The next stop in our day with friends was Raquel’s Ark in Volcan. Raquel has a number of interesting animals and birds which she cares for and clearly loves. Most are tame and enjoy visitors so it is a great place to see some of the wildlife of Panama up close.
The first were the sloths! These gentle and slow moving animals are usually seen high in trees where they are sometimes hard to spot. I have been lucky enough to see some on the wild, but only at Raquel’s have I had the chance to touch and hold one.
They feel solid with fairly coarse fur, and hang on well until they see something or someone else they want to investigate.
I like you and want to be with you.
Or, maybe the lady with the camera looks more interesting! (this one had recently lost a tooth and there was a bit of blood coming from the gum)
The bigger one decided to climb around on the roof supports for a while.
Selfie with a sloth
There were also coatimundi, aka coati who needed attention. One in particular loved to be held.
Cuddling and taking pictures, main activities of the hour.
Holly has found a great friend!
He seemed to love all of us.
More cuddle time
There were many more animals and birds to see!
Polly the parrot hangs out in the garden.
The coyote needed a bit of a talking to before guests could approach.
Me! me too!
The white face monkeys like to bite guests so we didn’t go in their enclosure.
The little kinkajou was woken up and taken out of his sleeping box.
Raquel told us that this kinkajou has traveled and worked with her a lot and has appeared in commercials.
This animal is nocturnal though, and soon climbed back to the sleeping box.
This beautiful cat was hard to photograph through the fences, but we would have to go through the monkey cage to get closer.
I’m not sure the monkey was happy to be left out of all the attention.
A coatimundi was so cute cuddled in the hammock with a raccoon.
The owl is blind and has to be hand fed. There was a smaller one like it in the box too.
This other owl is really beautiful. Raquel said she has let it go but it always comes right back.
The hydroponic garden has herbs and a lot of lettuce.
The talapia tank at the other end helps feed the plants.
This is a wonderful place to visit. We enjoyed seeing all the animals and birds, and it was great to talk with Raquel and learn more about the place, and hear stories of all her animals and birds. Many of them cannot be released because they are unable to manage in the wild or they are too accustomed to people, but she releases those who can safely be returned to the wild.
If any of you have a chance to visit this place I highly recommend it. Admission is free but donations are gratefully accepted to help with the food and upkeep of the animals. It is located right in Volcan and here is a map to help you find it. I think it is the only two story house in the area.
I will close with a video of Raquel giving the viewers a tour. It is a couple years old before the hydroponic garden was completed, but it will give you an introduction to the place in her own words.