I know I said I was taking a short break from writing unless something extraordinary happened. And it did. Really no surprise, I suppose. I live in the jungle and life is never dull here!
Yesterday, while I was working, I saw a troop of squirrel monkeys playing in the trees a few feet away from the window. Incredibly distracting but so fun to watch.
But after a few minutes, I heard a loud crash (never a good sound) and monkeys scrambling to the tree right outside the window. They were all screaming and frantically moving around the canopy. I looked down and could see one monkey moving slowly through the shrubbery below me and it finally popped out and sat uncomfortably on a tiny branch.
I ran outside and my heart nearly broke. There on the slope was the fallen monkey shaking and scared, unable to move. All of its troop was higher up in the trees, looking down, also not moving.
I made several phone calls to local friends who told me to call a nearby hotel that could help treat the wild animal but as it turned out, the hotel couldn’t come and get the monkey. They told me I had to bring it to them. I’m now looking at this still shaking monkey and wondering how was I going to get him without putting us both into a state of total panic.
Thinking back to having cats and the days of catching them for visits to the vet, I figured I could maybe get a towel, throw it over the monkey, reach up on the slope to get it and put it in a box. Then call a taxi to take me and the monkey to the hotel. I was still unsure though as 1. you know I never like to interact with wild animals and 2. I wasn’t sure if I should take him away from his troop. I felt really bad as he’d probably never find his friends again if he was released back into the wild after being treated.
45 minutes went by of me making phone calls and watching this shaking monkey, who offered no signs of being able to actually move from where he was at, so I called one more friend, Johan, and fortunately he was done with work for the day and still in Quepos. He came over a few minutes later but in that short amount of time, the capuchins (white faced monkeys) had arrived on the south side of my house. Let’s just call them the gangsters of the monkey world. At this point, more screaming was coming from the squirrel monkeys, as the capuchins are a predator for them, and now they were all running towards the north end of my house. I found them on the staircase and in the tree next to it, still screaming. But I could no longer find the injured monkey. I checked every capuchin I could see to make sure none of them had taken my poor little injured monkey.
After Johan arrived, my neighbor found the monkey hiding under the water heater on the north side (hence why all his friends were now on that side of the house, bouncing around the staircase). So at least we knew it could move. Johan took the towel and carefully and slowly moved towards the monkey but it ran up the hillside before he could grab it. And then it disappeared into the dense brush.
I really hope that the monkey was just in shock from the fall and that it wasn’t adrenaline from being chased by capuchins that made it capable of moving again. My concern is that if it was adrenaline, eventually that will wear off and he will be in pain again if he broke a leg or injured some other part of his body.
These little endangered monkeys were so sweet through the whole ordeal. Normally they only use my house as a bridge between the jungle landscapes and pass through quickly but the troop stayed put and stood by their friend, watching over him, every step of the way. I really hope that he is once again with his troop, hanging out in the canopy of the trees and enjoying a good meal of leaves, flowers and berries.
Oh and in the middle of all of this, if that wasn’t enough, two black mandibled toucans decided to come by for lunch on the banana tree. Thanks to Johan for the correct name of this awesome bird species.