A Costa Rica Without Monkeys?

Howler monkey and baby

“I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

Dr. Seuss wrote the quote above in his well-known book, The Lorax.  Published in 1971, it is a timeless book for children but appropriate for all ages, written as a reminder of how important trees are for not only human existence but for all who live on our beautiful planet.

In my daily life of trying to live consciously, I try to let my actions speak for the trees and for those who live in the trees and have no voices – or at least none that we can really understand.  But they deserve to be here, just as much as you and I.

The photos below from Nosara Wildlife Rescue occurred only a few weeks ago.  And it’s tragic.  And sadly, it happens all the time due to both uninsulated electrical lines as well as developers cutting down trees in order to build new community developments. Without natural biological corridors for these animals to travel through, they are left with swinging onto electrical lines and being electrocuted and killed or severely maimed. The harsh reality is, not all photos can be like the one above.  The truth isn’t always pretty. Even in the Lorax, we could see dark and dismal images of a world without trees and wildlife.  And so I am choosing to post the photos below in order for us all to understand the reality and hopefully to inspire you to take some type of action to prevent these incidences from continuing to happen.

Electrocuted Howler Monkey in Nosara 2 - Nosara Wildlife Rescue

Electrocuted Howler Monkey in Nosara - Nosara Wildlife Rescue

The mother above had to be euthanized due to severe burns from being electrocuted by uninsulated electrical lines in the Nosara area.  The baby is currently being cared for by Refugio Animales de Nosara and will eventually be transferred to Sibu Sanctuary with the expectation that it will be released into the wild once it’s old enough and can care for itself.  Unfortunately though, the story only gets worse: over 35 electrocuted monkeys were found in that 2 week period.  And those are just the ones that were found.

From recent correspondence with the founders of Nosara Wildlife, “We continue to work with ICE and another company out of San Jose called CFS Sistemas. This company imports transformer covers and other parts for insulating the lines.”  ICE is the national electric company here in Costa Rica and Nosara Wildlife is working with ICE to get the electrical lines in rural areas like Nosara insulated.

This last week, I started working with Titi Conservation Alliance in Manuel Antonio.  The Mono Titi (AKA Squirrel Monkey) is the smallest of all monkeys here in Costa Rica and the grey crowned titi is only found here on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast.  Let me say that again – this little species is ONLY FOUND HERE in this one small section of Costa Rica.  And it’s listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List.

Costa Rica's Grey crowned Central American Squirrel Monkey

My house is built near one of the titi’s wildlife corridors and there are days when these little animals are swinging through the trees, less than 2 feet from my patio.  I love being able to watch these sweet creatures and hear them talking amongst each other and see them playing together.  But I also know they are just a few of only 2,500 in total that exist in the world (compared to the 200,000 that was estimated in the early 80’s).  Which makes these moments that much more special and yet saddens me so much that future generations may never get to experience these monkeys in a live, natural setting.

But, we can change that…we could heed the final words of the Lorax… “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

We can choose to care…a little or a lot.  Every choice makes a difference.  Every time you bring your cloth bags to the market, you’re choosing not to cut down a tree for a paper bag.  When you choose not to eat beef that was raised on a clearcut rainforest, you are making a positive difference. You can choose to support these two organizations with your money and/or time or support other organizations also working to care for our precious planet.  You can choose to just talk about this post and share it with others, creating awareness about the issue for those who may not know.

The Nosara Wildlife Team and the Titi Conservation Alliance team are both very small groups of dedicated men and women who want to save and protect the diminishing numbers of monkeys here in Costa Rica.  They work tirelessly, day and night, for very little, if any, pay.  But they are totally committed to creating change here and protecting these animals, and their habitats, now and in the future.

I cannot imagine a Costa Rica without monkeys.  Can you?  How can you make a positive difference so that all generations will have the opportunity to see these beautiful new world primates in the wild?

The greatest danger to our future is apathy.” Jane Goodall

Nosara Wildlife Rescue: www.nosarawildlife.com

Titi Conservation Alliance: www.monotiti.org

Pura vida…Chrissy

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