By Geoff McCabe, Anamaya CEO
As far as I know, Anamaya is the only hotel/business in the Montezuma area that has installed a kit to protect monkeys and other arboreal wildlife from getting electrocuted by its transformer. In Santa Teresa, Pranamar has also installed one, and our neighbors next to Anamaya did another. In other words, out of the thousands of transformers in the area, only three are protected. of course the government or electric company, ICE, should be required to do this, but they don’t, and unfortunately they don’t even tell their customers about the need for this. We had to discover the hard way, after a monkey was killed on our transformer, that Costa Rica’s transformers don’t come shielded.
The solution costs $350 or so, and can be ordered from:
Contact: Juan Chacon
The kit actually provides protection for two transformers, so you can split the kit cost with a neighbor and protect two of them.
The Local ICE Office Will Help
Although ICE won’t pay for it, the area’s monkeys luckily have an ally at the local ICE office. Pilar, who is the head of the Cobano division, will immediately and for free, have the monkey-protection kit installed at your location, if you take it to her. She will do it for free, and give this job top high priority. Please bring her this information:
Post Number where the transformer is
Photo of the post and transformer for her workers to double-check
The CFS kit
The most commonly electrocuted animal is the howler monkey, and sometimes several members in a family will be electrocuted before they figure out what’s going on. The white faced capuchin monkeys are also occasionally victims, but since they’re one of the smartest animals on the planet, they learn faster and for the most part avoid this problem. Another animal that’s frequently killed is the rare, elusive, and super cute kinkajou.
You’ll need to fill out this form, which you can print from here, or Pilar will give it to you.
She will write a letter on your behalf and file it with the appropriate bureaucracies, and within a day or two they’ll go to install it. Please understand that this isn’t the local ICE office’s fault. Pilar and her staff love the monkeys here too, but they don’t have the authority to buy the protective equipment needed. That decision is made by the central office, which is a big corporation run by the same type of money-chasing people that own and run most big businesses. Unless their bottom line is affected by protests, boycotts, or some type of pressure from the people or politicians, they obviously don’t give a damn about burned monkeys. The obvious answer is that the government should pass a law requiring all electrical lines, junctions, and transformers to be shielded, at least in jungle areas with arboreal animals, but unless enough people make enough noise, this isn’t going to happen. Until then, those who care need to invest a bit of their own time and money to solve this themselves.
Installing the Kit
Transformers Aren’t the Only Problem
The animals aren’t only killed by unprotected transformers. They’re even more frequently zapped when they reach from a tree that has grown too close to the top line. Believe it or not, ICE is still installing completely un-shielded electric live electric lines in the jungle where trees frequently and easily grow right next to them. This is resulting in the deaths of many thousands of animals around the country every year. These horrifically burned animals sometimes hang on the wires for days, their grip locked in rigormortis around the line, and frequently their babies fry along with them, or fall to the ground, resulting in broken limbs, internal injuries, or slowly eaten alive by insects or other creatures. I’m sorry to be so graphic but these are just the horrible facts of what’s going on here, and why every business should do its part to protect the wildlife that make Costa Rica such an amazing place we all love.
Take Action Now
If your trees have grown too close to live wires, you can go to the ICE office with a photo of the problem and the nearest ICE pole numbers, and Pilar will do her best to send someone to trim them. Don’t try to do this yourself because you can be killed if you touch the line. A few years ago someone was killed in Montezuma when he accidentally touched the top electric line with a bamboo pole.