1. Monkeys are highly susceptible to diseases from human hands. They can die from bacteria transferred from your hands to the monkeys, bacteria that have no ill effect on you.

2. Migration to human-populated areas where they are fed increases their risk of dog attacks and road accidents.

3. Irregular feeding leads to an aggressive behavior towards humans and other species.

4. Contrary to popular belief, bananas are not the “preferred” food of monkeys in the wild. Bananas, especially those containing pesticides, can be upsetting to the monkeys’ delicate digestive system and cause serious dental problems that can lead to eventual death.

5. Humans feeding monkeys in the wild creates a dangerous dependency which diminishes the monkeys’ survival abilities.

6. Humans feeding monkeys interferes with the monkeys’ natural habits and upsets the natural balance of their lifestyle centered on eating wild fruits, seeds, small animals, and insects.

7. Contact with humans facilitates poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife.

8. Pregnant females in the wild who are fed by humans during their pregnancy will not give birth to healthy infants. The babies will be malnourished, or never develop to term, and die before birth.

9. Monkeys need to travel an average of 17 kilometers each day to be in good physical condition. If they know that food is available in a particular location, they will not leave that area.

10. Not only do we pass on diseases to animals when we feed them by hand, but they can pass diseases to us as well.

11. The only exception is in the case of a dire emergency where a species would perish without food.

The monkeys do not realize any of this.


Now YOU do!!!


Don’t contribute to the extinction of one of nature’s most amazing creatures for your own pleasure or for financial gain. Please help save the monkeys by reporting anyone feeding the monkeys to: 2777-25-92.

If you are feeding the monkeys, you now know why you should stop. If you don’t, we owe it to the monkeys to publish your name with the local media here in Costa Rica


The Making Of A Monkey Troop

White face monkeys are very intelligent new world monkeys. They are omnivores who eat fruits, veggies, insects, eggs, lizards and almost anything that moves. In the wild they are always in the canopy and travel during the morning and afternoon in troops of 7 or more individuals. They are very active, curious, and playful all the time. Their big eyes, pink nose, stand up position and fingers make them very similar to people. Many humans get confused and think that this cute animal will become fabulous and funny pets. However they can’t be more wrong.

White face monkeys need other monkeys to properly play, exercise, communicate, and to have normal behavioral development. They need to move at least 20 km per day to forage and hunt for food, but also to exercise. They travel extensively eating bugs and maintaining a balance in the insect population as well as dispersing seeds throughout the rainforest to get other trees to germinate and grow.

When they are in a captive environment, very few people can give them all the elements they need to be physically and mentally healthy. They then get sick and stressed, becoming aggressive and dangerous. That’s when the “owner” decides they don’t want them anymore but now it’s too late to release them to the wild. These monkeys become imprinted and depend on people for feeding and taking care of them.

MINAET brought us 3 monkeys from 3 places in Costa Rica with the same story. Our goal then was to introduce them to each other, let them learn how to interact and communicate with each other. This is a slow process that takes many months. Fortunately, it has been very successful, the trio gets along perfectly! The leader is the female, she is the oldest and most dominant. Then we have a juvenile male and a young male. The youngest is often observing what the bigger guys are doing, so he learns and imitates them. For example, if we present a new food he will not touch it until the older ones do. The bigger ones will, on the other hand, be extra caring for the young one. They all play together, groom each other, and if a threat is observed (like another monkey passing by) – they react and defend their territory together; they have become a troop.

Since the troop is now ready, we are finishing a common cage for them. It’s a huge cage with live trees, dead branches, ropes, reused materials like tires, swings, places to hide, places to sun-bathe and hammocks under the shade. The diet is a balanced and varied food plan of fruits, veggies, carbs, and proteins placed in bowls but also hidden and hanging to stimulate the foraging behavior.

Our two objectives are:

1. Give them the best quality of life they can have in captivity since they can’t be released

2. Teach people about this species, their story, and their significance in the rainforest.

Soon we will be transferring them to this new cage and you will be able to see them by taking the KSTR morning or afternoon tour. Email us to or for more information.

KSTR and ICE Partner to Save the Monkeys

You see them every day parading across monkey bridges and electrical lines, but the recent electrocution of six titi monkeys in Pocares reminds us that there is still a need for a better balance between our modern world and the surrounding eco-community. While we need electrical lines to power our needs, the trouble for wildlife starts when the wires—either two primary or a primary and secondary—make contact with a grounded object, such as a tree or land, or with each other. When this occurs, the wires become electrified, creating a dangerous situation for monkeys accustomed to using them as a means of passage.

This is exactly what happened on October 16 when the monkeys in Pocares—all members of the same troop—were electrocuted and then rushed to KSTR’s Wildlife Rescue Center by a concerned passerby. Sadly, such events are not isolated occurrences in Costa Rica; in fact, dozens of monkeys are injured or even killed trying to cross the roads that wind through their natural habitat. And with more and more electrical wires being strung along the corridors that link one section of rainforest with another, greater numbers of monkeys and other animals are using wires for transportation.

