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For over 70 years, rhesus monkeys have lived along the banks of the Silver River in Marion County. According to local legend, the monkeys were introduced into the area by a tour boat operator in the 1930s. Spotting the monkeys can be a highlight of canoe trips in the Silver River State Park, or during glass-bottomed boat tours at the adjacent Silver Springs theme park. The monkeys have lived a peaceful existence in the wild, but the State of Florida considers them to be “nonnative” and allows occasional trapping of monkeys.

Although there have been reports in the past that trapped monkeys were sold into the research industry, recently a tipster provided information to ARFF that strongly suggests a laboratory cage is the likely destination for monkeys leaving Marion County this month. According to the anonymous tip, a group of live-trapped monkeys will be delivered to PrimGen (formerly Three Springs Scientific), a supplier of monkeys for use in experimentation and testing.

There are methods of population control that are humane and effective, such as the trapping, sterilization and return of monkeys. In fact, a sterilization program has been carried-out before in Marion County, in collaboration with the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida.

It is a tragedy that wild monkeys from Marion County are torn from their families and forest homes and sold to research and testing laboratories. Once wild and free, these sensitive and intelligent animals will end their lives in labs where pain and suffering are routine. Please contact the Florida Park Service and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and demand an end to the trapping of monkeys for the research industry at Silver River State Park and other state lands.

Contact:

Donald Forgione, Director
Florida Park Service
Online comment form (select “Silver River State Park” from the drop-down list)

Please copy your comments to the Florida DEP:

Herschel T. Vinyard Jr., Secretary
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Online comment form (select “Recreation & Parks” from the drop-down list)

4 Responses to “Wild monkeys from Silver River trapped & sold to research labs”

  1. on 29 Jan 2012 at 8:57 pm Christi Bonner

    I am Beyond Angry & Saddened that our state is allowing the ‘Eventual Torture & Murder’ of these wild monkeys! Are they Really hurting anyone or that eco-system? I know they provide tourism dollars & joy to soo many that travel that river, including myself, when I was a child! These Rhesus monkeys are soo very intelligent & sensitive & when you trap & rip away their family members, those that are left behind suffer much the same way a human would! But the worst of it is what type of abuse, mental & physical torture they will endure once they are sent to these Disgusting Labs! Can you only imagine the fright these monkeys feel when ‘kidnapped’, screaming & flailing to get away only to be injected with chemicals & cut-on & living out the rest of their lives in cold, metal, cages, when all they’ve ever known is freedom along this river, up in the trees?! Anyone that supports this practice & helps it to continue is a Sick, Apathetic, Cold, Selfish, piece of Human Waste! I don’t write emails or letters normally, about anything. I’m not affiliated with any animal rights groups. I don’t go to their meetings or join in protests. (though I probably should) But, reading of this put a knot it my guts that just wouldn’t go away until I voiced my thoughts. I’m a voter & a Native Floridian. Any one govt. official that takes part in moving forward with this horrific act will be on my mind for years to come. I will not do anything to help advance their careers through voting or word of mouth but instead will spread their name & their affiliation with this cruelty to Every Last Person I know!

    Sincerly,

    Christi Bonner

  2. on 02 Feb 2012 at 12:42 pm Ann

    I seriously question the population issue and would like some “scientific” documentation of the numbers. According to the National Geographic web site, female Rhesus Monkeys usually produce one young each year. We are not talking about litters and litters of puppies here. The hype published in recent articles would have one believing along these lines. I frequently kayak this river as well as the Ocklawaha River. When and if I do see Monkeys, there have only been as many as a dozen at a time.

    Let’s also look at the issue of feeding the Monkeys. Why is it a problem? I can remember in the late ’70s or early ’80s visiting the Silver Springs Tourist Attraction and taking the Jungle Cruise Boat Ride. As we approached the island to see the monkeys, the tour guide instructed us to remain in our seats, if a monkey jumped on the boat not to panic and he then proceeded to tell us to let them have whatever it was they were after. One had recently gone after a shiny piece of jewelry worn by tourist.

    With an average life span of about 25 years, this is the only home these monkeys know - the first ones were introduced in the 1930s.Its time the exploitation stopped and these Monkeys are allowed to live in a humane environment.

    These animals have been exploited since the day they were put on the river. Its time to stop.Education is needed. If feeding the monkeys is so dangerous, why are there not signs along the river? When a human goes into the wild, is not common sense to store food safely from all wild animals?

  3. on 02 Feb 2012 at 1:03 pm Ann

    In my previous statement I think I neglected to say that after all the instructions from the tour boat operator on the Jungle Cruise, he proceeded to feed bananas to the monkeys.

  4. on 28 Feb 2012 at 6:38 pm Laughing at you

    Seriously? They’re monkeys. I suggest that, instead, your children be experimented on - as in, any research that has ever been done using animals to produce vaccines or any other drugs beneficial to humans never, ever be given to you or your children.

    Better yet, if monkeys are so wonderful, move them into your living room. If you don’t feed and care for them out of your own pocket until they die of old age, arrest you, imprison you and take over your house for a monkey preserve - then, tax your relatives so the monkeys can wear gold watches and be fed cocconut pie day and night by PhD trained monkey feeders all at your expense.

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