CARES Project Costa Rica

A veterinary externship on the front lines of conservation

experiencing veterinary intervention of problems threatening biodiversity. There is no better place to do so than in one of the world’s determined key biodiverse regions, the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica, where human encroachment and a country’s dedication to ecology coincide. The leadership and creativity developed in a field setting will serve participants in any veterinary career. In partnership with the Wild Sun Rescue Center, the AsoProLapa Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction Program, and a local sea turtle conservation project, students will participate in efforts to sustain a delicate ecosystem, and enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica!


Wild Sun Rescue Center

Wild Sun Rescue Center is the main location of CARES Project Costa Rica, situated in a natural jungle setting. Wild Sun is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, a newly formed center and lodging facility, dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of local wildlife. 

You will work hands-on with our vet in our ICU and primate nursery, providing the treatments and care of our patients.


Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction


AsoProLapa Scarlet Macaw Reintroduction Program began 20 years ago with Scarlet Macaws confiscated from the illegal pet trade.  It would take 3 generations of offspring to shed domestic behaviors and be safely reintroduced to the wild.

Sea Turtle Project


Local sea turtle conservation projects monitor the different species and their health, collect and track data relevant to nesting activity, move nests to a protected hatchery, and release baby turtles safely back into the ocean.

Local Domestic Animals


It is common to find stray dogs and cats in many developing countries. These animals may not only suffer from poor nutrition, trauma, and lack of preventive medicine, but they may also serve as disease reservoirs and threaten the local ecology.

There are not enough superlatives to describe the CARES Project and my experience there. I met and worked with amazing people who became dear friends and learned how to care for animals who I would otherwise have never encountered. Each student will have a unique experience because the demands of the environment will be different, but I can assure you, it will be no less amazing.” 



Anna Kristina Hugel
Gap Year Student
Loyola University
Update: Accepted to LSU Vet School

A local tourist town is observing a health problem in their native monkeys. CARES Project, veterinary externship program, is helping combat the problem at the Wild Sun Rescue Center. LaNave Animal, a Costa Rican TV show, comes to document the story.