The tourism industry is booming in Costa Rica, which is great for the economy but devastating for howler monkeys native to the region. Construction of new all-inclusive resorts and gated-community condominiums requires bulldozing of rare rain forest leaves, fruit, and flowers that these monkeys depend upon for food.
Unlike most other monkeys, howlers stay in a central location with their community of 12-15 individuals rather than moving long distances throughout the jungle. This makes the endangered species very susceptible to habitat destruction. Howlers are arboreal creatures that spend their entire lives in treetops. If their treetops are replaced with high rises and power lines, the will have no chance of survival.
Howler monkeys have no other option but to relocate to unsafe city streets and cocoa plantations when their forests are destroyed. This also creates a long term ecological effect because howlers play a key role in the regeneration of plant life. The monkeys disperse seeds in their dung, which is an important resource for beetles that recycle these nutrients back into the soil.
Additional rain forest destruction in this region is senseless and unnecessary. As with many tourist areas, restaurants, bars, and hotels come and go as businesses are mismanaged and infrastructure collapses. Countless vacant buildings and empty lots currently line the streets of the most popular cities and coastal towns. New businesses could easily utilize these unused and wasted spaces, which have already undergone natural destruction, to rebuild upon and pursue new businesses.
You can read more about the howler monkeys and their habitat here. We need to urge the Costa Rican government to utilize existing vacant and unused spaces to simultaneously improve the tourism industry while also avoiding the destruction of new land at the expense of the howler monkeys.
*Please sign the petition on Force Change.