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Wildlife

Temporary Deterrent for Howler Monkey Electrocutions

By Steve Coan
Nosara Wildlife Rescue

Nosara Wildlife Rescue (NWR) is asking for volunteers to assist in the development of a Proof of Concept program designed to temporarily deter the howler monkeys from coming into contact with the uninsulated power leads of transformers. Of course, the main goal is to insulate these "hot" leads to the transformers. However this takes both time and money, and both are in short supply. NWR believes there is a possible temporary solution which may help save these unfortunate primates from the horrors of electrocution.

The turkey vulture is a natural predator of the howler monkey. NWR believes a life size silhouette of a turkey vulture, with wings spread, could be made out of recycled rubber, about ½ cm (1/4 inch) thick and hung on the guidelines that support the electric poles where the transformers are located. As they sway in the wind, they will be seen—far in advance—by the howlers as they travel towards these deadly transformers and hopefully the monkeys will leave this dangerous area.  
Baby monkeys have the greatest chance of returning to the wild after being electrocuted. Photo: Felipe Lopez

NWR wants to make a few of these prototypes for a proof of concept experiment. If this indeed works, it could then be a pilot program that can be emulated throughout Costa Rica, involving schools and the local community to help effect change in their respective areas.

If you would like to be involved, perhaps by finding a source for this rubber or making a stencil of the turkey vulture silhouette, please contact [email protected] or call 2682-1474.


 

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