Friday, June 21, 2024

Authorities confirm 157 monkey deaths in southern Mexico

One hundred and fifty-seven howler monkeys have died in the southern states of Chiapas and Tabasco as of May 22, according to Mexico’s Environment Ministry (Semarnat)Of those, 125 were in Tabasco, while 32 deaths were reported in Chiapas. 

Reports of wild howler monkeys falling dead from trees in Mexico’s tropical forests began at the onset of the season’s second heat wave, at the beginning of May. While initial reports came from Tabasco and Chiapas, cases of animals suffering from heat exhaustion are also being reported in Veracruz and Campeche.

A volunteer gives a monkey a sip of Gatorade to help with heat exhaustion
The Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp) also activated an emergency fund that will be used for community and academic initiatives in support of the monkeys. (Comunicación Asertiva – Campeche/Facebook)

Semarnat stressed that actions are being taken to prevent more animal deaths. In the municipalities of Hueyapan and Catemaco in the state of Veracruz, the ministry said officials are installing water fountains for monkeys. It also noted that assistance in Tabasco includes mobile care units made up of volunteers from civil society and wildlife experts. The Juárez Autonomous University of Tabasco (UJAT) reported that it would enable an additional mobile unit on its campus in Comalcalco to extend care in the region. 

The Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp) also activated an emergency fund that will be used for community and academic initiatives in support of the monkeys.

As for Campeche, authorities established two aid brigades in the towns of Miguel Colorado and Felipe Carrillo Puerto. 

High temperatures are causing monkey deaths

On Sunday, Semarnat reported that it conducted an emergency operation to determine the cause of the monkey deaths occurring in Mexico’s southern jungles.

In addition, the United States-Mexico Commission for the Prevention of Foot and Mouth Disease and Other Exotic Animal Diseases (CPA) conducted a clinical inspection of sick specimens, including some that had recently died. After taking biological samples and sending them to various laboratories for analysis, scientists ruled out emerging diseases or toxicological elements to be the cause.

Semarnat confirmed that the monkeys in Tabasco and Chiapas are dying due to heat stroke caused by the scorching temperatures suffocating Mexico. A lack of rainfall has also led to water shortages in streams and springs, the main sources of water where Mexico’s monkeys live. 

How many monkeys have been rescued?

Specialists and members of various communities in Tabasco, with help from the Federal Attorney General for Environmental Protection (Profepa), assisted seven monkeys in critical condition. They have since been reintroduced to their natural habitat after returning to good health.

With reports from El Financiero

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