End Monkey Electrocutions
Howler monkeys are being electrocuted on uninsulated power lines where jungle intersects with urban areas. They cross power lines because they must move throughout their habitat to forage for food and find safe places to rest in an increasingly fragmented habitat. Roads and the removal of trees are prime examples of fragmentation to this tree-dwelling species. Many times, these dangerous power lines are their only route between fragmented areas.
While all tree-dwelling wildlife face these threats, howler monkeys are more prone to electrocutions because they use their tail to anchor to other objects while moving. When traveling on power lines, their tail grabs onto another wire, creating an electrical circuit through their body. These electrocutions create devastating injuries and likely lead to death. Most power lines are uninsulated and pose a threat to their population. As urbanization increases, we want to increase safe routes for monkeys to travel throughout their home.
We are installing bridges to provide a safe route for tree-dwelling wildlife to travel. However, this is only a small solution to a big problem that is affecting howler monkeys throughout their range. As urbanization of jungle areas increase many species of howler monkeys are facing threats to their population such as the critically endangered Mexican Howler monkey, the endangered Coiba Island howler monkey, and the vulnerable brown howler monkey. Through a combined effort of insulating electrical equipment, trimming trees from problem areas, and installing safe routes to travel, we can help the golden mantled howler monkeys overcome these threats in Costa Rica.
Electrocution patients at Wild Sun Rescue Center
At Wild Sun Rescue Center alone, from August 2018 to January 2019, 52% of the 48 rescued monkeys were electrocution cases. Out of this number, 76% of the cases resulted in death. Infants are more likely to survive electrocution than adults due to the fact that they often get electrocuted while on the backs of their mothers. Their mothers receive the bulk of the electrical current. The infants are usually found clinging to their deceased mothers backs.
Intensive Care at Wild Sun Rescue Center
We treat electrocution patients at Wild Sun Rescue Center with intensive around the clock care. Here is one example of an adult howler monkey that survived an electrocution. With nine months of intensive care of her nonfatal injuries, she was rehabilitated and released.
Installing rope bridges for safe travel between trees
Insulating electrical lines and transformers
Trimming trees away from uninsulated power lines and transformers
Planting and keeping large trees to increase connected habitat
You can help –
Report electrocutions and road collisions
If you are in an emergency situation, and see a monkey being electrocuted please call us immediately at +506 8884 8444 Please do not attempt to remove it from the wire with any objects because you risk electrocution of yourself. If possible, contain the animal in a kennel or box with air flow while handling the animal with a towel, and bring the animal to Wild Sun Rescue Center.
Report fatal incidents of electrocution and road collisions
If you find a deceased monkey on the side of the road, it is likely due to electrocution, road collision, or dog attack. If you find a deceased monkey or know of a location where monkeys are being electrocuted, hit by cars, or attacked by dogs, please inform us with photo of monkey (if applicable), date, city, and the number of the nearest electrical post number via our contact page or call us at +506 8884 8444. This information is helpful for us so we can determine the cause of death, and know what areas have multiple incidents, also known as “hot spots.”
Report wildlife crossing the road
Wild Sun Rescue Center is installing wildlife bridges in Santa Teresa to help wildlife cross roads without having to use dangerous power lines. Did you see an animal crossing the road? Please message us at our Wild Bridges facebook page to share what you saw. Please include:
1) The route they traveled: green rope wildlife bridge, power line, tree, or ground
2) Location: city, nearest business and/or power pole number
3) When: Date and time
4) What animal: howler monkey (black and sometimes with a lighter color on their rump), capuchin (black with a white face), squirrel, etc.
5) Picture or video
This information is very helpful for us to help save the animals. We need your help collecting this data. Any information is better than no information, so if you do not collect all 5 items it is okay. We are happy to hear from you. Please message us at Wild Bridges facebook at fb.me/wildbridges
Please donate to our effort to care for electrocuted wildlife and create safe alternatives to dangerous power lines and roads.
Have a monkey friendly property
TREES - Trees are vital habitat for howler monkeys, and they are even better if they create a continuous canopy. Here are ways you can have monkey habitat on your property.
Keep large trees on your property that monkeys use for traveling, resting in, and foraging in. Large reaching branches on old trees are great for monkeys because it can help connect aerial passages for travel and gives them a safe place to rest. It is important to have these big tree branches intersecting with other big tree branches in order to create a path for them throughout their habitat. A great example is the Guanacaste tree, because it is large with long reaching branches.
If you are planning on building on your property, work with a construction firm that can work around large trees so they do not need to be cut down.
Keep trees that provide fruits such as mangos, papaya, and pochote. These are important for howler monkeys diet.
Plant fast growing native plants on your property such as cecropia. Your property may be the missing link between two fragmented habitats for howler monkeys. If there is forest on both sides of your property with no route in between, it would be helpful to plant some trees to connect them.
Make sure to plant trees far away uninsulated powerlines. Fruit trees near a dangerous power line would result in many electrocutions.
ROPE BRIDGES - Install rope bridges in order to create connectivity. There may be trees on your property, but lacking connectivity. Contact us if you think a bridge would be helpful to wildlife on your property.
INSULATE POWER LINES AND TRANSFORMERS - Insulate power lines and transformers on your property. Wires can have a weather coating on them, however this does not mean they are insulated and can still cause electrocution. Insulation is thicker than weather coating and protects from electric shock. Transformers have many dangerous components but can be insulated. Contact ICE for more information on how your wires and transformers can be insulated. The average cost to insulate a household transformer ranges from $250-$550 USD.
MONITOR INSULATED POWER LINES AND TRANSFORMERS - Even insulated wires can deteriorate with weather conditions. Insulating components on transformers can come loose. If you suspect insulated equipment needs attention, please contact us for more information on how it can be repaired.