A mother howler was shot in the face in Nicoya and rescued by the fire department. After examining her, our veterinary team concluded that most likely she was shot with a pellet gun or slingshot which resulted in complete loss of her left eye and an injury to the bridge of her nose. Her one month old son was clinging to her chest at the time, but was not harmed during the incident. The baby was very active during mom’s exam and even started nursing. Both are doing very well in our care and we hope to have them released back into the wild as soon as possible.
Why did someone shoot this monkey? We do not know. A few years ago we received an infant howler who’s mother was killed with a slingshot by children because they wanted to take her baby and keep it as a pet. We do not know if this is what happened in this case, but it’s the only motive that we can think of. The baby is a beautiful golden color which is extremely rare as most young infants are silver. It’s possible that the culprits wanted to sell the infant as an exotic pet. As howlers have a very delicate digestive system and do not do well in captivity, this little one wouldn’t have lasted more than a few days or weeks as a “pet”. Harming wildlife and capturing and selling wildlife is illegal in Costa Rica. Thankfully these two monkeys are now safe.
Lena and her baby Roger are still in our care. We had hoped to release them as soon as possible, but sadly, there has been a complication the sight in Lena’s remaining eye. Due to inflammation caused by the trauma, Lena’s vision has been compromised and she is not seeing very well. We are hoping with medication and a little more recovery time, that Lena’s eyesight will improve so that she will be able to climb and forage in the wild and also keep Roger safe. If her eyesight does not improve, we will not be able to release her.
As you can see from the photo on the left, Lena has mango all over her face – she has a good appetite which is a great sign! Unfortunately she still needs help finding the food and needs to be hand fed by our staff. Roger is still nursing and thankfully mom’s milk hasn’t been affected by the stress caused by the incident.