As the founder and director of Cabuya, Costa Rica’s Wild Sun Rescue, Jeremy Levine has devoted more than 15 years to the conservation of endangered wildlife, specifically monkeys.
Because of deforestation, Costa Rican monkey species have lost huge portions of their habitats, leaving them prone to falling fatally from trees, being hit by cars, and being electrocuted, as 98% of the country’s power lines are not insulated.
According to their website, Wild Sun Rescue seeks “to rescue, rehabilitate, and release native animals that were sick, injured or orphaned.”
But what led to Jeremy, a US native with no background in biology, finding a home in Costa Rica and dedicating himself to wildlife preservation?
What Led Jeremy Levine to Costa Rica?
Jeremy was born and raised in New York. While animals were always of interest to him, he didn’t even consider making conservationism his career until long after college.
He initially sought a career behind the camera, majoring in film at Syracuse University. Shortly after graduation, he migrated to Los Angeles.
While he didn’t become a filmmaker, in LA he discovered a new passion: business. He began attending the University of Southern California in pursuit of an MBA.
One year, between semesters, he traveled to Costa Rica to learn Spanish, as he felt that knowing the language would make him more hirable within the business world.
To his surprise, he became enamored with the country, and he decided it would be the setting of his first business, a school that taught Spanish, surfing, yoga, and fire-dancing.
How Did Jeremy Levine Enter the Conservation Field?
While Jeremy’s school was a success, there was a void in his life; he didn’t feel that operating the school alone was making a meaningful difference in the world.
But after the shut-down of an animal rescue center down the road from his school, he had an epiphany. He could purchase the rescue center, start a new business that picked up where the old one had left off.
“I thought of myself as a 10 year-old,” he said. “I would become what would’ve been my own hero when I was that age.”
Jeremy purchased the property and spent years studying ins and outs of animal rescue centers.
He hired a team of biologists and veterinarians. Their expertise coupled with his business savvy made Wild Sun Rescue the monumental non-profit it is today.
What Do Jeremy Levine and Wild Sun Rescue Do?
Wild Sun’s primary goal is to nurse injured animals—primarily monkeys—back to health and re-release them into the wild.
Because of habitat destruction, hit and runs, poaching, and electrocutions, much of Cubaya’s wildlife is at heightened risk of injury.
Injured animals are brought to Wild Sun, where a team of veterinarians help them to recover. Before being released, they are placed in a controlled area of over 250 acres; here, there is little to no human interaction.
Animals are able to refamiliarize themselves with their natural environment until it is time to be brought back to the wild.
Aside from wildlife rescue, Wild Sun Rescue hosts internships for future biologists and veterinarians interested in conservation; this gives people pursuing these careers a chance to gain real-world experience.
How Is Jeremy Levine Able to Fund Wild Sun Rescue?
As is the case with most non-profit organizations, the biggest hindrance to operating Wild Sun Rescue is finding funding.
Through their Patreon page, they make roughly $2,600 per month, hardly enough to cover the $20,000 per month cost to maintain WSR. However, this is where Jeremy’s business savvy comes in.
“I find myself creating businesses to finance the organization,” he said. “I founded a hotel, the revenue of which funds the rescue center. Our internship program is a micro-business.”
“In the summer of 2024, we’ll be hosting a summer camp for kids,” he detailed. “And we’re about to open a restaurant and bar. All of these ventures will fund Wild Sun.”
Clearly, Jeremy’s business experience has played as important a role in Wild Sun Rescue as has the work of his biologist and veterinarian teammates.
What Are Jeremy Levine’s Aspirations for Wild Sun Rescue?
In collaboration with Vernon Arias’s organization ASOPROLAPA, Wild Sun Rescue has contributed to the reintroduction of the scarlet macaw species into the Nicoya Peninsula.
Seeing the macaws once again occupying their native region has been inspiring for Jeremy, and he wishes to do for the endangered spider monkey species what he and Vernon have done for the scarlet macaws.
“The conservation of the spider monkey is our aspiration,” he said.
In spite of the prominence of deforestation, Jeremy is optimistic that in the future, humans will work together to make their environment more accommodating towards wildlife, so that even endangered species will be able to once again flourish as they were intended to.
“There are things that are under our control, and there are things that are out of our control,” he said.
“I see the environment around me, and I want it to be a better place for my children and for me. My hope is that I can inspire other people to do the same things, to do them even better.”
Jeremy Levine Is a Hero
According to Jeremy, a hero is one who sacrifices for the greater good. With an MBA from USC, he could have easily been an affluent businessman.
However, he instead chose to give his time to the care of endangered species. Through his work, Jeremy Levine makes the world a better place.
Wild Sun Rescue Resources
Learn more about Wild Sun Rescue Center.
Donate to Wild Sun by becoming a member, making a wish list purchase, or with a one-time gift.
Sponsor the care of a specific animal by symbolically adopting one.
Help Wild Sun expand and improve wildlife enclosures for sick, injured and orphaned animals.
Shop Wild Sun merch, where 100% of the proceeds go towards supporting animal rescue efforts in Costa Rica.
Volunteer to take care of the animals.
Develop your career in wildlife biology, conservation, veterinary medicine, and more by interning.
Contribute to the welfare and conservation of the rescue center’s animals by vacationing at the Wild Sun Jungle Resort.
Meet Wild Sun’s animals on Instagram.
Get updates on their rescues on Facebook.
Watch their animals monkey around on YouTube.