The time came to leave for San Jose and we called the director at the reserve to confirm when and where to drop off the baby monkey. However, the news was not good. The director advised us that the species of mono tities in the north of Costa Rica were different than the species found in the south. Regulations in the country did not permit him to accept our baby monkey as they wanted to keep the two species separate. Now what? We were in a bit of a quandary. It is illegal to keep an endangered animal as a pet in Costa Rica. But we could not find a legitimate establishment to take him. We also needed to go to San Jose which was a nine hour trip. What would we do with the little monkey? We finally decided to take him with us. Mike had a large camera case that made a very comfy little “baby carrier”. I padded the case with towels and got his little milk supply ready; which was basically a jar of milk and his little visine bottle.
We were nervous as there are several checkpoints in Costa Rica when traveling by automobile. Most of the time the armed policemen just checked documents and waved us through. But there was always the chance of a complete search. Most of the time, the little baby monkey just dozed, but every now and again his little head would pop out of the camera case and I knew he was ready to be fed. I was learning to distinguish his little peeps. Mono tities sound amazingly like birds. They chirp and peep and make little whistling sounds. He had a distinct and constant little peep when he was hungry.
We drove to San Jose without incident. We were staying with our friends, Dolly and George at their bed and breakfast in Alajuela. They were quite taken with our little charge and gladly “baby sat” while Mike and I attended our various appointments.
We spoke to a veterinarian while we were in San Jose and he advised orphaned baby monkeys usually “imprint” their caretakers making a release back into the wild very difficult. Adult monkeys do not make good pets as they get aggressive at sexual maturity. Sadly, most monkeys usually end up in a zoo or have to be euthanized. when they are older.
We left San Jose after a couple of days and headed back to Cuervito. Mike and I discussed at length about the baby monkeys future. After much soul searching, we decided to keep him and work towards a release to the forest when the time was right. We could only hope we were doing the right thing.