano 7:23
Yeah, we are here all the time. And then we have like we have a vet which is like local vet she stays here, Monday through Friday and she’s on call. And right now we have two other Spanish vets that are here all the time. So it’s really good. We’re having a really nice team so. So I feel pretty safe, bringing the animals in knowing that they get the proper care.
Brandy Montague 7:52
That’s amazing, that you have been able to set up such a strong network of people there, and I know like physically creating this space also has been a project for you over. Has it been a couple of years that you’ve been building this new space and getting it ready to hold everyone animals and people?
Vanessa Lizano 8:18
Well, actually we started last year, I actually started with COVID, which was a really bad time to start but it actually worked out. I was looking for the property and I came across this location, I mean that pretty much everything we needed. Location wise like it used to be a farm where people came on the weekends, or they could like jump in the pool and do different activities and he had these little houses. So, so the main house which is a volunteer house. That’s where volunteers stay now. And then the other little houses we turned one into the baby Animal Hospital. And the other one, we’re actually still working on it to make it just the rescue center hospital, so we can have that the different parts and then in the middle. They used to have like a winery. And so, that became the animal kitchen, which the winery is now filled with fruits and vegetables.
Brandy Montague 9:23
That’s pretty fun. I know that a big part of your program is having volunteers come and stay with you on property that is something I dream of doing at some point I have a towards the top of my bucket list. How many people per year typically stay with you? I, we should say I guess before COVID and then we can talk about what’s happened since COVID.
Vanessa Lizano 9:50
Oh well before COVID we used to have around, 30, an average of 30 to 40 people a month. Okay, I’m saying some people say, only usually like the volunteers come for two weeks, some stayed longer like four months, or just one month. But yeah, it was an average of 30 to 40 people per month. So it was a good way to maintain the center. This is how we pay the vets, the medical supplies, make use of the cages, like all the different needs, but the rescue has. And yeah, Then after COVID we have to get a little bit creative, seeing with all the different things we did lose all the people who volunteer with animals. Right now, we have one who’s actually helping us a lot. We’re grateful for any help we can get. But it’s been a little bit hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And we are thank god getting new reservations, and people actually wanting to come on I think also with a COVID situation people want to get out and do something different, since they have been in lockdown for so long.
Brandy Montague 11:13
That’s good news so is Costa Rica open? Like can people travel there now if they want to?
Vanessa Lizano 11:21
They are open right now. Like we, I think because Costa Rica is very open space, then we are quite safe in that area, I would say. The rescue here like when we had a couple people. We just keep a distance between each other we use mask when we go inside the hospitals, or when we’re working with the monkeys mask is a must, because we don’t know you know with COVID, it can be transferred to the monkeys. And the only thing that has changed is that we do ask anyone coming who wants to volunteer with animals to have a COVID test or the vaccines. So, okay, the only changes right now but but yeah we like it’s definitely open. A lot of people are back in the beach, they are going back into hotels. Getting a little vitamin some sunshine. So every everything is coming back. Yeah,
Brandy Montague 12:22
That’s, that’s good. It’s, um, you know, sometimes it’s kind of hard to tell from Los Angeles because I think we are a little bit behind everyone else and coming back but it does sound exciting and I can even feel a little bit of momentum here that things are starting to get back to normal and like you said people are really kind of getting to that point where they really really want to find that. I guess excitement in life again you know that comes with traveling or getting out to the beach or whatever it is.
Vanessa Lizano 12:53
Brandy Montague 12:55
If someone wants to book to come stay with you, what is the best way to do that?
Vanessa Lizano 13:01
Directly on the website. It’s pretty easy it’s rescuecenter.com. And there you have the option to volunteer with animals, to be a part by donating, or to come do a tour if you’re ever in Costa Rica. And one of the things that we are planning to do in the future if our internet gets better. It’s a virtual tour so
Brandy Montague 13:26
Oh that’s fun. That’s fun. Can you describe for me, what would a day look like for someone who comes to volunteer with animals? What does an average day look like if someone comes to stay with you and to learn about, you know, helping the animals while they’re there?
Vanessa Lizano 13:41
Well, we wake up pretty early the wake time is at 7am and. At 7am, we start preparing the food for the day the animals like the most active ones would be the monkeys, and a macaws all the parrots that we have here, and the deers, so it’s pretty much prepare the animal food and start cleaning their cages. And we are done about at 8am and 830, we have breakfast. And then we continue with the daily activities which is again start cleaning the cages, start feeding the other animals. Look for leaves for the sloths. And then we have lunch, and it’s a little bit break until 130. And then you start all over again. And we make also, we have to make enrichment in the afternoons for the other animals, you know the ones that have to stay in the sanctuary. They need a lot of a different stimulus like making toys and making different activities for them so that they stay mentally fine.
