Over the years, Manuel Antonio has developed a reputation where tourists could hand-feed the local monkeys.
That practice has now ended with Costa Rica instituting a new regulation that prohibits food in the park. Now, only individuals with medical conditions requiring them to eat at certain times are allowed to bring food into the park.
The monkeys and other animals in the park have experienced significant changes in their diet over the years as a result of the packaged foods brought into the park by tourists.
Those changes have proved to be detrimental to the animals in many ways. Among the most significant changes is that the animals are at risk for developing diabetes, bone problems, tooth decay, and more.
Additionally, as the animals become increasingly reliant on human food, the protein and calcium in their diet has decreased, while sugar and fat have increased.
By refusing to eat the natural foods once common to their diet, these animals now have little phosphorous and calcium, both of which are vital for producing healthy young.
With each additional pregnancy, the females lose more and more calcium and are producing increasingly weaker offspring. Over time, this can have significant long-term consequences.
At the same time, the young of the species are becoming more reliant on human food and have not learned how to hunt on their own and survive in their natural habitat.
The problem is not only affecting the local monkey population but also raccoons and other animals.
In the case of raccoons, which are naturally nocturnal, their regular schedules have been disrupted in order to take advantage of the opportunity for people to feed them.
Increasing cases of aggression in monkeys as well as raccoons seeking food have now been noted.
Yet another risk is that the local ecosystem has developed an imbalance. While the monkeys should be consuming fruits and dispersing the seeds on the ground, leading to new plant growth, they have abandoned those fruits.
Since the local animals are not eating bugs but instead snacking on foods brought in by humans, the local insect population is increasing too quickly, which is having adverse reactions on the crops.
Costa Rica Asks Visitors Not to Feed Monkeys in Manuel Antonio
Article/Property ID Number 5314
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