QCOSTARICA – Monkeys and raccoons have lost their fear of tourists. Visitors to national parks or beaches, are becoming victims, having their belongings stolen by curious animals like the cariblanca (White-faced) monkey and raccoons.
These monkeys have become so accustomed to humans and cause mischief in places like the Arenal Volcano and Manuel Antonio national parks.
Other animals joining in the fun (mischief for us) are raccoons (mapaches) and squirrels (ardillas).
The animals have been known to approach visitors of national parks, grabbing on to bags, stealing belongings of beach goers and in some cases getting aggressive with people when they are not given their food.
Experts say it as a serious problem, since the risks are shared: humans are exposed to bites (mordidas) or scratches (aruñazos), the animals are threatened.
The main recommendation for tourists is not approach or feed the monkeys and other wildlife species. It is also recommended to keep track of belongings, especially young children, when they are eating.
The following video made by tourists in the Cahuita national parks shows how tourists are harassed by the White-faced monkeys who follow people along the beach trail and even rifle through their backpacks.