The Guard Corps of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) is aware of the sightings of monkeys in some parts of the island and is already working on strategies to capture them.
But while they succeed, Lieutenant Ángel Atienza reminded the public that these are animals that are dangerous and can transmit diseases to humans, so no one should try to catch them, much less keep them as pets.
Atienza stressed that the recent sightings that have been reported are not a particular situation. He explained that, in the area from Humacao to Fajardo, it is known that there are monkeys because there are people who take them out of Cayo Santiago, the islet that is also known as the Island of the monkeys and where there are scientific research facilities with these primates.
“What happens is that there are people who go and have taken them as pets. We recently caught one in Luquillo that had a necklace and everything, ”said the lieutenant.
Meanwhile, in Carolina they also know that there is a monkey doing its thing, near some warehouses, and that it has been sighted by multiple people.
“It is only one. But what happens is that in the area where it is, it is a risk to use darts to catch it, because there are many people and a lot of traffic in the area. And we don’t want to cause a situation where they run away and cause an accident or something like that ”, Atienza explained about the logistics problem they face to capture the loose specimen in Carolina.
He added that it is unlikely that the monkey will leave there because “in that area there is a lot of fruit, a lot of mangos, and all this makes it more difficult for it to fall into the traps, because it has a lot to eat.”
There is also another area in Sabana Seca where they work to capture monkeys, but with a different strategy, because “in this case it is a group, and we don’t want it to disperse. We want to keep them together so we can catch them all. “
“But for that we have to talk to the people in the area, to see how they are behaving, where they are passing, collect all that information and then set the traps,” Atienza explained.
They also have traps already in place in two areas in Arecibo and Vega Baja, for “monkeys that we hope to catch soon.”
The lieutenant commented that to capture the monkeys they need the cooperation of the people and permission to access the patios and roofs of residences. He explained that with this, on the one hand the same people can be aware of the traps and to some extent monitor them, and on the other they avoid having to place them in public places, because “we have set traps in public places and they steal them, times with the monkey inside and everything ”.
Atienza took the opportunity to remind the population that “all monkeys are dangerous. They can transmit many diseases to humans, there are more than 100 diseases that we share with them ”.
One of those that can transmit is “a type of herpes that they can carry and is fatal for humans.”
The DNER Guard Corps expert explained that, in case people come across a monkey, they should not try to catch it. “If you corner him or lock him up, he gets more aggressive and is more dangerous.”
What you need to do is call Guard Corps at the number 787-230-5550, so that the guards come to capture him.
“Try not to lose sight of it, but don’t try to catch it. If you see that it is around your house, you can tell us what days at what times, and that is easier to set the traps, ”Atienza explained.
As an example, he highlighted a capture they made a few months ago in the Encantada area, in Trujillo Alto. “A mother with a baby went into a house. What we said to the family was: ‘close the house and wait’. We went there and caught them and there were no problems. “
He commented that, in general, the normal pattern of a monkey is that it goes to the same place every other day, looking for food near the houses, in trash cans or the food that is put on the dogs.
“They more or less have their area that they frequent and they know where to go,” he said.
“But don’t try to catch them,” Atienza insisted. “They can become dangerous and they are very skilled animals, with quick movements. They can get aggressive, they can bite, or scratch. “
He added that no one should have a pet monkey and urged not to buy one. He indicated that if he knows of someone who has it, he can report it anonymously to the same number of the Police Corps. Also, “if someone has a monkey, and wants to give it up voluntarily, they can do it, they will not be asked questions or anything. It goes and is collected ”.
“But if he has it as a pet, which is something that he should not do under any circumstances, but if it were the case, he should not let them touch him or share straws, glasses and things like that with him,” Atienza reiterated, insisting on the danger of disease transmission posed by monkeys.