Mission monkey was likely headed to Mexico
Tue, 15 May 2012 23:34:44 GMT —
A long-sought patas monkey spent its first day quarantined at Brownsville TMs Gladys Porter Zoo on Tuesday.
It remains unclear how the monkey arrived in the Rio Grande Valley, but the zookeeper at the Brownsville zoo said he has a good idea of where it was likely headed.
The primate is currently being held inside a small cell at the zoo for the next 30 to 45 days, a standard procedure to determine its health and behavior.
But according to Jerry Stones, the lead zookeeper at the Gladys Porter Zoo, the monkey will not stay there.
"We really don TMt have a place for him," Stones said.
He added that the zoo is full and cannot take a monkey of his size and species.
"I'm going to put the word out to other zoos but the problem is we don TMt know its lineage," he said.
That lack of information will complicate its future in determining where it will go.
But Stones said a zoo or primate sanctuary would be a better option than where he thinks the monkey was likely headed in the first place.
"He could've been ready to be smuggled into Mexico, he guessed. And while they're trying to figure out how to pack him so they don TMt see him at the bridge, he got loose."
Mexican law restricts the trafficking of primates in and out of the country, making it a lucrative smuggling operation.
For Stones, that would explain why no one has claimed him.
"Those people are not going to say, hey, I need my monkey because I want to smuggle him into Mexico, Stones continued. They're going to keep their mouth shut."
Several years back, the zoo would be flooded with requests from anxious owners hoping to get rid of their smuggled pet monkeys, Stones add.
But up until recently, that has changed.
"We more have to get them from being confiscated in a drug bust or caught being smuggled across the river or something like that," he concluded.
Stones said the zoo will not take in unwanted primates, but can help find them a proper home.
He added that most of the calls they get are from pet owners wanting to get rid of their large pet cats like tigers.