Back in 1999, two friends, Janine Licare and Aislin Livingstone, got the idea to raise money for a project to “save the rainforest,” so they set about selling papier-mâché bottles and painted rock paperweights from a “crazy cute” roadside stand.
They were shocked to discover that the money they raised was not enough to buy and save the entire forest, they were only nine after all, so they started small by making monkey bridges.
Monkey bridges provide a safe way for monkeys to get across the road. Much better than power lines, which have a nasty tendency to electrocute a crossing primate from time to time.
Hearing their story had us excited to see what became of the project after fifteen years, so we headed into the forest to check it out. Quite an operation has grown from those humble beginnings, placing bridges (over one hundred and thirty so far) in areas where monkeys often travel is still a big part of it, and those efforts have paid off big time. Since beginning the program the population of the once-endangered squirrel monkey has more doubled.
The bridges were just the beginning; they have worked with Costa Rica’s National Park Service and schools to plant nearly seven thousand rainforest trees, and the Wildlife Rescue Center and Sanctuary is now in full swing. To date they have saved hundreds of monkeys, also in addition to marmosets, tamarins, kinkajou, sloths, porcupines, parrots, and parakeets.
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