With many areas experiencing a surge in human development, fragmented habitat has lead to several wildlife deaths and injuries because monkeys are using electrical cables to travel to feeding grounds.
On average, Refuge for Wildlife responds to over 100 electrocuted howler monkey rescue calls each year. Over half of these monkeys die at the scene or, following a comprehensive veterinary assessment, are euthanized due to the severity of their injuries. The prognosis for electrocuted monkeys is not good. External wounds may be treated; however, the internal damage can be very serious and slower to manifest. Electrocution injuries have a deleterious biochemical affect on the bodies of mammals, which can lead to irreversible organ damage. Of the monkeys brought to the clinic, approximately two-thirds succumb to their terrible injuries. Because survival rate for electrocution victims is low, the best solution is prevention.
Although there are several laws in Costa Rica that should serve to protect the environment, biodiversity, habitat and wildlife from the adverse affects of development, they are either ineffective or not properly enforced. As a result, Refuge for Wildlife has been forced to employ local wildlife protection strategies, which are dedicated to preventing electrocutions. The ‘Stop the Shocks’ program prevents deadly electrocutions by combining; tree trimming (to prevent wildlife accessing the power lines), installing rope bridges to provide safe aerial pathways and fundraising to purchase insulation equipment to cover live transformers. So far in 2018, Refuge for Wildlife has spent over US$14k on wildlife protection equipment.
Thanks to the co-operative efforts of our Stop the Shocks Program and ICE, our electrical service provider, most of the electrical wires in the Playas de Nosara area were replaced with insulated cables many years ago. It is because of this hard work, that today our monkeys can travel without injury along many kilometres of electrical cables. There are, though, still many areas where uninsulated electrical cables are a problem and all it takes is a monkey to touch two live wires to be electrocuted. The main issue with monkeys using the cables is that attached to all cables are high voltage electrical transformers. The monkeys travel along the wires in search for food and end up needing to cross a transformer to reach the wire on the other side. These transformers are very dangerous, with many parts of the transformer able to deliver a deadly jolt of electricity to anything that touches it. Sadly, our monkeys cannot sense the danger until it’s too late. The shock is extremely painful and causes horrific electrical burns and often muscular spasms so the monkey cannot let go and sometimes even catch on fire. What is worse, is that when a member of the troop is crying out in pain, the rest of the troop will try to help which often causes several family members to become electrocuted or die.
Electrocutions can be stopped. Though generous donations from the public, we are able to purchase wildlife protection equipment and medical care for the victims of electrocution. Every cent that is donated toward insulating transformers, goes towards insulating transformers and stopping the shocks.
Each transformers is different, with different components and different lengths of cable that need to be insulated. Because of this, each transformer needs to be individually inspected by and a quote obtained by our distributor, CFS Sistemas who provides wildlife protection equipment from MidSun in the USA. The average cost to insulate a household transformer ranges from $250-$550 USD with the average high voltage commercial transformer costing $950-$1500USD to insulate. If you would like our team to help you to insulate your transformer, please contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a Donation to Stop the Shocks
In an effort to prevent electrocutions, Refuge for Wildlife has been focusing on insulating high risk transformers in high-traffic areas where monkeys have been injured or killed. If you would like your donation to go towards a specific area or certain transformer, please let us know by sending us an email: email@example.com.
Electrocution is the #1 killer of howler monkeys in Costa Rica. Every year Refuge for Wildlife rescues hundreds of monkeys and other wildlife that have been electrocuted due to uninsulated power lines and transformers. In addition to rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing these animals we are also dedicated to preventing injures and deaths caused by electrocution. Our Stop the Shocks committee focuses it’s efforts on insulating power lines and transformers while continuing to educate the community about wildlife safety.
Your donation is tax deductible! You can make a PayPal donation via International Animal Rescue. For a CR tax deductible donation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for our Costa Rican non-profit bank details.