Meet Our Team

John Merritt

John Merritt is an innovative lifelong entrepreneur with a special dedication to wildlife, the environment and developing natural based products for retail markets. With over 20 years experience building a wide range of companies each from scratch, John has leveraged his successes into his ultimate goal and passion – saving wildlife in Costa Rica and ending the illegal wildlife trade in that country.

In 2012, John moved to Costa Rica and purchased 500 acres in the southern zone that would become the Lazy J Wildlife Refuge. John spent 6 years on the mountain developing the property and building the iRescue® Wildlife Care Center. Approved and sanctioned by the government of Costa Rica, iRescue® Wildlife was developed by John to care for the sick, imperiled, injured and domesticated wildlife that can never be released. John’s greatest sympathy and passion is directed towards helping these specific types of animals.

His ultimate goal is to further develop iRescue® Wildlife into the premier wildlife care center for the most hard case animals and those that need the lifelong retirement services that iRescue® is designed to provide.

With a well-polished staff at iRescue®, John is now focusing on for-profit projects outside the country each designed create revenue for iRescue® Wildlife. His current company creates botanical extracts from medicinal hemp to be used as natural supplements.

Mike Graeber

Mike Graeber

My name is Mike Graeber. I am the managing director of the iRescue Wildlife Sanctuary. Working with wildlife began for me at the age of about ten years. That's when I found a baby bird (it was a Blue Jay) on the ground. I fed it worms and bugs every few hours for about three weeks and then one day it flew away. It was a moment that left a huge impression on me, as well as a life long desire to be around, work with, and help when necessary the wild creatures of the world.

I spent many years volunteering in animal sanctuaries, in many places but mostly in the United States and in the year 2000, I made the move to Costa Rica. During my years here in Costa Rica, I have continued to rescue and help the animals of the southern pacific zone, both domestic and wild, by founding one domestic animal group and two previous wild animal sanctuaries ( Osa Santuario de Animales and Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary )... Now the iRescue Wildlife Sanctuary exists!.. A very special place with a very special mission. Here we are committed to providing permanent care and housing to those creatures that cannot return to the wild as a result of an encounter with a human or civilization.

As director of the iRescue sanctuary I plan to continue helping the wild animals of Costa Rica, and create a facility devoted to this cause.

Flavia Fiorillo

Flavia Fiorillo

This is Flavia Fiorillo, the newest member of our staff. She came here from Pescara Italy to help us perform our mission of animal care and quickly became an irreplaceable asset to our team. She is great with the animals and even better with people. Her optimism and positive energy are endless.

Juan Luis Torres Vargas

Juan Luis Torres Vargas

This is Juan Luis Torres Vargas...Juan is the general manager of the mother farm where IRescue is located. Juan handles all construction and maintenance and is the go-to guy for anything that anyone here needs..his knowledge of local animals, plants and people is fundamental to the workings of this sanctuary... we would be unable to do this without Juan Luis Torres Vargas.


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