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Stop The Shocks

Wildlife Electrocutions

Many areas of Guanacaste are experiencing a surge in human development. Fragmented habitat and the installation of electrical supply is leading to wildlife deaths and injuries because monkeys are using electrical cables as aerial runways. The cables provide an efficient, but lethal, way for the monkeys to travel through the urbanized forest. All too often, the monkeys suffer from horrific injuries and violent deaths when climbing or traveling on uninsulated power cables and transformers. On average, Refuge for Wildlife responds to over 100 electrocuted howler monkey rescue calls each year. Very often, the monkeys die at the scene due to catastrophic electrocution injuries. For electrocuted monkeys that survive the initial shock, the prognosis is very poor. External wounds may be treated and eventually heal; however, the internal damage from the electricity can be very serious and slower to manifest.  In too many cases, the long term damage is fatal. Because the survival rate for electrocution victims is low, the best solution is prevention.

For more information about electrocution injuries and our rehabilitation process, visit our REHABILITATION webpage and for more information about this crisis, please read our PDF about Wildlife Electrocutions.

Fast Facts

• Arboreal wildlife use electrical cables as aerial runways to link up fragmented forest
• Electrocution causes extreme burns, life-threatening injuries and death
• 70% of all the howler monkey rescues at Refuge for Wildlife are due to electrocution
• Prognosis for electrocuted monkeys is very poor; the injuries are often fatal
• There are laws in Costa Rica that require electrical distribution to be safe for wildlife; however, these are either ineffective or not enforced
• Protecting Wildlife from electrocution requires a combination of tree trimming, rope bridges and insulation equipment


Preventing Electrocutions

Although there are several laws in Costa Rica that should serve to protect the environment, biodiversity, habitat, and wildlife from the adverse effects of development, they are either ineffective or not properly enforced. As a result, Refuge for Wildlife has been forced to employ local community-based wildlife protection strategies, which are designed to prevent electrocutions.  The ‘Stop the Shocks’ program prevents deadly electrocutions by combining:

TREE TRIMMING – to prevent wildlife accessing the power lines

ROPE BRIDGES – to provide safe aerial pathways


Some cables in the Playas de Nosara area have been insulated, which has helped reduce electrocutions; however, there are still many areas that are not insulated and equipment on the cables, including the transformers, is often unprotected. This uninsulated, high voltage electrical apparatus is extremely dangerous to wildlife.  Sadly, the monkeys cannot sense the danger until it’s too late.

In  2018, Refuge for Wildlife spent over US$14k on wildlife protection equipment.

If you would like our Stop the Shocks team to help you to insulate your transformer, please contact us via email: For more information about how to find out if your transformer is safe or not, please visit our INSULATING TRANSFORMERS AND POWER LINES webpage.

Help Us “Stop the Shocks”

Electrocutions can be stopped. With generous donations from the public, we are able to target high-risk areas and “hot spots” (where wildlife have already been injured or killed) by purchasing wildlife protection equipment and rope bridges.

Each power transformer is different, with different components and different lengths of cable that need to be insulated. Because of this, each one needs to be individually inspected by our Stop the Shocks team – there is no “one-size fits all” kit that can be purchased. 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.

For more information about how you can help, visit our webpage HOW YOU CAN HELP STOP THE SHOCKS.

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:

Personal Info

Donation Total: $100

Donations made through this site are US tax-deductible via our 501(c)(3) registered partner International Animal Rescue US.