• Share to Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Email
    • Print

October 7, 2011

Latin American Wildlife Rescue Centers Emerge as Regional Leaders in the Fight to Save Native Species

Humane Society International

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica — Humane Society International, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, is launching the Latin American Wildlife Rescue Center Network, known in Spanish as CREASLA (Centros de Rescate de Vida Silvestre en Latinoamérica), this week.  The Network’s founding members are animal rescue centers from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua with years of experience that are linking to share their expertise with their colleagues throughout Latin American.  To further this goal, HSI developed an Internet forum aimed at providing a space to share expert information on how to run a rescue center and care for animals confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade, many of which are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

“The founding members of CREASLA have worked very hard over the past 10 to 20 years to develop techniques to manage wildlife rescue centers effectively. Now that they have come together in a learning network, we hope they share their valuable information not just among themselves but with other emerging rescue centers throughout Latin America,” said Mike Skuja, director of wildlife development programs for HSI.

The forum covers such diverse themes as administration and fundraising, animal nutrition, protocols for running a rescue center, animal health and rehabilitation, environmental education and community relations, scientific studies, and any other information needed by CREASLA’s members. With the illegal wildlife trade increasing every day, rescue centers need to be responsive and aware of issues that overlap in other countries, and how cross-border smuggling affects their own work and that of their neighbors in bordering countries.

CREASLA’s founding members include:

ARCAS (Guatemala): www.arcasguatemala.com
FAZOONIC (Nicaragua): http://www.manfut.org/zooAdvocacy.html
ZooAve (Costa Rica): http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/zooave
Humane Society International: www.hsi.org

An unnamed rescue center currently under construction in El Salvador will also be part of CREASLA’s inaugural lineup.

More information on CREASLA can be found at creasla.org 


  • Since 2003, HSI has worked in Latin America with national governments and local non-governmental organizations to foster the implementation of domestic environmental laws and international agreements such as CITES, to preserve the region’s rich biodiversity.
  • CITES is a treaty that governs the international trade in endangered plants and animals and establishes guidelines on how to handle confiscated wildlife including the fact that each country should establish a rescue center or an appropriate place to receive and treat these animals.
  • The illegal trade in wildlife is estimated to be more than $10 billion annually, surpassed in money only by the illegal trade in drugs and arms.
  • HSI has worked to strengthen rescue centers by providing infrastructure support grants and technical assistance to improve the ability of centers to treat, rehabilitate and, where appropriate, release confiscated wildlife back to the wild.
  • The shortage of viable rescue centers limits the region’s ability to rehabilitate and release wildlife to reinforce native populations that have suffered major losses due to habitat destruction and poaching.

Follow HSI on Twitter.

Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide — On the Web at hsi.org.