It’s Bananas!

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Monkeying around!

I love these little ladies!  Meet two of the resident Mantled Howler Monkeys at the JRC.  They will grow about double to triple in size as members of one of the largest New World monkey species, Alouatta palliata. In Costa Rica they’re referred to as “Congos”.  Just wanted to share a picture from my time volunteering at the Jaguar Animal Rescue Center in Playa Chiquita, just outside of Puerto Viejo and Cocles, South Caribe Costa Rica.  I spent over a year there, twice a week feeding monkeys, sloths, possums, raccoons, toucans, jaguarondis and kinkajous, cleaning up poo, getting peed on, cleaning rat cages (food for the felines, duh!) and learning ALL about the wildlife of Costa Rica.  It was an amazing experience.  This is an incredible project, dedicated to rehabilitating injured or abandoned animals and eventually, if all goes well, reinitiating them out into the wild at rescue center’s sister project, La Ceiba Nature Reserve.

Going into the monkey house may seem to many a leap of insanity, but my time spent with these phenomenal creatures was truly peaceful, loving and inspiring.  It put me always into a state of mind much like the mental sensations of recently finishing a yoga practice.  Bliss!  Relaxed and True Bliss!  I missed these fuzzy ladies in-between shifts and stopped in frequently to visit.  I have since left the project, after 14 months and only when the center had become so well-known and successfull, taken off SO well that the volunteers were coming in by the bus full!  Now I am scheming to practice my Karma Yoga elsewhere, hopefully by initiating a community yoga class for children or underprivileged families.  That story, my friends, is to be continued….

The story of my furry friends: well, for the most part it’s happily ever after! Unless they arrive too severely injured, most animals arriving at the JRC enjoy a well planned recuperation and when the time comes, re-join their furry ancestors in the jungle of Costa Rica.  Call it the real-life Jungle Book.

Published and written original work by Kristin Gilbert Ramirez of OM Puerto Viejo.

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