Saving the Howler Monkeys in Costa Rica: Nosara Wildlife Rescue

If there is one thing you should do when staying in Nosara it is to book a visit to the Nosara Wildlife Rescue. This non-profit charity will provide you with a perspective changing, once in a lifetime experience.

P1030196The Nosara Wildlife Rescue takes in all kinds of wild animals. Whether it’s a parrot with a broken wing, or a Iguana with a sore foot, the organization will pick up the animal and take care of them. Animals are provided with immediate and long-term medical treatment. The primary goal being to get them re-integrated into the wild as soon as possible. Despite their open door policy for all animals, their true speciality is Howler Monkeys.

Howler Monkeys are everywhere in Nosara. Their distinctive “motorcycle revving” howl rattles you wherever you go and you don’t have to walk far before you’ll find a family walking through the trees. No matter how long I have travelled in this country, I can’t help  but stop and watch these amazing creatures.

I must warn you, this is where things start to get tough to hear. The following information may be hard for sensitive readers.

As real estate in Costa Rica continues to develop, we are increasingly encroaching on the

One of the baby monkeys I met. He fell from his mom off a powerline and now has problems with his teeth

One of the baby monkeys I met. He fell from his mom off a powerline and now has problems with his teeth

homes of the Howler Monkeys. The results have been tragic. Between 1996 and 2007, Costa Rica lost half of its Monkey population, a vast majority from electrocution. This tragedy is made even more frustrating as it is completely preventable.

Howler Monkey’s have natural highways amongst the trees. Families follow the same routes all the time. As a result, when trees are chopped down, and replaced with power lines, the monkeys will simply continue along the lines in order to follow their regular path.

Now we’ve all seen squirrels or birds running along power lines, and they don’t get electrocuted. It’s because they haven’t made a connection or circuit between the two strands of power lines. With long tails, long arms and an ability to dangle from limbs, creating a connection between the two lines is a regular occurrence for Howler Monkeys, resulting in drawn out, painful electrocutions resulting in injury and very often death.


To make matters worse, many of the monkeys that are electrocuted are the mothers, that carry their infants on their backs. Mother’s will often be stuck on the lines continually being electrocuted, while the baby is stranded on them. I won’t go into details regarding some of the stories I heard, but they were all extremely heart breaking.

Although this is a difficult topic to discuss, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. Not only has Nosara Wildlife Rescue developed successful strategies to rehabilitate and re-integrate the vast majority of their injured Monkey’s back into the wild, they are also working on more permanent solutions to this problem.

In collaboration with local electric company ICE, Nosara Wildlife Rescue helped to coordinate a project that created covers for the power lines in Nosara. This drastically reduced the number of Monkey electrocutions in the area. Unfortunately, the results were temporary. When the covers were installed, the trees were trimmed back and the Monkeys were no longer able to get onto the lines. As years have passed, and the trees have grown back, the monkeys are now climbing back on the lines and are coming into contact with the exposed transformers.

After another difficult year of preventable Monkey deaths, Nosara Wildlife Rescue is



working hard to educate the public on the need to cover their transformers. They even sell the transformer covers and/or can make arrangements to help residents have their transformers covered. They are also working diligently to attempt to have policies updated that would require all newly installed transformers to be covered.

The Nosara Wildlife Rescue is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. They run their program from the foundation of devotion and love for animals. Day or night they are out there rescuing animals, and spending every waking moment nursing them back to health. Their success rate for re-integration is amazing. Through years of practice they have developed an amazing program to ensure baby Monkeys are handled in a way that will ensure they are ready for the wild.

After hearing their story, I firmly believe that had it not been for their initial intervention, you would see Howler Monkeys in Nosara.

Their passion comes at a price and despite their best efforts in fundraising, they are continually running at a deficit. As someone who continually stops to appreciate the Howler Monkeys in Nosara, it seemed like a no brainer for me to find some way to support their cause. I chose to provide them a donation in exchange for a tour of their facility. It was so worth it to hear all of the amazing stories, learn about their passion, and of course see tons of baby monkeys

If you want more information about Nosara Wildlife Rescue, check out their website, Facebook or this article that explains it all in a lot more detail.

Pura Vida!


Follow me on Twitter: @caketress


3 thoughts on “Saving the Howler Monkeys in Costa Rica: Nosara Wildlife Rescue

  1. Thank you for posting. On our trip to Costa Rica we saw some of these little fellas. I didn’t know a great deal about them. I’ve reblogged because this was so informative.

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