Another awesome video!

20 06 2010

Some people are really awesome. Some people come here and take awesome photos and send them to us (if you have awesome photos, send them to us! paradisegardensboquete@gmail.com). Some people take awesome videos and send them to us (same, same). Some people take awesome videos, edit them together, narrate and post them on youtube and send them to us. How. Awesome. Is. That.

Click here for Awesome.

This videos a bit old… the Hyacinth Macaws (the bright blue ones) are gone. Sumi the kinkajou is gone (the animal at the very beginning of the video, yawning with her long tongue). Han Solo the squirrel monkey is gone. The particular jaguarundi in this video is gone, but we have another one, just a cub, here now. But the message is still the same. We are not a zoo, we do not buy or sell animals. We are a rescue for animals who would not make it in the wild. We welcome guests and invite them to interact with the animals when it is in the best interest of the animals to have human interaction (for example the birds that will be here forever need talking to, Sam the Moluccan cockatoo loves getting his head scratched). We release animals as soon as they are able to survive in the wild. Anyway, great video, halfthrottle, and thank you so much for sharing it with us!

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Truth or Poison! Poinsettias Face the Facts.

17 06 2010

Walking around Paradise Gardens you will see a variety of beautiful plants. Some are deadly. Some are just pretty. So which ones pose a threat? I have already mentioned the trumpet flower, also known as angels trumpet, devils trumpet and, if your into Latin, Brugmansia (actually, that is a pretty cool name, I expect to see it popping up in the next vampire series. Edward and Bella meet Dracula and Brugmansia, sounds oh-so vampiresque, dontcha think?).

So the next one I was planning on writing about was poinsettias, that Christmas plant that everyone kills once a year (they are year round, they will live if you take care of them). I mean, everyone knows poinsettias are poisonous to cats, right?? And babies? So we can only assume they ought not be fed to capuchins or tamarins, or even the coati or the tayra. Not that the tayra would be willing to eat it anyway.

But wait… the internet, omniscient fountain of facts, tells me otherwise!

Poinsettias, it seems, got a bad rap way back in 1919 and have stuck with it since then (well, I would too if it kept me from being gnawed on by cats and babies). Apparently a baby died in 1919 after eating some poinsettia and ever since everyone has it in their head that they are poisonous. But no one proved that baby actually died from the poinsettia, and research now indicates that there is almost no way it could have. Nothing before or since has died from poinsettia poison. In fact out of 23,000 kids brought in for poinsettia exposure, none had any toxicity. The American Society of Florists tried to kill a rat with poinsettia but no luck there either. (If it had worked that would have given a new meaning to the line: ’twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse… yeah, ’cause they’d all eaten those poinsettia that were decorating windowsills.)

In fact, the florists (along with some Ohio State researchers) tested quantities so large that they decided a kid weighing 50 pounds would have to eat five to six hundred leaves in order to exceed the doses they tested in their research. So unless you have a lot of poinsettia plants and one very determined child poinsettia seem to be perfectly safe. And even if some kid ate 600 poinsettia leaves, there is no evidence that it would prove toxic or cause any problems other than indigestion and a freaky red stain around the mouth. Which, by the way, is what poinsettias were originally used for, red dye.





Volunteering makes the turtles happy!

2 06 2010

Volunteer Eddie repairing the second turtle pond

As you know, if you have seen our “About us” page, Paradise Gardens is completely run by volunteers. I am a volunteer. I sweep up the gardens in the morning and update the blog at night. I help feed the animals, give tours, chat with the birds, scratch Sam’s head and Lottie’s back. But do you know how many volunteers it takes to run this place? At least four. Jen is here all the time, she’s the resident volunteer. She’s the manager. Then there are usually 2-4 other people staying here and volunteering 40+ hours a week. Some of us (me!) are travelers who found this place and loved it so we stuck around. Some people come to Panama looking just to volunteer. Some are soon-to-be vets or animal management professionals or students with a love for animals. Some people stay for one month, some stay for six. And then there are the daily volunteers who stay in town, whether they are travelers or locals or expats, living here or just staying at Mamallena’s or studying spanish at the two spanish schools here. And then there are several long term volunteers who live here and have been volunteering here for years. They come once or twice a week and are a wealth of knowledge about the place and the animals.

So basically I’m saying… Paradise Gardens needs volunteers. We need you! If you’re hanging around Boquete, free time on your hands and want to help some animals, come volunteer here! If you need a place to stay, we can help you out. If  you have skills, we can use them. If you have no money, that’s ok, it’s free to volunteer here. Call or email or just come by! We want you!

Volunteering makes the turtles happy! See those smiles?!





