Back in November 2017, Bianca’s mother was electrocuted and killed when she climbed onto unsafe power distribution in Junquillal. Although her mother was killed instantly, Bianca survived, sustaining burns to her fingers where she was holding onto her mother during the accident. Bianca was only a few months old at the time and would not have survived without our help. The prognosis for electrocuted howlers is very poor and many succumb to their injures, but thankfully Bianca only had some small burns that healed quickly.
As an infant, Bianca was a wild child! She jumped, climbed and wrestled with her troop mates constantly! Now that she’s grown up, she’s a little more reserved but still loves to wrestle with the boys, especially Erick who is her favorite male in the group.
Priscilla was found alone without her troop in Naranjales, Nosara. We do not know what happened or why her family left her, but she was too young to be on her own. We have seen a few cases where an infant falls from a tree and is knocked unconscious and the family leaves because they think the infant has died – this might be what happened to Priscilla, but we cannot know for sure.
Priscilla quickly adapted to life at the rescue center and easily became friends with all the monkeys in her troop because she has always been very confident and comfortable with the other orphans. Priscilla has been very easy to care for and rehabilitate because she has never required any special veterinary attention or animal keeper care.
Hendrix was transferred to us in February 2017 after he was confiscated from a rescue center that was not authorized to care for primates. Unfortunately, Hendrix had been treated like a pet and was extremely attached to humans when he joined us. He was only 10 months old at the time, so we were very hopeful that, with enough time, Hendrix could be taught to behave like a wild howler. It’s very difficult to reverse the damage done when wildlife is humanized, but we wanted to do everything we could to help Hendrix return to the forest and not end up in a zoo environment for the rest of his life.
When he joined us, Hendrix wanted to be around humans all the time as he cried out for attention. It took several weeks before he showed any interest in being around the other orphaned howlers inside the Infant Nursery. Because his skills were not developing like the other orphaned howlers that weren’t imprinted on humans, Hendrix was held back from progressing to more advanced enclosures and for a long time, he was the biggest monkey in the nursery. Thankfully Hendrix started to improve and within a few months, he was ready to join the rest of his troop in the outside enclosures without any human contact.
Now, three years after his rescue, Hendrix has been thoroughly assessed by our veterinarian and has been cleared for release! We are thrilled that all our hard work has finally paid off and Hendrix will get a chance to live wild and free! He now plays and communicates very well with the other howlers and climbs and forages as he would in the wild. He no longer seeks out humans and instead is very focused on challenging Kenneth for the leadership of the troop. Hendrix is the largest male of the group and the front-runner to become the alpha.
Erick was rescued back in October 2016 when he was only 4 months old. He was found all alone on the ground with no mother and no troop around. Because Erick had several broken fingers that, unfortunately, had already healed incorrectly in the wild, we think that maybe his mother fell, Erick’s fingers were injured, and his mother lived for several more days while his fingers healed. We cannot know for sure what happened to Erick’s mom, but he desperately needed our help since he was too young to be in the jungle on his own.
From the very start, Erick had a very calm and gentle personality which continues to this day. Even though he’s very large and more sexually mature than the other males in the room, he’s more submissive and prefers to take it easy while Kenneth and Hendrix play dominance games.
Kenneth was badly attacked by an alpha male in March 2018 in Playa Guiones. In the past few years, we have seen an increase in howler injuries caused by other howlers. Most attacks are caused by troops fighting for resources – whether it’s food, habitat or females. An increase in development in Guiones has drastically reduced wildlife habitat which has resulted in rivaling troops clashing with each other more than usual.
Kenneth was lucky. Although his injuries were severe, he was not injured on his face, which is very common with alpha attacks. Unfortunately, his tail had to be amputated as it was snapped in half with bone and muscle exposed. His arm was ripped open, but our veterinarian Dr. Francisco Sanchez was able to expertly suture the arm and close the wound. Kenneth healed fast, but unfortunately, he also had a fracture to that same arm so his recovery took longer than anticipated.
Kenneth and Hendrix have been best friends since he was rescued. Being introduced to the infant nursery after surgery and several weeks of clinic care was daunting for Kenneth, but Hendrix was eager to make him feel welcomed with a snuggle and a gentle hug.
Kenneth has grown and progressed quickly through our program and has adapted very well to his disability. Howlers use their prehensile tail constantly – for balance, safety and even to hang upside down by when they are eating leaves. Although Kenneth is now at a slight disadvantage without his tail, he’s learned how to move with ease. Kenneth has shown us time and again that his stubby tail will not hold him back!