San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Lab Results Suggest Wildlife Starved to Death

Results of laboratory tests on blood samples taken from dead wildlife in Corcovado National Park, in the country’s Southern Zone, last month did not reveal any trace of bacteria or viruses to explain the death streak that wiped out monkeys, sloths and toucans in December, according to Jenny Ash, manager of wildlife areas for the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) of the Environment Ministry.

Lab tests were run in the U.S. state of Texas, in South America and at Universidad Nacional (UNA) in Heredia, said Osa Conservation Area director Etilma Morales.

Although no death count exists for the animals,Miguel Madrigal, Osa Conservation Area manager, told the daily La Nación that an estimated four in every 10 spider monkeys and between 10-20% white-throated capuchins, squirrel monkeys and howler monkeys at the park were wiped out.

According to Ash, because no disease was detected, the theory is that animals starved to death after an unusually heavy rainy season that destroyed the fruit they feed on. Animal deaths in the park, located on the OsaPeninsula, were first detected in October last year (TT, Dec. 9, 2005).


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