Brandy Montague 14:53
Because that’s a really important part of it right because that since they’re not able to be back out in the wild, you I, from what I understand it requires a lot of creativity on the human part, to keep coming up with new things that will keep them keep their brains and yeah I guess it’s their brains and there’s their emotions up right?
Vanessa Lizano 15:14
Yeah correct like because it’s bad like when like that comes to different points, and the vet has to get involved and the biologists and also the government of Costa Rica. We all take part to decide if an animal will go back to the wild, or it is an animal that has to stay in a sanctuary. When that is decided is. It is sad, but we have to manage to make the best life for that animal that we can because it’s usually they can go back to the wild because of human interaction so it’s pretty much our fault. So we see it as a way of give back a little bit to them to make the rest of their life, most comfortable and better.
Brandy Montague 16:02
Something about Costa Rica that I’ve read and I guess the little bit that I saw when we were visiting there is that animal welfare really seems to be in a very good place in terms of the way the government treats it, and also just the general mentality of the people who live in Costa Rica. You mentioned that the government is involved along with you and with the vets in deciding whether an animal can go back into the wild. Is the perception that I’ve gotten of Costa Rica that even the government is very focused on trying to keep animals in their natural habitats, is that true? Like did I pick up the right perception and is that something that you think is kind of special to Costa Rica?
Vanessa Lizano 16:49
It is true and right now the government has been very active and strict with all the new laws that come with the animals, one big one that we have in Costa Rica, that we actually tell volunteers and tourists, is I don’t know if you’ve heard about stop animals selfie? Like that has been a big issue.
Brandy Montague 17:14
I have not, but is that is somebody like touching any animal is is the Is it someone’s touching an animal to take a photo or.
Vanessa Lizano 17:21
Yeah, it’s actually the movement is called Animal selfies. And this is because it was part of Costa Rica was actually sold as a part of a tourist attraction that people thought they could come here and just like, hold a sloth and take a picture. The problem with this was that it became part of a backdoor industry and what was happening. And this is what I used to see in Limon was that kids would actually steal the baby slots from the trees, and have them at the side of the road and tourists will stop to take pictures with them.
Vanessa Lizano 17:59
This happens also in other places like Ecuador, Honduras. It happens a lot with cruise ships, when you get down from the cruise ships that you see different people holding different animals.
Vanessa Lizano 18:11
By doing this, and taking the picture. What people don’t understand is that for somebody to take a baby monkey they actually have to kill the mother, because they’re very social animals and they are like us humans like you you wouldn’t give your child away easily. So that was a big issue, and also them stealing the babies from the, from the sloths, for them to have just one picture. So, that that movement has been really big and we really enforce it, that people need to know this part that it is something that, that has to stop because, I mean I think it’s part of education that people don’t know this.
Vanessa Lizano 18:53
So, we are here in Costa Rica, it is actually like if you as a rescue center have volunteers taking selfies with animals, you get shut down. It’s come starting this year actually.
Brandy Montague 19:07
Okay. Wow, that’s that’s actually really cool. That’s really cool that the government has gotten behind it in such a strong way. Because I think to your point, if some people don’t know you know when they come in as a tourist, you just put all these stories behind like, oh, you know, I’m sure this this baby loves being held or whatever you know and it’s, it’s really been, like you said, I feel like the awareness now, hopefully, is becoming much more clear that, you know, if you’re traveling to all these different countries there’s very rarely going to be a situation that there’s an animal that wants you holding it.
Vanessa Lizano 19:46
Yeah, correct. Yeah. And yeah, it’s something that needs to be like for tourists to know I have had a lot of tourists come and at first I’m, like, the first thing they said is, I want a picture with a sloth. And, like, at the beginning I see people getting very upset when I tried to explain to them but when they finished the tour, they totally understand. They actually are very grateful that now they have this knowledge and they can tell other people what goes behind these selfies, you know. And it’s not, I mean you can take pictures, but it’s about basically holding the animal, or grabbing it because that gives them stress, unless you’re a volunteer that’s here for like two months that is actually involved with the babies, like there is no reason for any other person to actually be holding us off when they would actually cause them stress.
Brandy Montague 20:43
So, yeah, that’s, you know, it’s just kind of makes my heart warm as you tell that story because I think, for when you mentioned how the the guest says, Oh, I get to go back and tell my friends this because it’s like, that’s like the best way I feel like to get the message out there is from one person to the next to the next to just share these things that we’re kind of learning new about animals that unless you were involved really deeply with animals in the past, you didn’t even know that this was the case, you know, so I don’t know it just makes me excited to hear that they want to go back and tell their friends like hey don’t do this selfie. It’s something I guess so simple that. Yeah, helps.
