Due to a heat wave with temperatures exceeding 45 degrees Celsius, numerous howler monkeys are falling from trees, dead or dehydrated, in southeastern Mexico. “We have to take care of the animals,” said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Monday. He will therefore ask the Ministry of the Environment to get involved.

According to reports from environmentalists, 78 monkeys have already died in the states of Tabasco and Chiapas. 

Rescue teams made up of biologists and veterinarians are traveling to Tabasco to provide the howler monkeys with water and food, especially fruit, according to the local civil defense. In the municipalities of Cunduacán and Comalcalco alone, a total of four howler monkeys, including a young one, were found dead.

Activists asked the public for donations of fruit to care for the monkeys. Videos circulated on social media of howler monkeys in a veterinary practice where they were given water to drink from syringes. In Cunduacán, some of the specimens were taken to a medical rescue center on a baseball field.

In addition to heat stroke and dehydration, the reasons for the death of howler monkeys include forest fires and the destruction of their natural habitat, which leads to water and food shortages, said the head of the environmental organization Cobius to the news site “Animal Político”.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the species as critically endangered and fears a further decline in the population.