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Las Pumas Rescue Center and Sanctuary was founded by a couple from Switzerland: Mr. Werner Hagnauer and his wife Mrs. Lilly Bodmer. They arrived in Costa Rica in 1959 when Mr. Werner came to work at the well-known “Hacienda La Pacífica” in Cañas, Guanacaste. In 1971 they bought the ranch, continuing with the project of sustainable farming. 


At that time, deforestation in Guanacaste was at its highest point, so several wild animals lost their habitat or were caught to be kept as “pets” or for illegal trade. That’s why Mrs. Lilly, who always had a conservationist vision, started to receive wildlife from particulars, MINAE officers, and she even bought some of the animals to save their lives and provide them with a proper care. In 1985, they decided to sell the ranch and maintained about 25 Ha where, in 1989, they founded what we now know as Las Pumas Rescue Center and Sanctuary. 


Mrs. Lilly passed away in 2001 and Mr. Werner in 2015, but they both left an invaluable legacy for wildlife conservation in Costa Rica: Las Pumas Rescue Center and Sanctuary. 


In 2001, when Mrs. Lilly passed away, Mr. Werner and some friends decided to create the Hagnauer Foundation in her honor. This Foundation is a non-profit organization in charge of the administration and funds of Las Pumas Rescue Center and Sanctuary.

The Foundation obtains its funds from the entrance of visitors to our Sanctuary, as well as from donations, sponsorships, activities and sale of souvenirs. 


The Board of Directors is formed by 5 members, who oversee the management and administration of Las Pumas Rescue Center and Sanctuary.

Verena Hagnauer


Mrs. Verena is the daughter of the founders. She was born in Switzerland, but she has lived in Costa Rica for more than 50 years. She has always been directly related to the work at Las Pumas Rescue Center and Sanctuary. She represents the Municipal Power in our Board of Directors.

German Aguilar


Neighbour of Tilarán and officer of the Arenal-Tempisque Conservation Area of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), he represents the Executive Power in our Board of Directors. 

Dany Huber


Dany is neighbour of Cañas and the grandson of the founders. He has been involved in the evolution and changes of our organization. 

Mario Ossenbach


Mario currently lives in San José, but he is the owner of a land dedicated to the conservation of dry forest in Guanacaste, so he has always been interested in supporting initiatives related to wildlife protection. 

Nicole Wilke


Neighbour of Cañas, she is of Swiss descent, but she has lived in Costa Rica for more than 40 years. She is an animals lover as Mrs. Lilly was. 


Our objective is the rescue, rehabilitation and release of wildlife received in a situation of vulnerability. Unfortunately, not all the animals can go back to nature, so we have two independent parts which work together: The Rescue Center and the Sanctuary. 

The Rescue Center is completely closed to public, since here we rehabilitate the animals that will have the possibility to be released, so they shouldn’t be in contact with people. Know better the work we do in our section “The Rescue Center”!

On the other side, in the Sanctuary we maintain the animals that were rescued and rehabilitated but for some reason couldn’t go back to nature. Know more about the animals that you will see when you visit us on our section “The Sanctuary”!


Rescue, rehabilitate, release and guarantee the quality of life of the wildlife in Costa Rica, motivating the respect and love to these animals and also educating about their nature.


To be a self-sufficient NGO to consolidate and optimize environmental education programs while we rescue and rehabilitate wildlife at risk situations.


Thanks to our labor in wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release, as well as in environmental education, we obtained important certifications:


Certification from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS) 

In 2017 we obtained the GFAS Certification, becoming the second Rescue Center in Costa Rica with this important award. 


Our staff is formed by a great team where respect, trust and communication have been the key to maintain an equilibrium and give our best effort for the welfare of our rescued animals. 


Martha Cordero

She is our Regent Veterinarian and has more than 20 years specialized in wildlife. She is in charge of the medical attention, care and husbandry of all the animals that arrive at our Rescue Center. Moreover, she collaborates with SINAC officers to attend cases that require handling and veterinarian attention.

Yessica Alemán

She is in charge of the attention of our visitors in the Reception. She is also part of the Environmental Education and Extensionism Program, collaborating in the attention of groups at Educative Centers. Besides, she cooperates elaborating signs and murals for the Sanctuary area.  

Maikol Rosales

He is the assistant of our Veterinarian, supporting her in the clinic management and husbandry of the animals of the Rescue Center. Additionally, he collaborates with the activities in the Sanctuary, like the cleaning and maintenance of the enclosures and green areas.  

Frandy Rojas

He is part of the green areas maintenance and also collaborates cleaning enclosures, preparing the food and feeding the animals at the Sanctuary. 

Esther Pomareda

She is our Regent Biologist, also in charge of the Environmental Enrichment Program and the Sponsorship Program. She collaborates with the Regent Veterinarian in the management and destination of the animals and supports the Environmental Education and Extensionism Program, as well as the Volunteering Program.

Marta Elena Venegas

She is a biologist and works as our Environmental Educator giving guided tours at the Sanctuary, either to Educative Centers or tourists. Moreover, she collaborates with the Volunteering Program and coordinates the Ecologic Blue Flag Program in our organization. 

Frailin Rojas

He is in charge of the maintenance and infrastructure area, the use and maintenance of the equipment, tools and enginery, as well as buying supplies and materials and transporting and slaughter of cows donated to feed our wild cats.

Luis Ángel Carvajal

He is the security guard of the Rescue Center and Sanctuary, ensuring the security of our facilities and animals.

Rossy Segura

She is in charge of the administration and the staff management. She also collaborates with reception tasks and with the coordination of the Volunteering Program.

Raúl Cordoncillo

He is the caretaker of our animals, cleaning their enclosures, preparing their diets and feeding them. He also collaborates with our Veterinarian in the clinic management of the animals and assists our Biologist in the Environmental Enrichment Program.

Marvin Cerdas

He is the assistant of the maintenance and infrastructure area and also backs up the transport and slaughter of livestock to feed our wild cats.

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