A Shocking Problem

white face monkey


About a month ago we received a stressed call in the middle of the night and were told that a white-faced monkey had just gotten electrocuted on an electricity line. We rushed to the site and found a mother and young baby on the ground, unable to move very well. We rescued the two and tended to them in the clinic immediately. Unfortunately, the burns on the mother were bad and already began causing considerable damage to her. After the first day, she stopped producing milk and started to reject her baby. We separated the baby in order to feed him. The severe burn on her left arm and breast was not getting any better, and after five days under intensive care, the mother took her last breath. Isaac, as we named the baby, is doing well now despite being an orphan. He suffered from burns on both of his hands and one of his feet, but after administering burn cream and keeping his wounds bandaged, he has overcome his injuries. At approximately two months old, Isaac is still drinking milk but has also begun eating a solid diet.

isaac white faced monkeyLittle Isaac, the white faced monkey that survived the electrocution

Similarly, we received a mother squirrel monkey and her young after succumbing to an electrical burn. The mother died from pulmonary edema and hemorrhage; a repercussion from the burn. The baby, however, survived and is being kept in an incubator due to its small size.

tiny squirrel monkeyThe tiny squirrel monkey being bottle fed. She is still so small, that we have to keep her in an incubator for now 

Another young two-toed sloth was found abandoned and rescued. She is currently being kept in our nursery together with our other orphans. Additionally, two young chestnut mandibled toucans fell out of their nest and were brought to us. One of them died after a few hours due to a hemorrhage and pulmonary infection, probably a repercussion from the fall. The other, however, is doing well. Similarly, a baby hawk fell from its nest and is currently in our care.

Two red- fronted parrots and a parakeet were confiscated and brought to us by MINAE (Ministerio de Ambiente y Energia). They are currently in quarantine and are being monitored to ensure that they have no transferable diseases. Once they have completed their quarantine period, our aim is to introduce them to our parrot flock in the sanctuary.

A juvenile squirrel monkey fell from a tree and suffered head trauma. After treating the primate with pain killers, it recovered quickly and was released in the area where it was rescued from. Another adult squirrel monkey has also just been brought in after being bitten by another animal. We are currently administering medication, but the wounds seem superficial and we believe that the monkey will soon be released. 

An adult coatimundi was found in front of someone´s house, lethargic and unable to move. We were called to rescue it and upon examination, discovered that the female was suffering from a tick disease, mastitis and also had a fever. She is being treated with antibiotics in order to deal with the tick disease. We are also administering the correct diet to help her gain weight before we can release her back into her natural habitat.

ocelot cubOne of the ocelot cubs when we first moved them into their enclosure

A few months ago we received two ocelot cubs, a male and a female after they were supposedly found abandoned in their den. We installed an infra-red camera and left them there for the night, to see if their mother would return. Unfortunately, she didn’t. At such a young age, without the protection and care of their mother, such young cubs (approximately 3 weeks old at the time) would never stand a chance to survive. We took them to the sanctuary and cared for the siblings, bottle feeding them every two hours. We kept the human contact limited and there were only a few members of staff that were allowed to feed and tend to them, in order to minimize our interactions. After the initial couple of weeks, the cubs were moved to a larger enclosure in the forest, which took them further away from people and reduced the sound and smell of us. Now, almost 5 months old, we are still assessing if the two will be releasable or not.


The juvenile howler monkey which underwent surgery in her leg last month has undergone some drastic changes. After being attacked and bitten by another animal, probably a white faced monkey, this young female was brought to our rehab center for care. Dr. Kathy Wander placed a pin to hold the break in her leg in place, however, due to the monkey´s young age, the pin didn´t stick to the bone and got infected. After seeing that antibiotics were not helping, we were faced with a tough decision; either amputate her leg or euthanize her. Our vet team decided to amputate the leg as the monkey was still healthy, despite the incident. She is now learning how to climb and be a monkey minus one leg! She will unfortunately not be released, however, will soon be transferred to an enclosure in our sanctuary.

New sanctuary animals!

We have two new additions to our sanctuary; a scarlet macaw couple! Transferred from another institution, this couple has previously been kept as pets and were confiscated and are now on show in our sanctuary!

scarlet macawOne of the newly arrived Scarlet Macaws


The deer which was mentioned in last month´s newsletter has been transferred, together with a juvenile peccary, to another institution which cares specifically for these animals. The deer, who underwent surgery for a broken femur, was recovering super well and had also started using her leg properly. 

Harriot and Aurora, two of the two-toed sloths which we have been raising have also been transferred to another institution which specifically focuses on sloth rehabilitation.


We have now started to release some of the owls which were brought to us a while ago as fledglings. Once the owls reach a certain age and size and have proven that they can hunt independently, they are released to continue their lives in the wild, as they always should have been. Additionally, we have also released two common opossums which we have been raising since they were young.

wildlife interns release screech owlOne of our wildlife interns about to release one of our screech owls

A few months ago, we spoke about a two-toed sloth that was rescued after suffering a break in its femur. The fracture was severe, severing the bone in two. Miraculously, thanks to the help of Dr. Kathy Wander, an orthopedic veterinarian, the bone was fixed. Dr. Kathy placed a pin and plate in the bone, securing the two pieces together. The couple that called in the emergency was keen to know about the recovery and often kept in contact and inquired about the rehabilitation of the female sloth. We released the sloth where she was found, and we obviously involved the couple for this. They were over the moon to be able to witness the release and regularly keep us up to date with sightings of the female. This one below is their latest e-mail

"We were all wondering if Lucy would ever come around our house again. As you know when we released her she was placed in a much better spot on our property than where we caught her, so we thought. Yesterday afternoon there she was back in the same almond tree 10 feet from our porch just where we caught her. She spent the night here and this morning she is still sleeping. She looks great and the leg is working fine and the hair is growing back as well as eating like normal. Our voices and our presents do not seem to bother her at all, it does look like she feels safe here. We are very happy to know that we chose the right thing to do for her and to say once again a very big thank you to all at the Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, they do a great job helping all of natures wildlife"

Mr. and Mrs. Benedict was kind enough to contact their friends and together, raised over $500 USD for the sanctuary. From everyone at Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary, thank you so much for your support and kindness, we are so grateful for supporters like you!

June 2019 News