Hi everyone! My name is Dani, and I am the spokeskid for Kids Saving the Rainforest.
We live in Manuel Antonio right now, and every day when we go outside, there’s a large guard dog! Well, he isn’t really a dog - he’s a Green Iguana, and he’s a big boy! We shouldn’t try to pet him, and we should respect his space just like we are social distancing these days. Except we always have to social distance with him, not just during a pandemic. We are lucky to live in a place where there’s lot of beautiful jungle. And we have to share this space, because we are in the *animal’s* jungle, not the other way around!
Another reason we should give wild animals space is because, if you get too close to them they might try to hurt you. You never know when you’re looking at a mommy or daddy, and there’s a baby nearby and out of sight. I know if somebody tried to steal me, my mom would hurt them! Most wild animals don’t want to hurt people, but if they are feeling scared or protective, they might try to hurt you.
It’s also important not to engage with wild animals because we can change their behavior and make them more like pets, and less like the wild animals that they are. At KSTR, there’s a spider monkey named Darwin, and before he was at KSTR, someone had kept him as a pet. And now, he cannot be released into the wild, because he learned that he needs to be dependent on humans for food, and wouldn’t be able to find his own food in the wild. Since Darwin was a pet, we don’t know who his mom and dad are, and so we can’t reunite him with his family. Darwin is also aggressive with new people, (maybe because he remembers bad things his previous owners did to him, or maybe because he’s a wild animal and just doesn’t like new people!). While we would all love to have a bear, a tiger, or a macaw as a pet, making a wild animal a pet is bad for the animal and dangerous for you!
In summary, don’t get close to wild animals and give them the space they need and deserve in this wonderful rainforest! If you love them from a distance they will always come back to see you!
The Kids Saving the Rainforest staff