Manolo, baby white faced capuchin

24 05 2010

Manolo arrived here about two months ago. He was a tiny baby and had a cut on his lip. This is the story we heard from the woman who brought him here, rewritten in his own voice for his introduction here at Paradise Gardens Wildlife Rescue.

Manolo when he arrived. As babies capuchin monkeys cling to their mothers backs so when he was first brought to Pardise Gardens Manolo was quite clingly to the volunteers who cared for him.

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Hello! My name is Manolo!

I am a white faced capuchin monkey. I’m from Bocas del Toro. As an infant, pet poachers threw stones at my troop in an attempt to get us babies to fall down so they could steal us as pets. I was hit in the face and fell off my mothers back. A nice lady saw me fall and scared the poachers away. We waited and waited but my mother never came back. I was too small to survive on my own so the nice lady brought me here to Paradise Gardens. I was bottle fed until I was big enough to eat fruits and veggies on my own. Now I will live at Paradise Gardens. When I am old enough I will move in with Monty and Billy, the older capuchin monkeys that also live here. Since we live in troops of 10-35 in the wild my caretakers are trying to figure out how we can be safely integrated into a troop and released. It may be difficult since wild capuchins are likely to kill strange males that approach their troops. I live for 45 years in captivity and 15-40 in the wild.

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Here is the information we had posted before along with Monty and Billy, our other two capuchins who have been here 3 and 4 years:

The capuchins are considered the most intelligent New World monkeys. The white faced Capuchin is named after the order of Capuhin friars: The cowls worn by these friars closely resemble the monkey’s head coloration. The range of the capuchin monkeys includes Central America (Honduras) and middle South America (middle Brazil, eastern Peru, Paraguay)

Capuchins are active during the day and spend most of their time in trees. With the exception of a midday nap, they spend their entire day searching for food. At night they sleep in the trees, wedged between branches. Among the natural enemies of the capuchins are large falcons, cats and snakes.

Manolo eating a banana (his favorite food) in the trees

The diet of the capuchin is more varied than other monkeys. They are omnivores, eating not only fruits, nuts seeds and buds, but also insects, spiders, bird eggs and small vertebrates. Capuchins living near water will also eat crabs and shellfish by cracking their shells with stones.

Among the best known monkeys, the white-faced capuchin is recognized as the typical companion to the organ grinder and for the role of “Marcel” in the popular television series Friends. It is a highly intelligent breed of monkey and has been trained to assist for paraplegic persons.





Jaguarundi Learns to Hunt, Part Two!

23 05 2010

Jaguarundi learns to hunt in the aviary

So we called around to the big cat rescues we have been in touch with and asked about how we could improve the baby jaguarundi’s hunting skills. She is living with two house kittens right now and we’ve been trying to catch mice everyday to throw in their cage. The problem is that the kittens are a bit older and a bit more advanced than the jaguarundi and so they catch the mice but, when we put three mice in the jaguarundi kitten tries but usually her mouse escapes through the wire of the cage. She isn’t fast enough and sometimes we only catch two mice in a night so we put them in and only the kittens get the mice. So the new idea… let the jaguarundi out to catch mice.

The mouse population in the aviary is out of control. Every time I go in there I see mice everywhere, stealing the birdseed and the bananas we leave out for the birds. We try to put the food in places that mice would have trouble getting to but they are smart mice. So it seemed to be the perfect place to let the jaguarundi loose to learn to hunt.

We tried it yesterday morning and this morning. We let the jaguarundi out by himself at first but he just sniffed the ground and the rocks and walked very slowly and cautiously. So we put the two kittens in there with him. They didn’t exactly get mice but they learned to stalk and pounce… each other.

Jaguar cub and Kitten Stalk each other

Stalking each other in the aviary

We tried it again this morning, first the white cat by herself. She seems to be the best hunter (we named her Artemis after the greek goddess of the hunt) so we thought that if she caught a mouse she could then show the others how. She chased the mice and caught two. Each time she ran around for a bit with them in her mouth, apparently looking for a good place to set it down. Each time she set it down in a corner, batted it around a bit, picked it up again, set it down and then it escaped. So we brought the other kitten (we named her Hestia in honor of the goddess of the hearth, also Artemis’s buddy, or so it is said) and the jaguarundi (Athena, goddess of war, buddy of Hestia and Artemis) and set them loose. They seemed to have no interest in controlling the burgeoning mouse population.  Instead the pounced on each other, again and again and again. So no mice caught but maybe its good practice.





A day of introductions: Mic and Jojo

20 05 2010

Today we wrote up signs introducing the newest animals and laminated them… and we’ll share some with you! Here is the first one, about Jojo and Mic, our newest Moluccan cockatoos who just joined us here at Paradise Gardens Wildlife Rescue a few weeks ago. We will post picture soon, of both the birds and their new introduction signs! And soon we will get all the other new animals introduced here!

