If you’re heading for a vacation rental home near Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica, you’re in for an incredible nature adventure. In addition to iguanas, toucans, coatimundis and more, there are 3 species of monkeys indigenous to the park.
Manuel Antonio National Park
When the park boundaries were established in 1972 no one bothered to tell the Howler, Red-backed squirrel and Capuchin monkeys, so they continued to follow their established foraging routes beyond the park limits. Not all but many of Manuel Antonio’s vacation rental homes are located within these natural foraging routes known locally as the “Monkey Corridor.” However, staying in one of these vacation rental homes carries with it a big responsibility. It may seem cute, funny or thrilling to hand feed the monkeys, yet it’s extremely damaging to them in many ways.
Catastrophic Consequence #1
Because humans and monkeys are related primates, monkeys are highly susceptible to human bacteria and diseases, especially when transferred by hand feeding. You don’t even have to be sick to communicate a disease for which monkeys have no immunity.
Catastrophic Consequence #2
Feeding monkeys makes them more aggressive toward humans as they grow to view humans as a source of food. In one instance two tourist women were trying to enter the gate of their vacation rental home with a bag of souvenirs. A capuchin monkey mistook the contents of the bag for food. He stood on the gate repeatedly snatching at the bag denying them entrance to the property for several minutes. This is not a common occurrence – yet.
Catastrophic Consequence #3
Feeding the monkeys makes them dependent upon humans and reduces their chance of survival in the wild. As more monkeys view humans as a source of food their behavior will evolve, their routes will change, and they will seek out humans for “fast food meals.”
So, not only weren’t the monkeys told about the change in the park boundaries, they weren’t informed being fed by humans is bad for them. The monkeys don’t know any better but now you do. Be a responsible primate and please don’t feed the monkeys.