Friday, February 01, 2013

Parrots, and Monkeys, and Snakes: Oh My!

Pearl enjoyed feeding Casey, the Scarlet Macaw. Her wings are damaged so she will never return to the wild.

   Today we visited Jungla de Panama, a wildlife refuge near Boquete, Panama. They are a non-profit organization that exists to rescue and rehabilitate animals and educate people. They take in all kinds of animals, many of which are able to be released into the wild after some time. We spent a couple hours visiting with the animals and learning about how they came to be at Jungla de Panama. Jungla de Panama also works with local autistic children, who come spend time as part of a therapeutic approach to helping them. I love that they've integrated children into their program, and that these kids get a chance to help the animals as well. Our own kids had a wonderful time getting to see the animals up close! 
In the large bird enclosure, Raphael was trying to lure this parrot onto his arm. Instead, it landed on his head! 
He loved feeing the macaw! (I loved watching his happy face.) Raphael seems to love animals and lights up around them. I didn't get any good pictures of him feeding the capuchin monkeys, but he had a great time holding out sunflower seeds for them to take from his hand. I joke with him sometimes that I stole him from a monkey mama who was raising him, and that's why he's such a monkey.
I think this one was posing for the camera!
The kids got to dump some fruit and slop for the goats, and also enjoyed holding the babies and patting the tummies of two pregnant mama goats.
Peregrine got to be the first to hold the boa constrictor.  He had such a great time with all the animals, but he especially seemed to enjoy feeding seeds to the birds.
I was amazed at how much the kids enjoyed holding the snake and wrapping it around their necks! They didn't seem to hesitate at all. I personally was happy just to stroke its skin and felt no need to hold it. 
Even Pearl got in on the snake action! As I was tucking her in tonight, she said, "The monkey pulled my hair! It was so dangerous." One of the monkeys really did pull her hair, but I don't think she was in any danger. I liked her choice of words though.
Poppy checking out her accessory! She held the snake for a long time.
This busy little squirrel monkey has free reign of the property. They've tried to release her into the wild but she keeps coming back! Most of the animals that are released are taken to an uninhabited island where they're not threatened by people. Several of them had sad stories of abuse at the hands of humans. There is a resident spider monkey that was beaten as a baby and suffered brain damage. She is rather volatile, so they don't let the kids interact with her. 
The younger three kids all loved Fluffy, the bunny. We've been reading a Panamanian folk tale about a rabbit named Conejito. It's a trickster tale, which the kids seem to love. 
Poppy sat happily with Fluffy for a long time. If we were stationary, I think she's at an age where she'd be ready for a pet.
The weather here is amazing; sunny and warm one moment, and then clouds blow in over the mountain ridges and with them comes a fine mist. As we left Jungla de Panama, there was a low rainbow arching over the valley. It was so unusual to see one entirely in front of the mountains!


  1. Iddy, says she would be as brave as your girls and hold the snakes...the our same girls who wouldn't go near the bug at family they grow! :)

    1. I know... sigh. They do grow, so fast!

  2. Do you get tired of me saying how much I am loving your posts about your travels?? I hope not, because I really do!!

    We love snakes and birds too. Once we went to the zoo when the older kids were smaller and they got to feed the lorakeets, which they LOVED. The Jungla seems like a very responsible place and it was heart warming to read about a place that actually does things like that!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm glad you're along for the ride, Leanne!

  3. Hi Rebeca,

    We're glad to see you are feeling better and the family did make it to Boquete. Did you get the Mariposa "feel" on the main street, or is that my own delusion? You can tell the kids that they are all braver than me, as I am not likely to be holding any kind of snake.

    Be well and say hello to Erik for the two of us.

    Gary and Karla

    1. Thanks! I didn't hold the snake either! Not my cup of tea at all.
      You know, I never really spent any time in the town of Mariposa, as my grandparents lived in an outlying area, so I'm not sure! We really liked Boquete though, such a beautiful setting.
      I've passed your greeting on to Erik. So nice to hear from you!


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