Brandy Montague 21:31
I wonder if we can just talk a bit quickly about your journey into this because I know that you’ve had a lot of ups and downs, being involved in animal welfare and I think from what I’ve read about you you started as a child, did you grow up, helping animals as a child with your parents?
Vanessa Lizano 21:54
Well I actually like I’ve always loved animals, like I was that that little girl that would also always be bringing that stray cat, or whatever she found on the street home. My mom is an animal person tool, so we actually yeah I’ve always been like very involved with animals. But usually when we will move to Limon with my family. That’s where, like, I started with becoming more wildlife. The first time was that I got a slot that was electrical in the power lines, and there were no rescue centers in the area so the firefighter pretty much gave me the sloth and was like, deal with it, and I was like okay.
Brandy Montague 22:44
Oh my gosh.
Vanessa Lizano 22:45
So I started calling different places to see what we could do. And I started getting many replies on how to raise the sloths. And that was the first time after that they just kept bringing in different animals. And it was an ongoing thing, like, it’s sort of like weekly. I will get another sloth or, or a monkey or, or something in need, I knew something had to be done.
Vanessa Lizano 23:14
And then, I used to walk the beach in the morning and I started seeing that there was leatherback nests in that area. So that’s when I got involved cast, which was pretty much the people that that later came and gave me all the training, and we were involved with protecting those sea turtles, and also have a rescue center part in the farm so, so it was pretty exciting. It was a very, very nice. However, the area of Limon is pretty dangerous when it comes poaching. And I did have to stop because I lost my friend on the beach. And that was the time that I decided that we had to take a break from everything for a while, while I was mourning came back to San Jose, but I like after four years I saw that I was going insane. Not having animals again in my life. So I started again. I started back again, and, and it’s actually like. This is a place that I know that I have to be like, This is what I do in life, this is like my purpose.
Brandy Montague 24:27
You know how amazing to know so clearly what your purpose is and I think that it’s also so obvious because you have a special, how do we, I don’t know how to describe it, but there’s something special that you have, just like a connection with the animals that is just a calm, safe. I guess vibe. You give off that that works well with them and I think that’s probably why you know people brought so many animals to you, and it just kind of naturally became your journey so I feel like it does make sense that you are so clear now that that’s what you’re meant to do and I feel like that’s just really exciting and such a gift to the world that you’re willing to do it, because I do know it’s been very difficult for you, and I wonder if you can give us a little bit of insight into the dangerous side of it in the poaching, why are people poaching, the animals, what, what is there to gain in that I assume money but why, like, why are they taking the animals?
Vanessa Lizano 25:36
Well with the part of the sea turtles. The eggs were seen as an aphrodisiac. And as I don’t know like our cultural part. So like a turtle egg can be sold for $2. So they’ll poach $300 a night.
Brandy Montague 25:55
Vanessa Lizano 25:58
Yeah, so it was a big, big fight. It is illegal to sell or to consume turtle eggs in Costa Rica, but there’s this tiny loophole, which is Ostional, which is a National Park. So there’s tons of tons of turtle eggs, and they use a certain part legally to sell them. However, this is used to like for them to say that all the eggs that they sell everywhere are from Ostional. So, it is a big, big loophole that we’re having right now. And the other part is, I think drug dealers and keeping wildlife as pets go hand in hand. And this is why it is dangerous to a lot of the drug dealers have had monkeys have, you know, wild cats. It’s it’s part of their way of seeing power so they do pay a lot of money for this. This animals. So that’s why it can, it is kind of dangerous, because when you take the animals from them. When the police comes they still, they still have a lot of anger issues against the rescues.
Vanessa Lizano 27:19
And I think, yeah, that’s that’s pretty much it like I have a pretty sad story of a monkey that we’re trying to get right now it’s in another rescue, but he was owned by a drug dealer, and I know he cut his finger and used to, to put his, his cigarette butts out on him. So this monkey has serious trauma issues and. And that’s why we want to bring him because he’s he’s having a hard time in the other rescue, and they’re really full, so we’re trying to see if we can give him a better home here. So that I kind of run my mouth everywhere but, but that’s pretty much it.
Brandy Montague 28:02
Yeah, though that’s that’s amazing and thank you for sharing all of that because it helps those of us that are far away from it, understand a little better, and it also puts to light how brave you have to be to do what you’re doing, and also just I feel like an emotional roller coaster that you must live like that you’ve you’ve learned to live on, and you’ve learned how to be able to weather the ups and downs but I have to imagine that it’s still really difficult.
Brandy Montague 28:41
My last question for you is just how do you do that, how do you manage those up and downs, and do you have advice for anybody? Just on, you know if someone is thinking about how they want to get into this, you know, sort of line of work and they want to help animals, the reality is there, there’s, you know, there’s what they call it compassion fatigue right and there’s just a lot of stressful ups and downs to it. Do you have any advice for anybody who is thinking about that and how to weather it a little better?
