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Primate sanctuary advocates promote monkey retirement

Published: Apr. 27, 2018 at 2:45 PM EDT
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There was some monkey business going on in Gainesville Friday morning, with a serious mission. A group of monkey rescue employees and enthusiasts from across the country took a tour of Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary. As part of a conference, the North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (NAPSA) organized the tour.

The group has 10 reputable sanctuaries across North America with more than 720 monkeys in total. Jungle Friends takes account for more than 300 of those monkeys, some who've retired from testing and others who were irresponsibly kept as pets.

"It's important to show researchers and the general public what life is like in a sanctuary, where there is freedom to be a monkey," said Erika Fleury, program director for NAPSA. "These are not animals that can be released to the wild once they have been in captivity, so this is the best option for them."

She said the biggest issue they're facing right now is funding since all sanctuaries are non-profit and most are at capacity. There are currently more than100,000 monkeys in laboratories, and the alliance is hoping to promote monkey retirement and rehabilitation.

Tomorrow the group will wrap up the conference with another tour at the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula.