Manuel Antonio/Quepos Tidings

July 9, 2010

A big thank-you goes out to Maris Lee, a CornellUniversity wildlife vet student who recently spent six weeks studying parasites in primates in our area.

Manuel AntonioNational Park has received reports of mangrove tours feeding the white-faced capuchin monkeys. This is bad for many reasons:

–Monkeys are highly susceptible to catching diseases from human hands. They can die from bacteria that have no ill effect on you but are transferred from your hand.

–Migration of monkeys to human population areas to be fed increases the risk of dog attacks and road accidents.

–Irregular feeding leads to aggressive behavior toward humans and other species.

–Contrary to the stereotype, bananas are not the preferred food of monkeys in the wild. Bananas, especially those containing pesticides, can be upsetting to the monkeys’ delicate digestive systems and can cause serious dental problems that can lead to eventual death.

–Feeding creates a dangerous dependence on humans that diminishes the monkeys’ survival abilities.

–Feeding interferes with the monkeys’ natural habits and upsets the balance of their lifestyle centered on eating wild fruits, seeds, small animals and insects.

–Contact with humans facilitates poaching and illegal trade in wildlife.

–Pregnant females who are fed nothing but bananas during their pregnancy will not give birth to healthy infants. The babies will be malnourished or never develop to term.

–Monkeys need to travel an average of 17 kilometers each day to stay in good physical condition. If they know food is available in a particular location, they will not leave that area.

–Not only do we pass on diseases to animals when we feed them by hand, but they can also pass diseases to use as well.

The monkeys do not realize any of this, but humans should. Please help save the monkeys by not feeding them and reporting anyone who does. If you took a tour that fed the monkeys, please call 2777-2592 to report it, or call to inform about tours that don’t feed the monkeys so they can be given credit and recommended.

–Jennifer Rice, monoazul@racsa.co.cr

& Anita Myketuk, labuenanotacr@gmail.com

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