Vanessa Lizano 29:16
Well, the advice that I have they may not like it, but I pretty much remember when I lost one of my favorites. And I was, I was a mess, complete mess like I was crying going saying because they do become part of your life, and I remember, I bet one of the first vets that was helping me out, she told me, this is going to happen 70% of the time so if you can’t take it, then you should look into another field. But if you see it as a way of learning and growing by knowing that you did the best for this animal and learn from your mistakes, and, you know, knowing that you’re going to save more animals than actually will die, then that’s not your main focus. So, like it is a roller coaster like we’ve had many emotional moments here at the rescue.
Vanessa Lizano 30:15
When we have to lose an animal, or even happy moments when you release one. But at the end you have to focus on your goal which is, you know that you’re doing the best to save these animals, and, and, Yeah, you have to focus on the positive. And to see, you know, focus on the release focus on the part that you’re bringing their lives better, that if it wasn’t for the rescue that these animals would be dead. So that’s, that’s pretty much, but you have to be strong. But you have to stay focused on the main goal.
Brandy Montague 30:51
Mm hmm. Yeah. And you’re right, the reality is that, you know, the other option would be you don’t do it and then all of those animals that you have saved don’t have that opportunity right so, yeah, yeah, I can see. Yeah, it’s, there’s so much good to focus on. And, you know, I have to tell you thank you for what you do and I’m sure every single one of our listeners, is telling you you know this virtual thank you for what you do, and I, I hope that some people will come stay and if anyone wants to talk to me about going I’m, I’m working on trying to figure out how to go.
Brandy Montague 31:34
And yeah, so is there anything else Vanessa that you would like to share with people that I haven’t hit on?
Vanessa Lizano 31:44
No, I think we covered the, the big thing that I really want to continue to share is the Stop Animal Selfie part, just educating people on this part because it is a big, big deal right now. I think worldwide.
Vanessa Lizano 32:03
And, and, and yeah, just to know that people, just by you guys coming here to volunteer with animals, or helping us in any way like every little bit helps. We have still a lot to grow. We have a lot of projects, very much focusing on a hospital right now for the wildlife care. And that’s like our, our big second part where we’re aiming now. But like you said, if you guys want to come to volunteer with animals that would really really help us out right now, because that that is like the way that we have been supporting the rescue.
Brandy Montague 32:43
That makes sense and I feel like that is such a smart business model as well you know because everybody wins. The people who come to volunteer with animals, and you know, you, and the animals. I’m really really hopeful that we are seeing that start to ramp back up now for you, for sure.
Brandy Montague 33:02
Thank you so much Vanessa for jumping on. I know it’s really hard to get on the phone there where you’re at, with all the edibles or with the other day, and I’m just really excited that we got to share a part of your story here today, and introduce people to you. So I’m really thankful that you were willing to jump on here with me and share all of this.
Vanessa Lizano 33:24
No thank you guys so much that I mean, thank you for helping us out and bringing a little bit of light towards our rescue.
Brandy Montague 33:34
That’s all for today’s interview. If you enjoyed my talk with Vanessa you may enjoy episode number 21 with Jason bliss. In his episode we talk about ecological impact centers in Costa Rica and his experience building and running one of his own. Our charity of the month this month is Rescue Center Costa Rica. And what that means is that as a community, we’re coming together to support Vanessa and her charity, you could do that as easily as jumping over onto social media and liking what she’s doing, following her, and sharing her posts. She’s on Instagram at RescueCenterCR or if you go to rescuecenter.com you can find links to all of her social media channels on her homepage.
Brandy Montague 34:19
And if you enjoyed the show today I have a favor to ask you, will you tell a friend? Word of mouth is the easiest way for us to grow the podcast and it’s super easy, you can just tell them to go to ForAnimalsForEarth.com/podcast, and on that page we have links to all of the major streaming platforms. Alright guys thank you so much for your ongoing continued support. I really could not do this without you. I will see you next week. Bye.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Vanessa Lizano started the Rescue Center in Limon, Costa Rica over ten years ago. She worked hard over the years and grew the project from a small farm with a few animals to over 100 total in 2013. She took a hiatus that year after the death of her good friend and fellow conservationist, Jairo Mora.
For Vanessa, the animals come first and she works hard to make sure they are well-fed and cared for each and every day. She implemented strict rules for animal handling to ensure the animals that can be released will be released. It is her passion, hard work and tireless love that made the project something truly special.
Vanessa opened her new 10 acre farm, Rescue Center Costa Rica, in Guacima in January 2020 and welcomes people who want to volunteer with animals.