San Antonio, TX — A group of bonnet macaques has been retired from research and is enjoying its first weeks of freedom at the Animal Protection Institute (API) Primate Sanctuary in Texas.
The bonnet macaques, a species native to India, range in age from about 1 to 20 years. They were part of a larger group of primates at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, used either for breeding or various behavioral research projects. The animals, who had been group-housed in inside enclosures, are for the first time experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells in large outdoor semi-natural enclosures which include trees, grass, and other natural amenities. After a period of acclimation, the monkeys are now actively exploring and enjoying their new environment.
"We welcome the decision by the University of Colorado to retire this group of monkeys," says Dr. Ned Buyukmihci, veterinarian and co-director of the API Primate Sanctuary. "Whereas we may disagree philosophically on the appropriateness of using nonhuman primates in research, the important thing for this group of monkeys is that they are being given a new lease on life. They are the lucky ones."
The API Primate Sanctuary is one of only a handful of primate sanctuaries in the United States where the majority of the residents live in open-topped, free-ranging enclosures of several acres.
API is committed to providing lifelong care for the bonnet macaques, who can live up to 30 years. Although the University has provided some funds for the initial housing and care of these monkeys, API is seeking public donations in order to eventually provide them an even larger, open-topped, free-ranging enclosure.
"The greatest gift we can give these animals is to provide them with an enriched and natural environment that will allow them the opportunity to enjoy the rest of their lives just being monkeys," says Dr. Buyukmihci.
The Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation and public education. For more information, visit www.api4animals.org. The API Primate Sanctuary is currently home to more than 400 primates. To “adopt” a primate or find out more about life at the Sanctuary, visit www.api4primates.org.
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Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute, 916-447-3085 x205.