Moluccan Cockatoo Jojo here in her new home at Paradise Gardens, Boquete, Panama

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HELLO! I’m Jojo!  And I’m Mic!

We are Moluccan Cockatoos.

We come from Indonesia. We were someone’s pet but they did not takes care of us and from them we learned naughty words. A different couple found out about our mistreatment and brought us to their home. Later that couple decided to move back to the US and wanted to make sure we had a safe home for the rest of our lives so they brought us to Paradise Gardens.  Since we have always been pets and are not native to Panama, we can never be released into the wild.

We live 65-125 years.

Jojo is fairly quiet but still loves to be talked to. Mic is very social and loves talking back. They both love music, so please whistle or sing to them!!

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Jojo and Mic (pronounced Mic) are typical of our rescued birds. They are beautiful and expensive but people buy them not realizing how much care they take. Both Jojo and Mic have distinct personalities and capabilities and to be a good caretaker for them requires time, patience and money. Luckily Jojo and Mic were rescued from their first negligent owners by some caring people. But even then they could not take care of them for their full lifespan (100 years is a long time!) which is why they are now living here. Hopefully Paradise Gardens Wildlife Rescue can be Mic and Jojo’s forever home!





A Brief History of Paradise

19 05 2010

Entrance painted by volunteers, Paradise Gardens Wildlife Rescue, Boquete, Panama

In 2002 Paul and Jenny Saban retired to Boquete, Panama from England with their pet cockatoo, Sam, two pet green winged macaws named Dollar and Ruby, a pair of Australian leadbeaters, a pair of Hyacinth Macaws and a pair of pair of pink galahs. Paul and Jenny had been breeders of rare tropical birds in the UK so the birds they had were in breeding pairs except for Sam, the cockatoo. In order to legally import and keep these birds Paul and Jenny applied for a license from ANAM, the Panamanian agency in charge of wildlife and the environment. ANAM was one of the first agencies to agree to the international CITES agreement which control the trading of rare birds in order to prevent poaching and their decline in the wild. Once licensed and living here Paul and Jenny began to convert the orange orchard they were living on into an amazing garden sanctuary for their own birds. Paul, a master stone mason, began work on paths and fountains while Jenny, an avid gardener, brought to life a true paradise of native trees, flowers and bushes. They both had experience in creating gardens in the UK and put there expertise to use here in Boquete, Panama

At the time Panama was lacking in wildlife rescue and rehab centers. Paul and Jenny began to take in birds that had been injured and rehab them. ANAM saw the wonderful work they did and the spaces available for the birds at Paul and Jenny’s and asked them to take in a few more injured birds from the local area. They accepted and built more large cages for scarlet macaws, and hyacinth macaws and a large aviary for smaller birds.

Soon word spread that Paul and Jenny were experts at caring for injured birds and local residents began bringing in other animals… a tiny tamarind that had been separated from his mother, an injured sloth, an ocelot cub too young to survive on its own but too big to stay in their house. Soon Paul and Jenny had a whole garden filled with an ark of different species.

Unfortunately all these animals were expensive to keep. There was the bird seeds, the fruits and nuts and eggs and meat, as well as live mice and chicks for the big cats. And for the animals that arrived due to injury there were the vet bills and the medicines and bandages and syringes (have you ever tried to give a shot to a capuchin monkey? Me neither, but I can only imagine, I mean they’ll steal your glasses off your face and then pee on your head, what would it take to get a needle close to them?!). As retirees Paul and Jenny’s funds were finite and would not infinitely expand to support the influx of animals. So they opened their home to the public, asking for 5 dollars as a entrance fee and any donations that visitors could give. The beautiful grounds earned the name Paradise Gardens. The rehabilitation and release of wild animals has always been the primary goal of Paradise Gardens. We specialize in animals native to the Boquete, Panama area but also take in animals from Bocas del Toro, the Darien and all over Panama.

Two years ago in 2008 Paul and Jenny were involved in a serious car accident. They were forced to return to England with almost no notice and have been unable to return since. The animals, of course, could not leave the country with such short notice. They stayed behind in enclosures and were taken care of by friends and neighbors, volunteers.

With Paul and Jenny back in England for what looked like a permanent stay the property was on the market. The gardens continue functioning supported completely by volunteers who care for the animals and the grounds and donations which cover food and medical expenses for the animals. Several people have come to look at the property but the fact that it is set up as an animal rescue will require a very special buyer with the patience and funds to support the constant in and outflow of animals.