A short story By Volunteer Kevin Ellenburg
The Petersons were very excited. They were going to Costa Rica! They had heard lots of fantastic things about the country, and they couldn’t wait to see the monkeys. “I wonder if they like bananas”, said Tommy, the youngest of the Petersons. “Of course they do” said Mr. Peterson. “ALL monkeys love bananas”.
And so the Petersons got on a plane, flew over to Costa Rica, and headed towards their resort. When they arrived, Hugo, the resort owner, happily showed them their house. It was a beautiful little home by the beach. Wildlife was everywhere, and they had a nice little balcony to watch the animals from. “This is wonderful!” They all said “I can’t wait to see the monkeys!”
Hugo, having experience with tourists, was a bit worried. “Just remember: don’t feed the monkeys. It’s bad for them.” Hugo glanced at his watch. “I don’t have time to say anything else, but all of the reasons can be found in this pamphlet.”
“Don’t worry” said Mrs. Peterson. “We understand. We won’t feed the monkeys.”
Days passed. The Petersons loved Costa Rica. They went white water rafting. They went zip lining. They did all sorts of things, but they had not yet seen a monkey. Then, one morning, suddenly, the monkeys came. They ran all over the balcony. They played on the hammock, played with each other. It was amazing. The Petersons loved them! That day it was Titi monkeys. The next day: Capuchins. It was monkey madness!
“How cute!” said Mrs. Peterson. “Look at them go!” said Mr. Peterson. “I wanna keep one!” said Tommy Peterson.
The Petersons all laughed. They were having a wonderful time. They talked about feeding them, but they quickly remembered what Hugo said. Still, though, they were so cute, and they DID look hungry.
One day, while Tommy Peterson and Mrs. Peterson were having fun on the beach, Mr. Peterson was alone at the house. He was sitting on the balcony when, suddenly, a troop of monkeys showed up. Mr. Peterson was so excited! He watched the monkeys as they searched for food and ate colorful fruits from the nearby trees, but one monkey wasn’t having quite as much luck. It ran around looking for food, but the other monkeys kept getting the food first. “Poor monkey” thought Mr. Peterson. It was so sad, and Mr. Peterson felt terrible. He had to do something.
So, Mr. Peterson rushed into the house, grabbed the biggest banana that he could find, and started to feed that poor, hungry monkey. As soon as they saw that giant banana, all of the other monkeys gathered around Mr. Peterson, hoping for a bite. “All of these monkeys look hungry!” thought Mr. Peterson. “I can’t let them starve!” So Mr. Peterson rushed into the house, grabbed all of the bananas that he could find, and started to feed all of the poor, hungry monkeys.
The next day, there were even more monkeys. This time, though, it was Mrs. Peterson that was alone on the balcony, eating a granola bar. “They’re so cute!” thought Mrs. Peterson. Looking at the monkeys, she tore a piece off of her granola bar. “Just one little bite shouldn’t hurt…”
The monkeys were pretty smart. They decided to stay in the area near that balcony, watching and waiting. That next day, it was Tommy Peterson that was alone on the balcony, eating some cookies and a nice and juicy sandwich. He was enjoying himself, looking at all of the beautiful trees and the wonderful ocean view, when, out of nowhere, the monkeys attacked! They charged forward, and grabbed Tommy’s delicious cookies. Tommy was terrified! In fear, he held his sandwich to his face and tried to protect it from the monkeys. The monkeys immediately saw Tommy’s delicious sandwich and started attacking his face to try and get it. “Ow!” screamed Tommy. He dropped the sandwich and ran back into the house. Bleeding and screaming, he ran into his parents’ room. “The monkeys attacked me!” he screamed. At first, Mr. and Mrs. Peterson didn’t believe him. How could those cute and hungry monkeys hurt anyone? Then they saw the cuts all over Tommy’s face. So, they gathered some band aids and made Tommy a brand new sandwich.
The next day, all of the monkeys were gone. They were deep in the jungle, and they were all very, very sick. The Petersons were confused again. They didn’t understand why the monkeys had left them, and they felt a bit sick too. Then, out of the corner of his eyes, Tommy saw that pamphlet that Hugo had mentioned so long ago. He told his parents and, slowly, they all approached the pamphlet and began to read…
ELEVEN REASONS NOT TO FEED THE MONKEYS!!!
- MOST WILD MONKEYS DO NOT EAT BANANAS! EATING BANANAS CAN MAKE THE MONKEY SICK!
- MONKEYS THAT ARE USED TO BEING FED WILL NOT WANT TO SEARCH FOR THEIR OWN FOOD! THEY WILL ONLY WANT HUMAN FOOD AND WILL NOT SEARCH FOR THEMSELVES.
- A PREGNANT MONKEY THAT EATS TOO MANY BANANAS WILL GET SICK AND WON’T HAVE A HEALTHY BABY!
- EVEN THOUGH THEY DO NOT HURT YOU, THE GERMS ON YOUR HANDS CAN HURT THE MONKEYS AND GET THEM VERY SICK.
- THE MONKEY’S GERMS CAN GET YOU SICK, TOO!
- TO STAY HEALTHY, A MONKEY NEEDS TO TRAVEL AT LEAST 10 MILES A DAY, BUT IF A MONKEY KNOWS THAT YOU WILL FEED IT, IT WILL STAY NEARBY AND NOT GET THE EXCERSIZE THAT IT NEEDS!
- SOME MONKEYS WILL STAY IN HUMAN TOWNS OR CITIES TO BE FED. THESE MONKEYS OFTEN GET ATTACKED BY DOGS OR HIT BY CARS!
- WILD MONKEYS ARE NOT USED TO BEING FED. FEEDING CONFUSES THE MONKEYS AND MESSES WITH THEIR DAILY ROUTINE.
- FEEDING THE MONKEYS JUST A LITTLE BIT OR ONLY SOMETIMES IS BAD, TOO. MONKEYS THAT ARE ONLY SOMETIMES FED BECOME AGGRESSIVE AND WILL ATTACK PEOPLE OR OTHER ANIMALS TO GET HUMAN FOOD.
- IT’S EASIER FOR ILLEGAL PET TRADERS AND POACHERS (MONKEY KILLERS) TO TRAP AND CAPTURE A MONKEY THAT IS ALREADY USED TO HUMANS!
- THE LAW OF THE WILDLIFE STATES THAT IT IS PROHIBITED TO FEED WILD ANIMALS, THE ONLY EXCEPTION BEING A DIRE EMERGENCY WHERE A SPECIES WOULD PERISH WITHOUT FOOD.
The Petersons were very upset. They had really enjoyed feeding the monkeys, but they had not realized just how bad what they did was. The next day, they were all eating breakfast outside when a monkey showed up. The Petersons were so happy and they knew what they needed to do. Immediately, the Petersons brought their food inside. Then they went back out and watched the cute monkey run all over their balcony. The monkey played on the Petersons’ hammock and looked at his reflection inside the telescope that was on the balcony. The Petersons were not going to make a precious monkey get sick ever again.