October 2018 News


Welcome to this month’s newsletter! It has been a busy month here at Alturas!


Capuchins – Electrocutions

We received a call about a Capuchin that had been electrocuted and had fractured his jaw after falling from the power line. A good Samaritan brought the young male in and it was kept under intensive care for the first two days, after treating his multiple burns. When he gained some of his strength back, our volunteer vet, Kathy Wander, performed the surgery and placed three screws in his jaw to secure the fracture and aid the healing process. He is healing well and we hope to soon move him to a larger enclosure for further rehabilitation where we can prepare him for his release back in to the wild.

Shortly after receiving this Capuchin, we received another Capuchin who was in a similar condition. A passerby had witnessed the Capuchin falling from above. After monitoring her for a while she realized it was not moving so she decided to call us and bring the Capuchin directly to us. As soon as she arrived in the clinic our vet team checked her for injuries and discovered that she, too, was suffering from electrocution burns. Although not as severe as the previous monkey, we will still keep her onsite until she is fully healed with the hope that we can reunite her with her troop.

male capuchin with the fractured jaw before surgery thumb male capuchin with the fractured jaw after surgery thumb

The male capuchin with the fractured jaw before and after the successful surgery

Raccoon-Traffic Accident

We have received an adult crab-eating raccoon after being hit by a car. If you read our last issue, you are probably aware that road traffic accidents are one of the most common reasons why we receive wildlife at our clinic. The female suffered from a head trauma and was being administered painkillers and anti-inflammatories. She is still displaying some issues however she is eating well and improving every day. We will continue to monitor her neurological state before determining the next step for her.


A juvenile coati came to us after she ran onto someone’s property where she was being harassed by a large group of males. She was dehydrated, severely underweight and had an abscess on her leg. She was suffering with a skin condition and had evidence of multiple parasites. We’ve been treating her with antibiotics, have dewormed her and we are feeding her well. We hope to be able to release her as soon as she is at a healthy weight.

juvenile coatiJuvenile Coati

Orphaned Animals

baby woolly opossum thumb baby sloth thumb

We have recently begun caring for two orphaned animals, a baby sloth and a baby woolly opossum. They have been getting fed around the clock by our staff and volunteers.

A couple of weeks ago we received a call about an abandoned sloth. The people who had found her had kept her in a box, safe from dogs and other animals, whilst leaving her at the base of the tree where her mother has been spotted frequently. When the mother did not return and it began to get dark, they called us and notified us of the situation. If you find a baby sloth and the mother cannot be seen in the trees and you think the baby could be in danger then it is always best to call so we can help you assess the situation. Juvenile sloths can be abandoned by their mothers for multiple reasons. Two-toed sloths will stay with their mothers for almost one year of their lives therefore the mothers spend a lot of energy raising a baby. If they believe that their young is weak, sick or injured in any way they will abandon the baby so as not to waste large amounts of energy on a baby that may not survive. Alternatively, we cannot assume that the mother was not injured herself or attacked by another creature which caused the baby to fall and not be collected again.

We also received a call about an adult woolly opossum that had been severely electrocuted. When she arrived with MINAE, she had already died in transit however after inspection, our vet team found a young baby in her pouch who had been unaffected by the electrocution. She is growing in size every day and we think she will be a candidate for release once she reaches an age she would not be dependent on her mother for care.

Some species of opossum will pretend to be dead as a defense mechanism against predation. If you do come across an opossum that you believe to be dead, we recommend monitoring it before inspecting it. As a marsupial, sometimes a mother can die and babies can still survive in her pouch. If it is dead, you can open their pouch to check for any living offspring. In the event you do find living offspring, please call us or MINAE.


released owl in treeOwl in palm tree after release

This month we did a soft release of the barred owl that was brought to us after flying into a metal fence. He had injured muscle and was missing some feathers on his wing. In his pre-release enclosure he had a small hideout box where we fed him and he could find shelter. When we released him, we placed this box on the outside of the enclosure and continued to place food inside. We did this to ensure he still had a source of food while he adjusted back to living in the wild and while he begun to hunt for food on its own. We monitored the food and, after a few days, noticed he had not been returning for the food we were placing. An exciting part of this release is we spotted him roughly a week later down the road in a tree as we were driving away at the end of the day.


raccoon playing in bathPandora playing in her bath

Last week we tried a new form of enrichment for our resident raccoon, Pandora. We noticed how much she loves the water and will spend a lot of her time playing in her water and chasing the hose when we are cleaning her enclosure. After seeing her playing with the water spout one day, we decided to create a bubble bath for her using all natural shampoo! She was very curious and at first she was hesitant to get inside the bath we had provided. However, she loved interacting with the bubbles and soon enough she was jumping in and out of it and making a splash!

We understand how important it is to provide our animals with different forms of enrichment and so we try to provide them with new items each and every day. From bubble baths and puzzle feeders, to hammocks and forage boxes, the possibilities are endless. Giving suitable enrichment helps reduce unnatural behaviors, encourages natural behaviors, and begins to mimic the time they would spend on different activities in the wild, such as feeding, foraging and social behaviors.

If you would like to help us enrich our animals’ lives even more, then please look at our Amazon wishlist, http://a.co/i2vQHl8 We have included lots of items that we think our animals would love and would make the biggest difference to their lives.