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Howler Rehab and Release – 2 Dog Attacks and 1 Electrocution

Charlotte during her rehabilitation

Charlotte was attacked by dogs in Garza and sustained several deep bite punctures and a broken shoulder. We have seen an increase in dog attacks the past several months. This is because deforestation and development has forced arboreal wildlife to cross roads and properties on the ground to reach their habitat.

Charlotte’s Injuries

The dogs who attacked Charlotte were not strays, they were pets who followed their instincts to chase prey. It is always best to keep your pets in a fenced-in yard and move them into the house when the monkeys come to visit your property. In Charlotte’s case, the dogs who attacked her were small so the bite wounds weren’t too deep and they healed relatively quickly. Charlotte was prescribed “cage-rest” to help the fracture in her shoulder heal. Once the fracture was healed, Charlotte was moved to an outside enclosure so she could practice climbing and regain her strength. It wasn’t long before she was joined by two new friends, Iggy and Star.

Iggy during rehabilitation

Iggy was with us for several months. He was attacked by a large dog here in Nosara and his recovery took longer than expected because the deep bites on his hip became infected. Bites from dogs become infected very easily due to the high concentration of bacteria in canine saliva and even with antibiotic injections, Iggy’s wound became very infected and needed to be drained of pus every day.

Iggy’s Wounds

Once Iggy’s wounds had completely healed, he joined another dog attack victim named Charlotte in a large outdoor inclosure so he could stretch his legs and start moving around properly again. From day one Iggy was super relaxed around Charlotte and loved the new enclosure. He could be found laying around and munching on leaves each day, really enjoying the fresh air and sunshine after so many monkeys in the clinic. Charlotte and Iggy had almost matching wounds as dogs tend to attack in the same manner each time. Bites are usually found on the lower back from when the monkey is trying to run away and then on the neck from where the dog attempts to kill the monkey. Both Iggy and Charlotte have matching scars in these areas. Only a few weeks later another monkey, Star, joined them in the enclosure and they were all released together.

Star recovered quickly from her electrical burns

Star was badly electrocuted right here in Playa Guiones when she climbed onto high voltage, uninsulated power lines on the main road. Because of deforestation and road improvements, many natural tree crossings have been destroyed. Although we did install a rope bridge near the location where Star was injured, she found her way onto an uninsulated power line trying to find her way across. With the help of our local electrical company, ICE, and the company that is improving the roads, MOPT, we will be installing more rope bridges to help arboreal wildlife cross the roads safely.

Star was badly injured

Star was treated with pain-medication, antibiotics and soothing burn cream and she quickly started to feel better. The moment her burns had healed and new skin had formed, we moved her out into an outside enclosure with two other adult howlers, Charlotte and Iggy, so they could be released together as a new family. You may see in some of the photos that Star still has new skin (pink) on her feet. This will turn to black in a few days and you won’t even be able to tell that she was ever burned. Star became best friends with Charlotte and could always be found inside the enclosure snuggling together. Once we saw how well they got along, we knew we had to release them all together.

As all three of the monkeys in that enclosure were found in heavily populated areas that are dangerous for wildlife, so we relocated them to a more suitable location where human development cannot harm them. They were very calm on the car journey to freedom, but once we arrived and they could smell the trees and the stream nearby, they wanted out of their kennels! All three of them made a quiet  grunting sound as they were released (this is a gentle warning to “stay back or I’ll get aggressive”). Immediately after they were released, Charlotte and Star ran to each other and stayed close to each other the entire time we watched them. Iggy, being the male of the group, kept a distance so he could watch over his ladies. All of them stayed very close to where we released them and laid down in the branches feeling super relaxed and happy to be back in the forest where they belong.