Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monkey Overpopulation in Puerto Rico

The growth of patas monkey populations has reached the point where they have become a "nuisance" to Puerto Rico agriculture. They have become such a problem that they have to be caught and sent to other facilities or face being euthanized.

One such facility is the Florida Teaching Zoo in Bushnell, FL.

“Bringing in the monkeys is nothing new for us,” said veterinarian Mark Wilson, who operates the {Florida Teaching Zoo} in Bushnell. “We’ve been working with the National Zoo in Mayaquez, Puerto Rico, for years, developing a breeding program to protect and expand the gene pool.”

On one hand, the patas monkeys, which are native to Africa, are losing ground every day because they are hunted for food. But in Puerto Rico, their uncontrolled numbers are causing major problems for agriculture.

They live in the mountains, but during the day they venture out, cross main highways and have a field day in the fields of pineapples, plantains or whatever crop is convenient and appeals to them that day. The problem has accelerated to the point that the animals must be caught and removed, according to Wilson.

Wilson makes sure the monkeys he brings in never go to research laboratories or are sold as pets
.

Photo by fiznatty.

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