On February 24, 2009, Mike and I were sitting on the deck of the pole house Mike and I were building, with our friends Cathy and Tim. The sunset was gorgeous, we were laughing and enjoying each others company when Mike heard the transformer on the property sizzle and pop in that dismaying sound when something touches a live electrical wire. Mike climbed down the stairs and went over to the transformer and said, “Judy, come here.” I could tell by the sound of his voice it was not good. When Cathy and I reached Mike and Tim, he pointed to a mother squirrel monkey with a baby on her back. The mother had been electrocuted and she fallen about 12 feet with the baby still on her back. She was still alive, but seriously injured. She was trying to scamper away, but it was obvious she had been burned on her paws and was having problems moving. She was also disoriented and stunned. The decision was made to bring both of them back to the house and we found a large bucket and Mike picked up the Mother by the tail and dropped her in the bucket with the baby still clutching it’s mother.
We kept the Mother and baby in our bedroom that night and heard a bit of movement during the night and hoped for the best, however, upon arising the next morning, we discovered the mother had died still clutching her baby to her breasts. The baby appeared to be fine. Mike pulled the baby from the dead mother’s arms and it was one of the saddest sights I have ever witnessed. Seeing the mother lay there with her arms still folded over her chest like she was holding her baby made me weep. Mike buried the Mother and we started talking about what to do with the baby.
Before we came to Costa Rica, I jokingly asked Mike if I could have a monkey. He said only if a monkey fell at our feet. We soon came to realize how prophetic that joke was to become. We decided it was not a good idea to keep the baby monkey. He was building a house and I wasn’t ready to become a full time foster mother. We called an animal rescue in San Jose and they agreed to take the monkey. A tico family offered to take the monkey, but Mike and I ultimately agreed the best course of action would be to rehabilitate the baby monkey to be re-released into the wild. We were going to San Jose in a couple of weeks for some Medical appointments and we would take the baby monkey then.
The baby was waking up about every two and three hours at first for feedings. We were feeding it regular cow’s dry milk very much diluted. We fed him with a tiny visine eye dropper bottle. He would drink so fast and furious; his little stomach looked like a miniature baby Buddha. Due to not enough suckling from his real mother, he took to sucking his thumb. We were to later learn this behavior is not common among baby monkeys in the wild. The baby monkey got very attached to Mike and me right away and would clutch our arms with all of his might using the instincts for holding onto mother monkeys as they jumped through trees with daring leaps and bounds and freefalls.
Mike and I loved this adorable creature, but we were determined the best course of action would be for him to be in a wild live reserve.
Later, the Trip to San Jose.