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Monkeys Escape from Research Facility


PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Alexandra Sims
Monday 29 June 2015

Over two dozen monkeys have escaped in Puerto Rico after a lock was broken on their enclosure at a primate research facility.

Police say that as many as 30 rhesus macaques monkeys were freed yesterday morning from the Caribbean Primate Research Centre in Toa Baja.

The centre, which was established in the late 1930s, operates in conjunction with the University of Puerto Rico and supplies monkeys used to study human diseases.

The monkeys have been blamed for scavenging crops and damaging natural resources on the US Caribbean island, resulting the euthanizing of hundreds of wild monkeys.

Rhesus macaques, are one of the best known species of Old World monkeys and often live close to humans. The monkeys have believed to have complex cognitive abilities and have been involved in studies for a variety of medical breakthroughs including the development of rabies, small pox, and polio vaccines.

The monkeys' escape has already ignited the interest of Reddit readers who are referring to the incident as a real life version of the classic film, Planet of the Apes.


At Least 21 Primates Freed from Laboratory in Puerto Rico

For Immediate Release
July 1, 2015

According to news reports, late Saturday/early Sunday at the Sabana Seca Field Station of the Caribbean Primate Research Center, a cage was forced open and at least 21 monkeys were freed. The field station is located in Toa Baja, a town on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, where Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural and Environmental Resources estimates that some 550 rhesus monkeys and 200 pata monkeys live in the wild.

News reports are, of course, claiming the primates are dangerous, infected with viruses, and are being recaptured. This is not unusual spin orchestrated by the targeted facilities and their perpetrators of animal abuse.



According to news reports, "The cage's padlock was removed and the chain cut, allowing about 30 Rhesus monkeys to escape from the CPRC."

Wild monkeys move in bands and some members of the group are always on watch to alert the rest of the band to danger. When the guards scream their alert, the band flees from humans with such speed and agility that a casual encounter is unlikely, according to Carlos Carazo, Puerto Rico’s assistant secretary of Environmental Health.

Although they can transmit rabies, Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, and other infectious agents that can sicken humans, Puerto Rican authorities have no record of any instance of transmission of viruses from monkeys to humans on the island.

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