Rescued Howler Monkeys Return to Their Forest Home in Costa Rica

After a lengthy stay at a wildlife rehabilitation center, rescuers are celebrating the next step for three little howler monkeys who have finally returned home to the forest in Costa Rica.

Since being rescued four years ago as infants, Jordanny, Sophie and Lola have been cared for at the Refuge for Wildlife, which is supported by International Animal Rescue (IAR).

According to IAR, Jordanny was the first to be rescued after he was found on the side of the road all alone in 2015.

szgAYwPxCredit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

It’s unknown what happened to his mother, but Jordanny, who was still dependent on her, would never have survived on his own.

ONChIVW6Credit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

Almost a year later, Lola and Sophie were taken in from another rescue that wasn’t able to care for primates.

zbcvLMkCCredit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

Since then, the three have become fast friends and have spent time undergoing a lengthy rehabilitation process at the refuge, where they developed all the skills they would need to survive on their own in the wild.

o0ckwQC8Credit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

After they were deemed ready, they were moved to a newly built enclosure in a heavily forested area on land belonging to the ecological and spiritual community of PachaMama.

HYymvI3TCredit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

They would spend a few weeks there getting used to their new surroundings before their caretakers decided it was time to set them free.

g902vY1FCredit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

“We are very excited to finally release these howler monkeys back to the forest after years of intensive care provided by all the staff of the refuge at the different stages. Together as a team our veterinary crew, animal keepers, admin personnel and volunteers have successfully completed the final stage of the rehabilitation of these individuals and we cannot be more excited for them. We have completed our goal after a tremendous effort from everyone. To be able to see these monkeys free is the best reward we can have,” said refuge veterinarian Dr. Francisco Sánchez Murillo.

Oy5OzrdfCredit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

Now, they’re celebrating a successful return for this young trio. According to IAR, Lola was the first to venture out, followed by the other two and they quickly made their way into the trees. While food was left for them inside the enclosure for a few days, just in case they wanted to return, none of them ventured back.

jhObr9ZfCredit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

“Watching these amazing monkeys grow from tiny, fragile infants into confident, healthy young adults has been an absolute pleasure. Because of the types of injuries endured by many of our rescues, not all orphaned howlers survive to adulthood so a release like this one is especially emotional for us. When they were very young, we celebrated every milestone with bittersweet emotions knowing that one day we would watch them leave us forever. Our job is a tough one, but moments like this remind us of how important it is for us to continue helping and protecting the wildlife of Costa Rica,” said Laura Wilkinson, Refuge Media Manager & Wildlife Protection Team.

VZdcHQ0UCredit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue

Hopefully these young howler monkeys will thrive in their new home, and their story will help raise awareness about the plight of their species in Costa Rica. While they face a number of threats, their advocates have been especially focused on reducing the risk of them being electrocuted on uninsulated power cables and transformers, which these monkeys use to travel through an increasingly developed landscape.

Sadly, they’ve continued to suffer from terrible injuries and death as a result. According to the Refuge for Wildlife, it receives over 100 calls about incidents every year. It’s launched a ‘Stop the Shocks’ program in an effort to change things, and has continued engage in efforts to prevent this from being a problem.

Photo credit: Refuge for Wildlife/International Animal Rescue


Virgene L
Virgene L23 days ago

Good news indeed! Thank you Barb.

Susan H
Susan H26 days ago


Yvonne T
Yvonne T26 days ago

so sweet....yes- I m also happy for them:-)

Mark Donner
Mark Donner29 days ago

Costa Rica has set aside 40% of the country for national parks/wilderness. Costa Rica recently also added large protected marine areas. (In contrast less than 5% of the US is protected wilderness, and if you ignore Alaska, it's less than 2%). There's a lot of degraded area in Costa Rica from the time when forests were being cut down, but that's changed. Brazil is going backwards.. they recently elected Booanaro, who is a Trump clone, a fascist who wants to kill indigenous tribes and cut down the Amazon for corporate crooks. He needs to be thrown out as soon as possible.

Joan E
Joan Eabout a month ago

Happy for them.

Heather B
Heather Babout a month ago


Ruth S
Ruth Sabout a month ago


Thomas M
Thomas Mabout a month ago

Thank you

Carole R
Carole Rabout a month ago

I'm so glad they're free again.

Frances G
Frances Gabout a month ago

very good