Wildlife After the Wildfire

In the last few days, we’ve frequently said that “all” the Sanctuary residents survived the fire. That’s true in terms of humans, elephants, chickens, goats, cats, dogs, Alma the tapir, and Milo the sheep. Everyone that we feed and are responsible for survived. We know that those aren’t our only residents.

Wildfires can be devastating to wildlife. We must realistically acknowledge that not all the wildlife that call the sanctuary home survived the fires. We also know that many did. While 85% of our 2,800 acres burned, there were pockets throughout the land that remained untouched. The fire spared stretches along the creek beds, where it is more damp and lush. It moved around pockets of very tall palms and old-growth trees. Their extensive roots keep the soil moist enough that the fire moved around them. These areas provided “safe zones” for wildlife to go during the fire, and allowed many to survive.

It’s mango season here, and there are several incredible giant mango trees near the house (as seen in the video). Part of the reason the house didn’t burn is because all the ripe mangoes littering the ground provided moisture, as well as the tree’s vast root system. Two days after the fire, we awoke to find the mango tree covered in beautiful wild macaws, parrots, and parakeets. Sassy and Arya (two now-wild tapirs that graduated from our wildlife rehab and release program) have also shown up to eat mangoes from the yard. George (another “graduated” tapir) showed up at the house during the fire, seeking a safe place, which he found. He charmed quite a few firefighters (from a distance).

White-chested capuchins (a type of monkey) live in this region, and we see them regularly. Walking through an area that had burned, we saw a group of capuchins jumping from tree to tree and chatting away with each other. We looked throughout the area and didn’t see any that appeared injured or struggling. Near other areas of the creek beds, we have seen coatimundi and two of our slowest, lowest flying bird species (one that is similar to a partridge and the other similar to a whippoorwill.) During late-night feed, we also spotted two foxes by the pond and we have seen numerous deer during the day.

It’s the little moments, like last night, hearing the chorus of frogs for the first time since the last rains, that helps us sigh in relief and smile a little. It’s a balm for our souls to know that the sanctuary land provided protection for many wild animals and they too will be part of the recovery.

October 14, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Alejandra(Sandy)Enquin says


  2. REPLY
    arie says

    Of course we know there must be a lot of wildlife living at and in the neighbourhood of the sanctuary and I ‘m glad to hear many of them seem to be alright.

    I’m sure the elephants too enjoyed the frogs’ concert ?❤️

  3. REPLY
    Heidi says

    A beautiful post. I love how you always find joy, wonder, and renewal even in the toughest situations. Its an inspiration to me in my daily life as it is so easy to become disheartened by the constant bombardment of bad news. I wish more articles and stories showed the oases of hope hidden among the devastation. I love hearing about the monkeys chattering away as though nothing had happened and the impromptu mango party near your house! Your posts are like “safe zones” within all the negativity on the internet. Thank you!

    • REPLY
      Julie says

      Your post was nice too, Heidi! ?

      • Heidi says

        Aw, thanks!

    • REPLY
      Kelejan says

      I completely agree, Heidi. It is like our own oasis.

      • Heidi says

        Yes! A sanctuary for us, too!

    • REPLY
      Barb Campbell says

      Beautiful post ????

      • FRANCINE FORD says

        Thank you for these posts that bare proof to the fact that even after such an event as a devastating fire, life goes on. I envision what your words say;the parrots, monkeys, tapir all adjusting to the changes around them. So happy that all your animals have made it through. Thank you again for keeping us in the loop with your wonderful posts.

  4. REPLY
    Dianna says

    Glad so many of the wild animals could also find sanctuary with you. Makes my heart happy that they have a safe place to go to and would receive care if needed. You guys are the best

  5. REPLY
    Wim says

    Would be outstanding if the other wildlife survived the fires. In too many places around the world wildlife is burned to death. Very sad these events keep minimizing wildlife around the globe. Stay safe and sheltered.?

  6. REPLY
    Lila says

    Wow! Great to know all this. I did not know about the fire protection that old extensive roots can provide, that is very interesting. And the mangoes that damp the earth, oh, how I love mangoes. I love to know all the different kinds of animals that roam about the land, like foxes, deer, frogs and so many beautiful birds! What a paradise. All I am missing is the horse… is he still around?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Frederick passed away earlier this year. We had posted about it when it happened, although I know it’s easy to miss posts here and there. He was a very old man. There were no signs of anything bad happening, no illness beforehand. He was fine one day and we found him passed away the next.

  7. REPLY
    Elke Riesterer says

    Thank you for this post. Sharing how things are for the wild animals that survived is precious to me as I am tuning in daily with a pulsing heart directed to the wellbeing of ALL sanctuary animals – and people of course. too.

  8. REPLY
    Carol says

    Bless all the creatures you support and care for. And bless you human creatures!!!!??????

  9. REPLY
    Julie says

    And it is balm for our souls that you are the ones at the helm of this beautiful ship. It is in good hands, and that literally helps me sleep better at night!

  10. REPLY
    Sherry says

    I learn something new everyday. Thank you ever so much for news of the fire and how and why for the destruction. I surely
    hope there will be comfort for you all soon!????????????❤️

  11. REPLY
    Bobbie Stasey says

    Mangos and Macaws. Beautiful.

  12. REPLY
    Nishant Bhajaria says

    Kindness and love are the best medicine. Thank you for all you do.

  13. REPLY
    Sallie says

    I never understood or appreciated the huge scope of your sanctuary land until this fire threat. I do greatly appreciate understanding beyond the primary sanctuary and land, where the Girls wander, feed and mud wrestle. The concern for various wildlife must be huge, and quite a concern to your team. No one wants to see these animals suffer. My heart goes out to you all. Sending Love and Good Vibes . . .

  14. REPLY
    Bo says

    Nothing more beautiful and better than the purest views and sounds of nature and animals.

  15. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    I agree with Heidi, too. The sanctuary is also my little piece of Heaven. It is a place full of love for all life, an inspiration in these dark times.
    This post uplifted my spirits. The coming months will be of growth and renewal and, the sanctuary will once again be filled with the sounds of Nature.

  16. REPLY
    Beverly Singler says

    You guys are a balm to MY soul. Thank you for that!

  17. REPLY
    Carol Anderson says

    I had no idea that you have so many different animals living in the area. It is amazing that so many ended up in the sanctuary for safety. What a feel good moment to know you provided a safe place for them to go.

  18. REPLY
    Carey says

    I also had no idea of the diverse fauna that call sanctuary land home, which points to a rich variety of plants. To hear of the mango trees protecting your house is one of those things you wouldn’t consider and yet that’s what’s done there, double bonus with. Visiting wildlife. It must be jaw droppingly loud and raucous!!!! If much adjacent land is burned, any respite is a precious resource for all.
    I must have missed a post about the fire’s effect on your land, I had no idea 85% was burned, I’m sure it must have been shocking and incredibly hard work to put it out, and so hot. I hope your neighbour helps by NOT interfering with your fire-break in future. Neighbours need each other in such times. Do you still have your garden? Wishing you a long wet rainy season, and joy watching the regrowing, and the new “spring in the step” in the girls too!

    • REPLY
      EleComposer says

      No, unfortunately, the garden burned.

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