Dear Tico Times:
As many enlightened people know, in all the world the mono titi (squirrel monkey) exists only in Manuel Antonio, in Costa Rica’s central Pacific coast, and is threatened with extinction.
One of the surest ways to speed extinction is for humans to give these monkeys food, upsetting their natural diet of insects, fruits, nectar, bird eggs, lizards and bats.
Manuel Antonio’s resounding motto is “do not feed the monkeys!”
Yet an unknown number of Manuel Antonio hotels and restaurants have installed and maintain artificial feeders to lure the monkeys as a “service” to their customers. While sitting at these hotels and restaurants, tourists are “guaranteed” the pleasure of seeing monkeys come to feed, enhancing the tourist experience.
However, this causes a change in the animals’ natural behavior and exposes both the animals and people to contagious diseases.
The practice of using artificial feeders is ethically criminal.
These hotels and restaurants should be identified and a cross-and-bones flag hoisted on each, to warn off ethical tourists. Spotting monkeys in these places is nothing more than a trained monkey hurdy-gurdy-type of experience.