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For Immediate Release: 12/14/06

National group repeats call for legislation; offers to provide sanctuary for escaped snow monkey

Wayne County, NC — The Animal Protection Institute (API), a national animal advocacy organization, is again calling upon legislators to ban the ownership of dangerous wild and exotic animals in North Carolina. This most recent request follows reports of an escaped monkey, a female Japanese macaque or “snow monkey,” on the grounds of a home for persons with disabilities in Goldsboro. The owner of the monkey claims the monkey is upset and grieving after the death of her partner.

API has offered to re-home the animal at the API Primate Sanctuary near San Antonio, Texas, which is home to more than 400 snow monkeys, many of whom came from inadequate private ownership situations. The API Primate Sanctuary offers 186 acres of trees, ponds, and grass, where monkeys live their lives in interactive social groups with as little human interference as possible.

“Monkeys are wild animals and do not belong in people’s backyards or neighborhoods,” says Dr. Ned Buyukmihci, veterinarian and co-director of the API Primate Sanctuary. “We hope that this monkey can be safely captured and we offer to re-home her to our Sanctuary so she can live out the rest of her days in a natural interactive environment with others of her kind.”

The Animal Protection Institute is also working with North Carolina state departments, the NC Zoo, and exotic animal experts on a study bill to regulate the private ownership of exotic animals in the state. API’s recent investigation into private ownership of dangerous wild animals in North Carolina revealed serious animal welfare and public safety concerns. These concerns led to API’s filing of multiple complaints with the USDA.

North Carolina is 1 of only 11 states with no laws prohibiting the private possession of exotic animals such as cougars, tigers, bears, primates, and dangerous reptiles. North Carolina has seen a number of serious incidents involving exotic animals in recent years, including the October attack on a woman by a leopard at the New River Zoo in Fleetwood, and the 2004 mauling of a 14-year-old girl and the fatal 2003 attack on a 10-year-old boy, both by tigers kept as family pets.

“The owners of these animals are playing roulette with people’s lives,” says Nicole Paquette, Director of Legal and Government Affairs for API. “For the safety of people and animals in North Carolina, the legislature must act now to prohibit dangerous wild and exotic animals, including all nonhuman primates, from being kept in private hands.”

API works to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. API is a nationally recognized leader on exotic animal legislation and assists states in drafting and passing legislation. For more information, visit www.api4animals.org.

B-roll footage and still photos from the North Carolina investigation and of the API Primate Sanctuary are available to the media; email press@api4animals.org.

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute, 916-447-3085 x205

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