This year alone KSTR has treated 30 electrocuted animals, suffering from shock, internal burns, heart arrhythmias, respiratory distress, and pulmonary edema. Injuries to three of the tiki monkeys from last month’s incident were so severe that they had to be euthanized following days of treatment in intensive care. The others are still recuperating at the Wildlife Rescue Center but are scheduled to be released in Pocares this week.

In an effort to save more animals, KSTR has partnered with ICE to develop innovative solutions. In 2012, ICE will restring insulated wires from Quepos to Hotel Mono Azul and from Hotel Costa Verde down to the beach—two areas that KSTR identified as being highly trafficked by the animals. The current electrical poles are not able to support the weight of the insulated wires, so a portion of the money will also be used to replace poles.  ICE will continue installing preventative devices. In the past year, ICE has put approximately 40 cover-ups over exposed wires on top of transformers where KSTR has noted that the majority of monkey and sloth electrocutions occur. ICE is also now placing cones on wires that lead from the ground up to the transformers. These cones act as physical barriers for smaller species that cannot climb past the cone. In addition, ICE is utilizing “’little spiders,” which transmit a small electrical current to warn animals of danger on the wires.

Both KSTR and ICE agree, however, that simply trimming down trees is one of the most important ways to prevent animal electrocution. If there is no visible way for the animals to pass from one side of the street to another, they will jump and grab onto a tree branch. But if that branch happens to touch a primary or secondary wire then they receive a shock. At KSTR’s last meeting with ICE, locations in Quepos and Manuel Antonio where trees needed to be cut back were identified.

Members of ICE’s new Natural Resources Department were shocked by KSTR’s reports and photos of burned and amputated animals, and have asked KSTR to begin sending immediate reports of electrocutions so that the location and cause can be rapidly investigated.  This will not only help prevent injury along the same wires in the future, but it will also enable ICE to deliver better service to its customers since each time an animal is electrocuted, power is lost, requiring ICE to track down the exact location of the outage and restore the electricity.

A Visit To the KSTR Animal Rescue Center

Pía and Kinky, our kinkajou.

We were lucky enough recently to get a tour of KSTR’s rescue center with Pía Martín, KSTR’s full-time vet. For the past year and a half, Pía has been caring for the animals at KSTR’s rehabilitation facility, which is tucked within 4 acres of Manuel Antonio rainforest owned and protected by KSTR. The sanctuary is managed by KSTR’s staff and volunteers and is overseen by MINAET, Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment and Energy.

Currently, the rescue center is home to about 15 animals, among them Titi monkeys, red squirrels, marmosets, kinkajous, sloths, raccoons, anteaters, and even a toucan. The center specializes in sloths and Titi monkeys, but as the only rescue center in the Central Pacific Coast area, KSTR recognizes the need to help other species as well. The center’s trained professionals and volunteer interns work to rehabilitate and return animals into the wild and reunite them with their respective troops.

Large hand-constructed cages made from heavy wood and screens are used to house monkeys, kinkajous, and raccoons during their recovery periods. Smaller cages, pet carrying cases, and even laundry baskets make great homes for the smaller animals who feel secure in more compact spaces. All of the animals are walked or exercised daily in the surrounding rainforest and are given individualized diets, researched and prepared by Pia and other KSTR staff and volunteers.

Animals arrive at the rescue center from many different sources. Some are found abandoned and brought in by concerned people in the community; others are wrongly kept as pets and confiscated from homes by MINAET; and still others are unfortunate victims of electrocution or car accidents while trying to cross the roads.

Animals suffering from shock may only need to spend a night or two at the center, Pia explained, and can be released quickly after receiving medical attention, food, and water, while other animals with chronic conditions need round the clock attention and basic life skills before they can be reintegrated into the wild. Sammy the sloth, for example, struggled with pneumonia when he first arrived at the center and his growth has been stunted do to chronic illness. As part of Sammy’s rehabilitation, he is placed in fallen trees and low brush so that he can develop his climbing skills. Depending on Sammy’s progress he may be able to be released in about a year. KSTR plans to provide permanent homes for animals that can’t be reintegrated at its Wildlife Sanctuary located at the nearby Blue Banyan Inn.

Urgent and more extensive care can also be provided by Pia in her veterinarian office located on the grounds. Stocked with medical supplies, medicines, a microscope, and an examination table, she is able to perform surgeries, such as amputations of burnt limbs, or investigate samples from the animals to track down disease sources or forms of disease transmission.

To date this year, the center has taken in over 40 animals and expects at least another 20 by the year’s end, although, as Pia said, you can never predict how many animals will be in need of care.

For more information about the rescue center or to find out how you can volunteer or make a donation visit KSTR.

