Karma Saving the Rainforest
By guest writer
Hello Quepolandia readers. Every month you hear from Karma Casey, the
spokeskid at KSTR, an extraordinary young girl I am extremely proud to call my
daughter. This month, Karma is out of the country visiting friends and family in the
United States. She asked that I write to you this month in her place until she can get
back to Costa Rica and continue doing her part to save the rainforest.
Karma and I moved to this beautiful country over a year ago to pursue her
dreams of helping wildlife. Through volunteering with Kids Saving the Rainforest,
Karma has had the extraordinary pleasure of being able to make her dreams come true.
If you’d like to volunteer with KSTR, families with kids 12 and up are welcome to join the
Day Volunteer program!
When we came to this country, Karma’s biggest dream of all was to one day grow
up and become the Nursery Mom, the surrogate mother who cares for all the orphaned
and injured baby wildlife at KSTR. While she has now also developed the aspiration to
become a wildlife veterinarian, gaining the skills she needs to be the one who can really
save an animal’s life in those critical rescue moments, the care of baby wildlife is still
something that is near and dear to Karma’s heart.
Since she’s not here this month to tell you herself, I thought I’d give you a peek
behind the curtain of the wildlife nursery here at KSTR, and introduce you to one
extraordinary Mama who Karma really looks up to.
Dani Dion is the Nursery Manager of the KSTR wildlife nursery, although we
affectionately call her the Nursery Mom. (A behind the camera kind of girl, Dani prefers
to only show off photos of the babies in her care.) Dani has been volunteering with Kids
Saving the Rainforest for 6 years, working extremely hard in all areas. She has spent
time in the sanctuary, the veterinary clinic, the rescue center, and now has dedicated
herself completely to the orphaned wildlife in the nursery.
The babies that end up in the nursery have usually either been abandoned by
their mothers who sensed a problem with them, or their mothers were killed. All too
often, these deaths are caused by human encroachment, whether it is the animal being
electrocuted, struck by a car, attacked by a dog, etc. They are often weak, ill, and scared.
The babies are often placed with plush stuffed animals to cling to, replicating the
comfort they would have had from clinging to their wild mothers.
Dani works around the clock providing the babies with the care they need, while
still respecting their wild nature and giving them their best start on their journey back
into the jungle. The youngest ones need to be fed every two hours through the night, and
Dani is on call to provide them whatever they need, whether it be milk, medicine, fluids,
a tree climbing lesson, or acting as a cheerleader while a young sloth learns to poop. You
will often see her with a bag of leaves slung over one shoulder as she collects wild foods
for the young animals in her care.
The nursery is a restricted area kept far away from the stress other humans
might place on the recovery of the babies, or their chance at release back into their
rainforest homes. Only Dani, her nursery intern, and the vet visit this area, keeping the
babies safe, calm, healthy, and wild. Since you can’t visit the nursery, I’ve brought some
of the babies to you! Here they are:
Fozzie, a Two-Toed Sloth
Scnozzy, a Tamandua Anteater
Oliver, a White-tailed deer
Gonzo, a Chestnut Mandibled Toucan
Monty, a Three-Toed Sloth
JoJo, a White-Faced Capuchin Monkey
On that note, this Mama is signing out. Next month, my daughter Karma will be
back in paradise and ready to teach you more about how to help save the rainforest and
make the world a better place. In the meantime, if you find orphaned or injured wildlife
in the Manuel Antonio/Quepos area, send a Whats App Message to the Kids Saving the
Rainforest veterinary clinic staff at 88-ANIMAL and they can help!