We are thrilled to share some fantastic news! Five of the howler monkeys in our care are ready for release! Several of our young adult howler monkeys have “graduated” to the final step in our release program! Mango, Stan, Santiago, Ginger and Ana have just moved from our pre-release enclosure to our release enclosure which is located in a remote location deep inside the forest! This is the last and final milestone for these monkeys, some of whom have been with us since infancy! The monkeys will stay inside the enclosure for about month until we are certain that they are comfortable with their new surroundings, that they are healthy and that they are showing the appropriate behaviour required for release.
Our release enclosure is temporarily located deep inside the heavily forested community of Pachamama in San Juanillo and is in an off-limits part of the grounds across a river. Pachamama has been very kind to let us use their MINAE-approved land for releases and has even provided a Refuge trained and dedicated volunteer to prepare the twice-daily feedings. The Refuge veterinarian will visit several times a week to monitor the health of the monkeys and to ensure they are progressing and will be ready for release in about a month.
Who Are The Monkeys That Will Be Released?
Mango is the alpha of the group, having asserted his dominance when he was much younger. He was the first in the group to start howling and he has a very loud howl. Mango fell from a tree as an infant when he and his family were trying to cross the road. There was a gap in the trees and Mango jumped and missed, falling onto the road. He suffered from head trauma and required extensive medial care. Mango still has a “lazy” looking eye from the fall and tilts his head to see certain angles. This disability hasn’t stopped him from become the most powerful member of his family.
STAN & SANTIAGO
Stan and Santiago are best friends – they were transferred to us from another centre that was not registered to care for primates, and unfortunately, they had been humanized. They behaved like pets and unfortunately were older monkeys which makes rehabilitation much harder. It has been a challenge to teach these two to behave more like wild monkeys because they see humans as something to interact with. In order to be eligible for release, Stan and Santiago needed to show no signs of wanting human attention and thankfully they have passed this final test! Stan and Santiago are best friends and do absolutely everything together! Stan is the oldest and acts like a big brother, and Santiago follows him everywhere wanting to explore and play games!
Ginger joined us after she was found very sick by the side of the road the morning after Tropical Storm Nate. She needed urgent care from our veterinarian, but quickly recovered from her illness. She grew strong and had previously been scheduled for release in early Feb 2019 (with Jordanny, Sophie and Lola), but she was held back because she became ill and needed several months of treatment in our clinic. Ginger lost most of her fur and a lot of weight when she was sick and needed to be closely cared for and monitored. Once Ginger was introduced to this new family group she started to shine again. She gained all of the weight back, is healthy and loves her new family. Ginger is the alpha female of the group.
Ana lost her mother due to electrocution and from day one Ana has been fiercely independent. She has never once wanted the attention of our human caregivers. For a long time, Ana was the only female in the group (we had more male rescues than females), but now that Ginger has joined the family Ana is much more happy. Ginger takes the lead as the alpha and Ana is happy taking it easy. When transferred inside the release enclosure, Ana was the very first of the troop to pick up a slice of watermelon and chow down! This is a very good sign that she is confident in new environments and doesn’t get stressed.