Close to our Cabañita in Volcan, we stumbled across Raquel’s Ark, a small animal rescue center. In a house with the kitschiest angel fountain I have ever seen, this retired native American woman works close with the Panamanian National Environmental Authority (ANAM) to save animals otherwise doomed to be killed or sold as pets. Raquel was lovely, if only a bit eccentric, and let Max hold and touch most of the animals. The racoon loved Max’s AXE shower gel and tried desperately to sniff him out!

We all fell in love with “Boomer”, the 9-month old Howler Monkey a nun had saved from being sold on the black market after the poachers had shot his mother.

Max with Boomer
Baby Boomer’s mother was shot by a poacher to get the baby but a nun reported him and Boomer ended up with Raquel

As expected Molly was afraid to go near the animals and stayed at arm’s length. I, however, “jumped over my shadow” as they say and did NOT scream hysterically when Raquel handed me the sloths. They had arrived at Raquel’s as babies after their mother was killed at a road construction in Panama City.

Anna with sloths
Even with TWO animals on me, I was relaxed!

I was truly impressed by this woman and I hope many more will visit and donate money so that she can keep going! I had just taken the kids there to kill some time before our taxi arrived to take us back to David airport. But as a lot of things in life: the best experiences you have when you expect the least!

The Margay
The Margay is listed as near threatened since 2008 and was held as a pet before ending up with Raquel