Tabasco tragedy: In this corner of Mexico, it’s so hot that rare Apes are falling dead from trees

Samuel Sweet /

With a name like Tabasco, it makes sense that the southern Mexican state is hot.

But now it’s so blisteringly bad — with temperatures as high as 45C (113F) — that dozens of an endangered monkey species have dropped dead from the tropical trees in the area.

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At least 83 of the midsize howler monkeys, known for their cacophonous calls, have been found dead in the state, which is on the Gulf coast. Others were rescued by residents, The Guardian reported, including five that were rushed to a Tecolutilla veterinarian who battled to save them.

“They arrived in critical condition, with dehydration and fever,” said Dr. Sergio Valenzuela. “They were as limp as rags. It was heatstroke.”

The pooped-out primates started appearing at the end of last week, including when a local volunteer fire-and-rescue squad showed up at Valanzuela’s office with the creatures in the bed of the truck. He put ice on their hands and feet, and hooked them up to IVs.

Fortunately, the monkeys appear to be on the mend in cages at the animal doctor’s facility. “They’re recovering. They’re aggressive … they’re biting again,” he told the outlet.

In a statement over the weekend, Tabasco’s Civil Protection agency attributed the deaths to dehydration and a source from the agency told Reuters that monkeys have been confirmed dead in three municipalities of the state.

Even the Mexican president, Tabasco native Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has got involved.  “I’ve been visiting the state for a long time and I have never felt it as much as now,” he said on Monday when asked about the monkey deaths. “So, yes, we have to care for the animals and yes we are going to do it.”

Another reason to howl about climate change.

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