Tour KSTR’s Wildlife Sanctuary Today!

Pia, KSTR’s vet, attending to Sammy, a rescue sloth.

My name is Trevor and I was a volunteer animal rehabilitator who worked with KSTR’s veterinarian, Pia, performing rescue, rehab and release techniques for the many sick, abandoned or injured animals that come into the KSTR clinic everyday. To give you a little glimpse into the kind of work KSTR does, KSTR now has a special tour! I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, great, another tour in Quepos/Manuel Antonio….” Well, I’m here to tell you that this tour is a little different than the average tour you might find in the area.

The new KSTR tour is three years in the making, thanks in part to our very generous donors and volunteers. It offers visitors a chance to get a behind the scenes look at how their money is helping save injured animals with a glimpse into the work performed at the clinic (via a slide show) and a chance to see the new KSTR animal sanctuary, organic garden, and organic farm located at the Blue Banyan Inn. 100% of the proceeds of this tour go to funding projects like our rehab clinic, our sanctuary, and monkey bridge projects. You too can become a donor or guardian of the rainforest.

The tour itself consists of a presentation at the Hotel Mono Azul, where the KSTR headquarters is located. During this presentation we will take you behind the scenes of the rehab clinic, highlighting the animals we currently have at the clinic and how we are helping to rehabilitate them. We will also discuss other projects that KSTR has going on that help save the rainforest. After this presentation, if you choose, you can make a piece of jewelry, a postcard, or bookmark that we will then sell in the KSTR store, from which all proceeds go to protecting the rainforest. Then it’s off to the sanctuary! It is just a 20 minute drive from the Hotel Mono Azul to the beautiful property of the Blue Banyan Inn. Once at the sanctuary you will come face to face with over 20 animals who cannot be released into the wild and call the sanctuary home. After the sanctuary we stroll through the organic garden and farm where you can pick or cut your own fresh limes, sugar cane, or pineapple.

If you are still thinking to yourself, “How is this tour different?” let me sum it up for you…this tour does not make a profit! All of the proceeds of this tour go right back into KSTR’s Wildlife Sanctuary Project.  You’re sure to learn something new and have a good time doing it!

Tour Time: 2 PM to 5 PM. Private tour times can be arranged.

Prices: $35 for adults and $25 for children (open to all ages). For $10 more, dinner and swimming are included at the Hotel Mono Azul.

To book: Contact KSTR at 2777-2592 or email us.

Pia, KSTR’s vet, attending to Sammy, a rescue sloth.

Mangos for the Monkeys

Volunteer Profile: Juan Carlos Monge Gogni, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

The day after the big storm in June that left Manuel Antonio without power or running water for 4 days, Juan Carlos Monge Gogni made his way down one of the steep, unpaved roads to the beach. There were broken trees everywhere and the road looked empty, he recalled, until he spotted one lone monkey sitting in a tree staring straight at him.

“He was making some noises and looked so sad like he was trying to tell me something,” Juan Carlos said. “He was fixated on me and I was fixated on him. His face was of something in distress, and I understood he needed help. It was like we were having a conversation.”

It was this event that led Juan Carlos to research how he could help save the monkeys. He began to plant mango trees that he had grown from seed in his backyard in the same area where he had his encounter with the monkey. Mangos are a popular food for monkey species living in the area.

Soon after, Juan Carlos reached out to KSTR and began volunteering at The Blue Banyan Inn, helping care for the monkeys in the sanctuary and putting his horticulture skills to further use, planting vegetable and fruit trees. The food will serve to feed not only the guests at the inn but also the monkeys housed at the sanctuary, and will further the inn’s goal of being a fully sustainable community.

Juan Carlos has also recruited two local teenaged boys to help work at the inn one day a week, building a labyrinth and tending to the nursery.

“I want to help the kids,” Juan Carlos said. “I want to educate them to respect their environment. Some kids can be so cruel. They don’t see the beauty and they don’t know how lucky they are. For them an ocean view, or a monkey, or a mango is an everyday thing.”

Johan Montero Erhas, one of the volunteers working with Juan Carlos, said his experience has been a good one and that he will definitely tell his friends about it to try to get them involved. ”I was very excited to get to work directly with the monkeys,” he said. This was his first time seeing a monkey up close.

The idea of volunteering is not a natural concept in Costa Rica, Juan Carlos explained, but the boys are showing interest in helping and have started asking questions about nature.

“Their first reaction when they found a bee or some insect was to kill it,” he said. “But it’s nature, you don’t need to kill it, I explained. The other day we were in the house and one of them tried to kill an insect and the other asked why kill it. They both looked at me like they were proud because they didn’t kill it.”

In the future, Juan Carlos hopes to open art school for children in the area that incorporates volunteer activities with KSTR. “I want to try to make the kids understand the importance of the animals,” he said.