Assistant in Wildlife Sanctuary Assistant in Wildlife Sanctuary Aranjuez, Puntarenas, Costa Rica NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary
Be part of the NATUWAS's team assisting in feeding the animals, animal enrichment, cleaning enclosures, maintenance of the sanctuary, and guiding tours for visitors.

13 Project overzichten van NATUWA Wildlife Sanctuary


Natuwa Macaw Sanctuary is a place that provides refuge and protection to the wild animals that have been victimized by human actions.

The Sanctuary

The Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA was created in the year 1994 by Costa Ricans Mainor Khayyan and Rodolfo Orozco for their grand admiration for the psittacidaes, like the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) and other wild parrots. In addition, the Sanctuary began as a result of their preoccupation with the constant threat that these emblematic birds face, the loss of their natural habitat and their extraction from the forest as pets. For these reasons there has been an incredible reduction in the population of native wild macaws in Costa Rica, further highlighting the importance of such a sanctuary of conservation.


The Macaw Sanctuary has the primary purpose to conserve native, wild macaws of Costa Rica and develop a captive management and breeding program to rescue, rehabilitate and reintroduce them into the wild, with support from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the National Police and volunteers from civil society. Additionally, the Sanctuary facilitates programs of ecological restoration, environmental education, ecotourism and wildlife rescue. 

The Macaw Sanctuary has been developing a native forest reserve to offer as a benefit to all the animals in the region, as well as those of the project. Since 2000, the trees we have planted have provided food, water and habitat to hundreds of macaws, parrots, sloths, iguanas and howler monkeys, both residents and visitors. Many migratory birds also temporarily visit this oasis to restore their energy and continue their continental journey. The vegetation of the sanctuary, with abundant almond beach trees, jobos, guasimos, senizaros also provides a permanent home for many animals in the area to find refuge.

The Macaw Sanctuary Natuwa recieves confiscated animals from the System of National Areas of Conservation (SINAC), National Police or Fire, and civil society volunteers. NATUWA supports the rescue, rehabilitation and liberation of the native fauna of Costa Rica.


The Macaw Sanctuary Natuwa has developed a guided, ecotourism experience for the Costa Rican society and international public. This personalized experience allows guests to make interesting observations and have their questions answered. During the guided tours, guests also learn about ecological themes focusing on the conservation of our forests and the protection of Costa Rican fauna.

Along the trails, visitors learn about the animal species that live in the Sanctuary – jaguars, macaws, tapirs, monkies, etc – their natural history and the actual problems that are impacting their extinction.

The ecotourism program also serves as a bridge with the local community, providing job opportunities and economic support so that we can continue to rescue, maintain and rehabilitate the animals.

The tour is exclusively lead by a guide. Before entering the sanctuary, visitors recieve an explanation of the important rules: 1.) Do not touch the animals; 2.) Do not talk to the animals; 3.) Do not feed the animals; 4.) Stay on the trails, etc. These rules are in place as to not cause any stress to the animals and to make the visitor’s experience more enjoyable.

At NATUWA, we are all animal lovers. However, being an animal lover comes with a lot of responsibility. It is our responsibility to direct our love in a positive manner. Loving an animal does not mean hugging, touching, or showing affection to an animal, but rather having scientific knowledge of how to care for an animal in a way that will allow it to succeed in nature.

Volunteering at NATUWA is a wonderful and unique experience that is perfect for people of all ages and all backgrounds. Volunteers will be able to positively impact the animals of the sanctuary, learn and practice Spanish, meet new people from all over the world and experience a different culture.

We need YOU! Each volunteer has a huge impact on the lives of the animals. With volunteers, we are able to make progress on all projects large and small. Together, we can directly improve the lives of the animals in captivity and focus our attention towards our rehabilitation and release efforts. All of which you can be part of! For more information please visit

The Reproduction Program of the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) provides opportunities for the animals to learn the necessary skills for eventual liberation in their natural environments. These skills are only learned through limited interaction with humans, something that many of the confiscated macaws did not have prior. The macaws that are born at the Macaw Sanctuary Natuwa learned these important skills from their parents and other macaws at the project.

The Sanctuary has modern infrastructure for each animal that inhabits the refuge  either temporarily or permanently that goes beyond the requirements requested by Costa Rican wildlife laws.

Enclosures generate the ideal space to promote physical and mental health of non-releasable animals to live together in dignity while in captivity. We also have management infrastructure that allows the rehabilitation of animals that are most fortunate to be prepared for later release into the natural environment for which they belong.

Currently the Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA has:
1. Area for keeping animals
2. Neonatal care
3. Veterinary clinic
4. Quarantine zone
5. Food preparation area
6. Residential area
7. Large enclosures that allow uninterrupted flight (200m circumference)


Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA, is located in the Communities of Aranjuez and Pithaya, Province of Puntarenas.

  • Sanctuary Rules for volunteers.
  1. No smoking inside or outside the facilities (Very Important).
  2. Do not talk to animals.
  3. Do not feed the animals (outside feeding time).
  4. When taking pictures, the use of flash is prohibited.
  5. The use of any type of drug is prohibited.
  6. Alcoholic beverages are not allowed.
  7. Be respectful of the staff of the sanctuary (sexual harassment, racism, homophobia or xenophobia will not be tolerated).
  8. Do not allow strangers (outsiders) to enter the sanctuary.
  9. Follow the safety rules according to the activity (gloves, helmet, eyeglasses, boots, pants).
  10. Do not carry any electronic device during working time (Cell phones and camaras).
  11. Insect repellents containing DEET are strictly prohibited.

Het voornaamste doel van het project is
Rodolfo Orozco Vega
Rodolfo Orozco Vega
Gesproken talen

Sociale impact

  • The Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA participates in the education of university students from the Universidad Tecnica Nacional (UTN), Univerdad Estatal a Distancia (UNED), Universdidad Nacional (UNA), through collaboration with their research towards their graduation theses. Amongst the theses completed are the following: Generation of Protocol for the Prevention of Parasites, Environmental Enrichment Techniques for Macaws, Environmental Education Program, Analysis & Correction of the Diets of the Santuary’s Animals, Genetics analisys, etc.


    For 23 years, the Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA has been dedicated to creating a place that provides shelter and protection for wildlife, such as ocelots, tapirs, monkeys, jaguars and some exotic animals, that can not return to their natural environment. Strategically set in a remote, quiet and far from area highways, the 15-hectare property is for the exclusive use of the Sanctuary’s activities.

Nagestreven duurzame ontwikkelingsdoelen

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