On March 1st, I photographed each moment as baby Manuka was rushed into the veterinarian clinic of Toucan Rescue Ranch - eyes closed and umbilical cord still attached.
Manuka is a kinkajou (Potos flavus), which commonly occur on the Caribbean and Pacific slopes to middle elevations of Costa Rica and are the most commonly spotted nocturnal mammal in the country.
Luckily, the species are not endangered and are important to our ecosystem because they are pollinators just like bees! As a kinkajou travels from flower to flower to drink nectar, the flower's pollen sticks to their face and then smears off at the next flower. This is why they have such long tongues!
It is said that Manuka was found on the forest floor, abandoned by its mother in the Caribbean slope of Costa Rica. After an overall evaluation, it was discovered that he was just one week old which required him to be bottle-fed and placed in an incubator for the foreseeable future.
Today, he is almost 3 months old and is learning to eat on his own, climb small branches, and grow into his adorable little body. It has been an honor to photograph him as he becomes the strong kinkajou that we had all hoped for him to be.
Success stories like Manukas are exactly what fuels my drive.
Stay strong, Manuka!