Costa Rican wildlife rescue centers Rescate Animal ZooAve and Las Pumas receive international accreditation

HSI and the Ministry of Environment and Energy celebrated the occasion, which makes Costa Rica home to the highest number of accredited sanctuaries in Latin America with international standards

Humane Society International

  • HSI

Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy and Humane Society International celebrated the accreditation of two Costa Rica-based wildlife rescue centers: Las Pumas and Rescate Animal ZooAve for high animal welfare standards. The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries granted the accreditation after an extensive process of evaluation of the two facilities.

The Minister a.i Patricia Madrigal noted that: “This accreditation is a great step in the right direction to ensure that the wildlife entering the rescue centers will receive the highest standards of treatment. These rescue centers have excellence, scientific criteria and good protection as their principles. This initiative also strengthens the regulatory framework with which our country has to ensure the good management and conservation of wildlife, which is the heritage of all Costa Ricans.”

Article 103 of Costa Rica’s Wildlife Law asks rescue centers to meet international standards and that their conservation and demands animal protection work be science-based. This accreditation process included visits to the rescue centers, where the GFAS representatives assessed management, transparency, animal welfare and veterinary care, among other factors.

According to Jeanne Marie Pittman, director of GFAS for North and Latin America, thousands of entities worldwide are described as sanctuaries or wildlife rescue centers. However, the quality and nature of these facilities vary widely. Leaders of the largest animal welfare organizations in the world formed GFAS to distinguish those centers that comply with standards of care based on the best and most current management practices, enrichment and veterinary care of different species. Those facilities are committed to ethics in governance and transparency in their financial practices and management of the sites in general.

The Ministry of Environment and Energy, via National System of Conservation Areas, along with HSI/Latin America, participated in the accreditation process, providing necessary funding and technical assistance. HSI/Latin America also collaborated with the government to ensure the GFAS standards serve as basis for official rescue center accreditation nationally.

Andrea Borel, executive director of HSI/LA, said: “We congratulate Rescate Animal ZooAve and Las Pumas for achieving the highest form of accreditation for animal sanctuaries. These sanctuaries play a crucial role in the protection and rehabilitation of wildlife in Central America. Their accreditation also gives Costa Rica the distinction of being the country with the most rescue centers with high Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries standards in Latin America.”

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Media contact: Raul Arce-Contreras,

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