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For Immediate Release: 04/07/08

Orlando urged to save Prada

Born Free USA offers lifetime care for rescued monkey

Orlando, FL — Born Free USA is offering to re-home Prada, a “pet” monkey who escaped from an apartment building in Orlando on Friday, at its Primate Sanctuary near San Antonio, Texas. The Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary is home to more than 500 macaques, baboons, and vervets, many of whom came from deplorable or inappropriate private homes or businesses. It is one of the very few in the U.S. that provide large, free-ranging, natural enclosures. The Sanctuary features 186 acres of dense vegetation with several ponds. The majority of monkeys live freely in these enclosures with minimum human interference.

"Monkeys are wild animals and do not belong in people's backyards or other captive situations,” says Dr. Ned Buyukmihci, veterinarian and co-director of the Sanctuary. “We hope our offer to re-home Prada to our Sanctuary will be accepted so he can live out the rest of his days in a natural environment with others of his kind.”

Nonhuman primates are highly social animals. They require the companionship of others of their species for psychological and emotional well-being. They have complex networks of interaction that are reinforced by grooming and playing. Those kept in captivity arrive at the Sanctuary displaying disturbed behavior, such as self-biting and pacing, after having lived an unnatural life in human households and deprived of normal companionship. The goal at the Sanctuary is to rehabilitate these individuals by providing an enriched environment and the companionship of other monkeys.

Born Free USA (then called the Animal Protection Institute)’s recent investigation into private ownership of wild animals in the USA revealed serious animal welfare and public safety concerns. These concerns led to Born Free USA’s filing of multiple complaints with the USDA.

Born Free USA, a national animal advocacy organization, is calling upon legislators to ban the ownership of all wild and exotic animals in Florida.

“For the safety of all Floridians and the welfare of animals statewide, the legislature must act now to prohibit all inherently dangerous wild and exotic animals, including monkeys, from being kept in private hands.” says Nicole G. Paquette, Esq., Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Born Free USA.

Additionally, federal legislation spearheaded by Born Free USA, the Captive Primate Safety Act, would prohibit the import, export, and interstate commerce of nonhuman primates if they are intended to be kept as “pets.” This vital legislation (H.R. 2964) is currently moving its way through the Congressional legislative process.

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

B-roll footage and still photos from the recent investigation and of the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary are available to the media; email press@bornfreeusa.org.

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Born Free USA, 916.267.7266

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