Animals

By Hayley Pugh

These heart-breaking images show a traumatised baby monkey clinging to her mum’s dead body after the horror of watching her be electrocuted.

The tiny howler monkey, called Ashley, was just two weeks old, when she was orphaned by the incident which saw her mother hit by a high power jolt as she tried to save her other child from an uninsulated electrical transformer in Playa Guiones, Costa Rica.

Pic By Refuge for Wildlife/Caters News

Little Ashely was on her mum’s back when her mother tried to help her older son who came dangerously close to the transformer.

Thankfully rescuers were able to deter her son who fled to safety but it was too late for Ashley’s mother who was electrocuted.

The shock sent Ashley falling from her mum’s back but remarkably rescuers managed to catch the baby, who escaped with minor burns.

Pic By Refuge for Wildlife/Caters News

The team from Rescue for Wildlife used special tools to get the mother down from the transformer.

The pair were reunited immediately but sadly Ashley’s mum had absorbed most of the shock – saving Ashley’s life – and she died shortly afterwards with her little one watching on.

These heart wrenching images show Ashley, who is now being cared for by Refuge for Wildlife in Nosara, clinging onto her dying mother and later snuggling up to a blanket and teddy bear, which have been given to her to provide warmth and comfort in the absence of her mother.

Pic By Refuge for Wildlife/Caters News

British-based charity International Animal Rescue (IAR) is helping Refuge for Wildlife raise awareness and funds for their vital work rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing howler monkeys and other wildlife in Costa Rica.

A spokesperson from IAR said: “Ashley suffered only minor burns and after a period of quarantine and clinic supervision, she was introduced to other babies around the same age.

“She loves to snuggle with a teddy bear and a hot water bottle which provides comfort as a sort-of surrogate mother but she’s also starting to play and explore with the other young babies.

“Orphaned howlers need 24 hour care and attention and are fed soy-based infant formula every 2-3 hours by our dedicated staff and volunteers – even in the middle of the night.

“It costs approximately £100 a month to care for one infant howler and like the other babies in our care, Ashley will stay with us at the Refuge until she is around 16-24 months old when she will start a step-down release program and return to the jungle with her new family.”

Pic By Refuge for Wildlife/Caters News

Alan Knight OBE, Chief Executive of International Animal Rescue, said: “Poor little Ashley has had a terrible start to her young life.

“Losing her mother in such a horrible way when she was just a few weeks old must have been deeply traumatising.

“It is all credit to the team at Refuge for Wildlife that she is doing so well and is even starting to play and interact with some of the other orphans.

“Uninsulated electrical wires and transformers can prove deadly to monkeys who sadly don’t know the difference between the wires and natural vines and will often travel across wires to get to feeding grounds.

Pic By Refuge for Wildlife/Caters News

“This is a particularly serious issue in areas of deforestation where monkeys have no choice but to use the wires once the trees are gone.”

Electrocutions from uninsulated electrical transformers are a common killer of howler monkeys in Costa Rica.

Two other monkey’s in Ashley’s troop also died from after being electrocuted by the same transformer.

The transformer that killed Ashley’s mom was quickly insulated the day after the accident, thanks to donations and fast work from the local electrical company.

To donate, please visit International Animal Rescue.