Gulf Caribbean Tours
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Exotic Wildlife Rescue Center

The jungles and rainforests of Central America are home to a huge array of exotic species, many of which are prized for their pelts, feathers, or as pets. They are captured, and then sold on the black market. Even though these activities are illegal, they are widespread in third world countries that do not have the resources necessary to protect their wildlife. The matter is further complicated by the fact that this practice, in many cases, represents significant income to a person who is otherwise impoverished and needs to be able to feed himself and his family.

Mature Jaguar being displayed in a small cage in front of a restaurant in Managua, Nicaragua.

When traffickers are caught it is usually by the MARENA that protect National Parks in the rural frontiers of a country. Such is the case in southeastern Nicaragua. The entire southeastern part of Nicaragua is one of the largest biological reserves in the world. The Rio Indio Maiz Biological Reserve covers 870,000 acres of untouched, pristine Central American rainforest and jungle. So many times when wildlife is recovered, it has been severely damaged or heavily drugged, and in either case it will not survive if it is released into the wild. The MARENA wants to help, but lacks the training, facilities, and resources needed to rehabilitate the animals. To make matters worse, the animals suffer even more when transported great distances from the frontier areas, for example, to a zoo in Managua, Nicaragua, for treatment.

 Macaws on display at a buisness

Recently there have been discussions between Nicaraguan officials and Dr. Lopez, the CEO of The Rio Indio Lodge, about the possibility of establishing an exotic wildlife rescue center on the lodge’s grounds. The lodge has several hundred acres of natural jungle habitat on the property, and it is the perfect location for treating recovered wildlife. Experts agree that if the animal isn’t transported and can remain in its natural habitat, its chances for survival and recovery are significantly increased. Dr. Lopez is very quick to point out that what is being discussed is not a tourist attraction like a petting zoo. The rehabilitation of wild species is very serious work, and contact with humans needs to be kept at an absolute minimum. The lack of contact greatly improves the animals' chances of survival after release.

 Mature Cougar living in a small pen as a pet.

Gulf Caribbean LLC, J. Vincent Phillips, Owner/Manager Contact: 601-954-2287 or

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