Las Pumas Rescue Centre and Sanctuary, was founded in 1960 by Lilly Bodmer and her husband, Werner Hagnauer. Located in Cañas, Guanacaste, Las Pumas is a refuge for wildlife severely affected by loss of habitat, mistreatment, hunting and the illegal pet trade. In 2003, two years after Lilly’s death, the Hagnauer Foundation was created, and Las Pumas became part of the Foundation. The principal objectives of the Foundation are to give continuity to Lilly’s work and to counter the effects of deforestation, hunting and the illegal captivity of wildlife in the Guanacaste area. Las Pumas’ mission is to rescue, rehabilitate, release (when possible) and provide quality of life to the wildlife in Costa Rica, while enhancing respect towards these animals and raising awareness of the need for their protection. Annually, Las Pumas rescues around 250 animals, comprising of 60 different species, of which more than 50% are successfully released back into the wild. When release is not possible, the animals are provided a life-term home in the Sanctuary, which currently shelters more than 140 animals. Since they started keeping record in 1983, Las Pumas has rescued more than 2,665 animals. Las Pumas is also actively involved in several awareness raising campaigns and delivers educational activities in local communities and schools. Their objective is to increase local involvement in protecting the wildlife in the area and to educate the community on how to act when they come across distressed or injured animals.
Due to the travel restrictions and safety measures implemented after the onset of the pandemic, Las Pumas had to suspend all educational visits between April-August 2020. During this period its main source of income dropped by 70%, forcing Las Pumas to dramatically reduce expenses. Support from the Scheinberg Relief Fund is being directed to cover the centres operating expenses for 3 months, to purchase essential veterinary equipment, facilitate the completion of urgent repairs and infrastructure improvements, and to employ a member of staff dedicated to working full-time on diversifying the centre’s income streams to create long-term sustainability and reduce its dependence on visitor generated income.