San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bridges to Help Prevent Monkey Electrocution

Monkeys will now be able to cross the road in safety, thanks to three newly constructed “monkey bridges” in Playa Negra, in the northwest province of Guanacaste.

The three bridges are part of the newly launched “Save the Monkeys” campaign, coordinated by the MonkeyPark, a monkey rehabilitation center near Tamarindo, and CoopeGuanacaste, the regional electricity provider.

Each bridge is strategically located in high monkey crossing areas, according to MonkeyPark manager Vanesa Jarrín, and will allow them to cross the road without tangling with electrical wires, which biologists say is a frequent cause of death.

“Monkeys often die here from electrocution, and the rapid development of this region is cutting off their natural travel routes,” Jarrín said.

The howler, the white-faced capuchin and the spider monkey all stand to benefit from the bridges, though the howler is the most common in the region.

The hope, she said, is that these experimental bridges, which have been used with some success around Manuel Antonio, on the central Pacific coast, to protect the endangered mono tití, or squirrel monkey, will reduce monkey deaths.

Jarrín said the bridges could eventually be used all across Guanacaste.

The project, she added, is beneficial for all involved, including CoopeGuanacaste, which as development increases has confronted increased power disruptions because of monkey electrocutions, which can cause shorts in the electrical system.

“We’re going to see if this works. If it does, we’ll be building more,” Jarrín said.


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