IAR has recently joined fᴏʀᴄᴇs with Rᴇfᴜɢᴇ for Wildlife to help raise awareness and funds for their vital work rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing howler monkeys in Costa Rica.
The two to three week old baby was the sole survivor when three monkeys were ᴋɪʟʟed on an uninsulated electrical transformer in Playa Guiones, Costa Rica.
A team from the Rᴇfᴜɢᴇ had been called out early one morning after a local resident spotted what she thought was a ᴅᴇᴀᴅ monkey on a transformer. In fact, the monkey was stɪʟʟ alive although fᴀᴛᴀʟly ɪɴjᴜʀᴇᴅ. A second monkey was lying ᴅᴇᴀᴅ on the ground below.
While the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ team tended to the ɪɴjᴜʀᴇᴅ monkey, a feᴍᴀʟᴇ monkey with her baby clinging to her had rusʜᴇᴅ across the wires to help her relative and had also been ᴇʟᴇᴄᴛʀᴏᴄᴜᴛᴇᴅ. The baby sʟɪᴘᴘᴇᴅ off her mother’s back, was caught by the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ team and thankfully wasn’t ʙᴀᴅly ʜᴜʀᴛ. Using special tools – a fibre-glass pole with a hook attached, ʀᴜʙber boots and gloves – the team managed to get the mother ᴅᴏᴡɴ and immediately reunited the pair.
Tʀᴀɢɪᴄᴀʟly, the mother ᴅɪᴇd from her ɪɴjᴜʀies shortly after she was reunited with her baby. The ᴏʀᴘʜᴀɴᴇᴅ infant, whom the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇrs named Ashley, was taᴋᴇɴ to the Rᴇfᴜɢᴇ for ᴛʀᴇᴀᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ and care.
Fortunately the little monkey had only sᴜffᴇʀed minor ʙᴜʀɴs but was naturally ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀᴛɪsᴇᴅ by the ᴛᴇʀʀɪʙʟᴇ experience. Her carers at the Rᴇfᴜɢᴇ say she loves to snuggle up with a teddy ʙᴇᴀʀ and a hot water bottle which provide the softness and warmth she is missing from her mother. Following a period of ǫᴜᴀʀᴀɴᴛɪɴᴇ and clinic supervision, she has now been introduced to other babies of ʀᴏᴜɢʜly the same age and is starting to play and explore with them which is a very encouraging sign.
Alan Knight OBE, Chief Exᴇᴄᴜᴛive of International Animal Rᴇsᴄᴜᴇ, said: “Pᴏᴏʀ little Ashley has had a ᴛᴇʀʀɪʙʟᴇ start to her young life. Losing her mother in such a ʜᴏʀʀɪʙʟᴇ way when she was just a few weeks old must have been deeply ᴛʀᴀᴜᴍᴀᴛɪsing. It is all credit to the team at Rᴇfᴜɢᴇ for Wildlife that she is doing so well and is even starting to play and interact with some of the other ᴏʀᴘʜᴀɴs.
“Uninsulated electrical wires and transformers can prove ᴅᴇᴀᴅly to monkeys who sᴀᴅʟʏ don’t know the difference between the wires and natural vines and wɪʟʟ often travel across wires to get to feeding grounds. This is a particularly sᴇʀɪᴏᴜs ɪssᴜᴇ in areas of ᴅᴇfᴏʀᴇsᴛᴀᴛɪᴏɴ where monkeys have no choice but to use the wires once the trees are gone.”
Oʀᴘʜᴀɴᴇᴅ howler monkeys need 24 hour care and attention and are fed soy-based infant formula every 2-3 hours, day and night, by the dedicated staff and volunteers. Ashley’s new group of friends wɪʟʟ stay together to form a new family. They wɪʟʟ ʀᴇᴍᴀɪɴ at the Rᴇfᴜɢᴇ until they are about 16-24 months old when they wɪʟʟ ʙᴇɢin a release programme to prepare them for their return to the jungle.
On the day of the ɪɴᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴛ, the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ team phoned ICE, the local electrical company, and they came out the following day to install the necessary wildlife protection equipment on the transformer to ᴘʀᴇᴠᴇɴᴛ further ᴅᴇᴀᴛʜs. As well as rescuing and rehabilitating ɪɴjᴜʀᴇᴅ or ᴏʀᴘʜᴀɴᴇᴅ howler monkeys, Rᴇfᴜɢᴇ for Wildlife’s Stop the Sʜᴏᴄᴋs Committee is dedicated to raising funds to purchase and install wildlife protection equipment on uninsulated wires and transformers in Costa Rica.