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- Photo via Ministry of Public Security -

Monkey rescued from captivity in Alajuela

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Published on Monday, July 10, 2023
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Border Police officials from the Los Chiles Canton Station in Alajuela Province, rescued one white-faced capuchin (Cebus capucinus) that was kept in captivity.

According to the police report, during a routine patrol in Punta Cortés District, officers reported witnessing a monkey inside a house. After a brief interview, they confirmed with the house owner that the animal was kept as a pet.

The monkey was rescued and taken to an animal rescue center of the National System of Conservation Areas (Sinac), which is the organization in charge of all the wild areas and national parks in the country.

Police officers issued a complaint before the Public Ministry against the owners of the property as suspected of illegal possession of a wild animal.


The Central American white-faced capuchin is a medium-sized monkey native to the forests of Central America. This monkey is important to rainforest ecology for its role in dispersing seeds and pollen.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the monkey is regarded as vulnerable from a conservation standpoint. It is threatened by deforestation, hunting for pet trade and sometimes for bushmeat and by the fact that farmers sometimes attack them as potential threats.

Taking wild animals and keeping them captive is a crime in Costa Rica. According to Wildlife Conservation Law No.7317, people found guilty of keeping wild species in captivity could pay a fine between $600 to $26,000 or even receive a prison sentence of one to three years.

Anonymous complaints about wild animals hunting or in captivity can be made by calling line 1192.

Recently, National Coast Guard Service officers from the Limón Beach station in Limón Province rescued 10 green river turtles (Dermatemys Mawii) that were kept in captivity.

What have you heard from people who keep wild animals in captivity in your community? 
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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