(Puerco espin) Coendu mexicanus
These two beautiful animals arrived in January 2012 as a result of an illegal pet confiscation by MINAET officials. Agile and intelligent, the prehensile-tailed porcupine can hang from tree branches with its prehensile tail as it feeds on arboreal delicacies. As they spend most of the night foraging, their large noses enhance their ability to smell their favorite foods. Contrary to popular belief, these mammals cannot throw their quills, but when forced to defend themselves they will hit their spiky bodies against their intruders.
We are hoping that this unique prehensile-tailed nocturnal specie will reproduce. In this case, they would be added to our breeding to release program. This means that whenever they reproduce in a non-imprinting hands-off environment like ours, their wild offspring would be subsequently released to MINAET selected areas.
(Buho de anteojos) Pulsatrix perspicillata
The Spectacled Owl is the largest owl found in Costa Rica. Rarely seen by humans due to its nocturnal habits, these owls play a key role in maintaining a healthy coexistence between man and nature- excellent in controlling mouse and rat populations, their primary diet staples, the Spectacled Owl mutually benefits humans by protecting their agricultural crops.
For owls to survive in the natural environment, perfect binocular vision is needed. This owl arrived with a slight defect in one of its eyes. It most likely happened as it was flying across the road in search of food and was blinded by car lights at night.
(Lapa roja) Ara macao
This pair of Scarlet Macaws were just starting to develop feathers when they arrived at Monkey Park in 2001. They were brought here by MINAET after being seized in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica.
For decades parrot ‘fanciers’ in Europe and North America have desired them for pets, taking them from the wild and cutting down nesting trees from which chicks are stolen and sold into local and international pet trades. Combined with deforestation, this trade has dramatically reduced Scarlet Macaw populations, once abundant throughout Costa Rican lowlands one hundred years ago. Today they are considered an endangered species.
Currently, these parrot species are highly protected in Costa Rica. As with all parrots, it is illegal to keep them as pets. Furthermore, tough legislation punishes any person caught trafficking any native wildlife with stiff jail sentences.
(Caracara cargahuesos) Caracara plancus
The Crested Caracaras are predator birds that have lived in the Guanacaste region for centuries. The national bird of Mexico, “the Mexican eagle”, they played a central role in Aztec culture. More generally, their name comes from the repetitive sound they emit.
These birds which are currently housed at Monkey Park are here as a result of a negative ecological domino effect led by automotive collisions. Being opportunistic scavengers, they are often seen foraging near roads where many large insects, lizards, snakes, birds, and mammals are run over by cars. For a ground feeding specie such as the Crested Caracara, these irresistible roadside meals create a dangerous situation- as wild animals many of them have not learned to judge the speed of a car and are often seriously injured or killed as a result.
Two black handed spider monkeys are currently exhibited at Monkey Park. They were brought in by MINAET in 2000 after officials determined it is illegal to keep them as pets in a household and that they should be kept at an animal facility like ours.
The only species of primates found in Central and South America that lacks a thumb on their hands and gives them what is called a power grip, they are becoming more endangered due to habitat loss and poaching of adults to capture juveniles for the pet trade. However, recent legislation has been passed that prohibits them from being kept as household pets.
(Cocodrilo) Crocodylus acutus
Of the 21 existing crocodiles in the world, the American crocodile is an endangered species found in the low parts of the Pacific and the Atlantic regions of Costa Rica. Once hunted for their beautiful skin for fashion handbags, shoes, and belts, their numbers dropped dramatically, resulting in strict conservation measures. Consequently, American crocodile populations have since witnessed an admirable recovery and today these prehistoric reptiles can be seen with increasing regularity in rivers and lagoons. This crocodile was found in the river bed of a stream in our zone of Guanacaste and brought to Monkey Park by MINAET in early 2003.
Although primarily fish eaters, American crocodiles will generally consume almost anything they can get a hold of. The problematic crocodiles which we periodically hear of are individuals that humans feed on a regular basis; this leads to a very dangerous situation as the crocodile learns to follow the human for a free handout.
A majority of the 320 species of parrots of the world are found in tropical rainforests of the New World. In early 2000, these yellow naped amazon parrots were brought in by MINAET as a result of the illegal pet trade. Due to their desirability as “talking” pets, poaching of nestlings is a serious threat to species numbers.
In addition to removing nestlings for sale in the pet trade, nests are also destroyed and ruined for future breeding attempts. Due to their imprinting and aggressiveness towards humans, they cannot be released. Currently, only injured and confiscated parrots are destined to Monkey Park so every effort is made to release them to specified locations.
The rarest specie on exhibit at Monkey Park is the beautiful ocelot. This female was brought to Monkey Park in 2009 and is about three years old. Very elusive in the natural environment, these cats once used to be found in great numbers in Central and South America. Due to its beautiful valuable quality of fur it was over-harvested for decades.
This, along with loss of habitat, has resulted in its being listed as critically endangered. We aim to eventually establish a breeding program and release future generations back to the natural environment in highly secluded areas.
Red Lored Amazon | White Crowned Pionus | Scarlet Macaw| Orange Fronted Parakeet |Keel Billed Toucan | Collared Aracari | Crested Caracara | Barn Owl | Spectacled Owl | Brown Pelican | Crested Guan | Plain Chachalaca | Mantled Howler Monkey | Geoffroy’s Tamarin | Common Marmoset | Prehensile Porcupine | Spotted Paca | Collared Peccary | Black River Turtle